Rollins’ Child Development Center expands its program while raising awareness with a community fundraiser
Since the early 1990s, the Rollins Child Development Center (CDC) has made an effort to enroll a wide variety of “young learners” into their program. Recently, though, they have solidified that long-standing tradition through the creation of a formal inclusion policy. The faculty and staff of the CDC strongly believe that all children, including children with autism, vision impairments and speech/ language delays, are unique and should be allowed to strive toward their fullest potential. CDC Director Diane Terorde-Doyle and Lead Teacher Caitlin Mason say, “The CDC is a school where children with special needs are not just included in all activities; the program is individualized for optimum growth.” Such a policy benefits not only the children at the CDC, but also the undergraduate students who work with these children; these experiences further students’ own growth academically as they go on to become therapists, psychologists, counselors, and teachers. Students in psychology labs, senior seminars, and internships from various departments interact with the children.
Such a policy benefits not only the children at the CDC, but also the undergraduate students who work with these children
The CDC has worked with the Down Syndrome Association of Central Florida (DSACF) in the past and currently is raising funds for the organization in their “Step Up for Down Syndrome Buddy Walk.” CDC Research and Public Outreach Coordinator Julia Szenberg says the walk, taking place at Lake Eola on October 12th, is “very important to all of us here at the CDC and very close to our hearts, as we have had past children with Down syndrome at the CDC and a current child as well.” The CDC has partnered up with many Rollins organizations, including the Women and Men’s Basketball Team and the Delta Zeta sorority Pi Theta chapter, as well as members of the local Winter Park community, such as Power House Café, to meet their $2,003.21 fundraising goal. When asked why such a specific number to raise, Szenberg said “3/21 is the World Down Syndrome Day and this fundraiser is not only about raising money for a great cause, but also providing awareness to our Rollins and local community.”
Individuals interested in getting involved can do so by joining and donating to the “Rollins CDC Tars team”. Go onto http://stepuporlando.kintera.org/rollinscdctars and click “Join Our Team” to walk with the CDC or, for those who cannot make the event, click “General Team Donation” and donate there. Also, On October 8th, Power House Café will be donating 10% of their profits to the Rollins CDC Tars Team for the DSACF. The staff and faculty of the CDC appreciate all those who have already sponsored and donated, and hope many more will do so in the future.