August 31, 2022
By University Relations Student Journalist Olivia Tucker
VINCENNES, Ind. - The end of the summer is the last time to enjoy eating ice cream on a hot summer day or to take a dip in a pool for a refreshing swim. For FRIENDS, a club for adults 18 and older from Knox County who have developmental disabilities and exceptionalities, they celebrated with an End of Summer Dance hosted by the Vincennes University Education Club on Monday, August 29, at Green Activities Center.
Renae Wild ‘23 of Vincennes is the president of the Education Club and a partner with FRIENDS. Wild is a double major in Elementary Education (K-6) and Special Education (K-12). She said that the dance was important to her as a future educator because it allows her to have an insight into all kinds of disabilities that are within the community as well as interact with community members.
“A lot of our schools are inclusion schools,” Wild said. “Which means students with disabilities are included in the general education classroom with their peers, so even if I am a general education teacher, I will still have students with disabilities in my classroom.”
Wild said that she is also thankful for the Education Club and FRIENDS for the opportunity to work with individuals and establish friendships in the community.
Education Department Chair and Associate Professor Ann Herman is the faculty sponsor for the Education Club.
“Our population of people in Knox County who have exceptionalities need to feel included in our community,” Herman said. “Providing social events makes them and their caregivers realize that they are important to Knox County.”
The Education Club will host other events for FRIENDS, including a Halloween costume party, a Christmas party, and a Valentine's Day dance. The club also participates in the Vincennes Christmas parade, Shop with a Cop, and the Salvation Army's Ringing of the Bells. It decorates a light pole at Gregg Park in Vincennes and sponsors a teacher appreciation breakfast.
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