Berry College is an institution that prides itself on teaching students the importance of service and community involvement. In theory, this is a great concept: students serve others with their head, heart, and hands. This is a mission that has been preached to my peers and me since we first entered Berry’s gates. It is one thing to hear about this concept, but an entirely different one to experience first hand! The camaraderie that has developed between Berry students and DIGS has been an exciting experience for everyone involved! It is truly wonderful and fulfilling to see what started out as ideas come to life and flourish into something great.
2013 held many exciting things for both DIGS and Berry! Our year began with a healthy living class. This five-week course taught DIGS members about a variety of topics such as: nutrition, hygiene, exercise, stress-reduction, and self-advocacy. While this class, in and of itself, was a great opportunity, both parents and DIGS members reported wanting more classes and more involvement with the Berry community.
So, that’s exactly what we did! This past semester, Dr. Michelle Haney’s Exceptional Child class teamed up with DIGS and participated in a variety of activities together. First, several DIGS members came to visit Dr. Haney’s class and spoke about their life experiences and got to meet the students! Then, the following month, Berry students joined Skills for Life and participated in a Health Night that focused on exercise. It was a lot of fun and everyone I talked to said that they could not wait to spend more time together!
Next, the photography club came to Berry and participated in Scary Berry, the annual haunted trail at the college. Everyone paired up and took pictures along the “scary” trail and Berry students conversed with DIGS members about everything from haunted houses to potentially participating in Scary Berry next year!
Finally, our semester with DIGS ended with a dinner at Bella Roma. This was truly a wonderful thing to experience. It was wonderful to hear reports about Berry students and DIGS members breaking bread together and further developing their new and wonderful friendships!
These were just the organized events that we planned with DIGS. Throughout the semester, Berry students found their way to a number of events such as art club, dance club, choir, and swimming! Those who did go to these events reported that they enjoyed making new friends and learning so much from the DIGS members. Additionally, they reported that although they were nervous to go to the events in the beginning, they quickly became comfortable in their new surroundings. They said that they were glad that they challenged their comfort zones because it allowed them to meet some of the most incredible people in the world. It also allowed them to learn more about themselves and the community.
Through conversations with DIGS members, parents, and students, it is clear that our work with DIGS this semester has had a positive impact on everyone involved. Our goal is to continue this great work in the future! We want to plan more events, bring in more Berry students, and have a LOT more fun together! We hope to continue to strengthen and develop Berry’s relationship with DIGS in 2014 and in many years to come!
Thank you DIGS so much for allowing us the opportunity to learn and grow with you and for welcoming us into your organization. I look forward to seeing what 2014 holds!
Guest post and photo credit by Kati Wright, Berry College Student