Community Service Projects at the HACTC
This is my first year in the Human Services program at the HACTC. From the very beginning the staff made it clear that community service plays a large role in students’ experiences at the Tech Center. The Director, Doug Heavisides, has done an exceptional job with applying each program’s abilities to our local population. Our Human Services teacher, Michele Morrell, is always providing us with new community service projects. She always finds time in class for us to work on these projects whether it be making holiday cards to pass out to community members in local senior centers, volunteering at David’s House, or making food to donate to the Upper Valley Haven.
Community service is also a natural part of our practicums. The first half of our junior year Mrs. Morrell educates us on human development and communication skills. She also goes over the expectations we need to meet in order to function properly in a work setting. Guest speakers are also invited in, and may include mental health experts, behavior specialists and social workers who teach and train us how to be better prepared to work in the community. Our practicums begin during the second half of the year where each student participates in three, six-week-long experiences. This includes working with young children, elderly folks, and children with special needs.
In the beginning of the year our class tours various Human Service agencies in the Upper Valley to see where we potentially will be placed later on. For example, we have visited places such as the Hartford Autism Regional Program (HARP), Green Mountain Children’s Center (GMCC), and Bugbee and Upper Valley Senior Centers.
I just finished my first six-week practicum in the memory care unit at Valley Terrace. It was such a beneficial experience for me and the residents as well. To see that I could bring a smile to their faces through playing the guitar or reading them a book is genuinely rewarding. I am so thankful for the HACTC giving me the opportunity not just to go out into the community and build my social skills, but to see how impactful it is to simply have us spend a few hours a day connecting with other community members. Next, I am excited for my second practicum at GMCC working with infants.