Students connect through conversations
Students connect through conversations
Posted on 06/11/2019
Students talking across a tableStudents from Utica Alternative Learning Center (UALC) have teamed with UCNECT to talk about the power of conversation. 

Students from the mentoring program at UALC are partnering up with the adult students in the UCNECT work training program for quick, two-minute conversations. Not unlike a speed dating scenario, after the two minutes finish students rotate to a new person. 

With conversation topics developed by Kelly Bowler, Speech and Language Pathologist, students found they had a lot to talk about.  

“Many of our cognitively impaired and autistic students struggle with initiating and engaging in reciprocal conversations, so this activity gave them an opportunity to meet new people and practice these skills,” says Lynn Fonacier, School Social Worker.  

Nick Baum a UALC student stated “Working with UCNECT students and helping them prepare for the work world, not only helps me, but also makes me feel like I am making a difference in the lives of others.”  

Audrey Kranzo and Pat Nizza, UCNECT teachers, appreciate the opportunity provided by the UALC students and staff to practice the skills they deem important when being out in the community and at work sites. 

Furthermore, the UALC students gain an understanding of people with disabilities, who they may interact with in and out of the school building. 

According to Justin Koda from UALC, “It was a fun experience.  I feel it taught me a lot about what other people are going through and gave me a different perspective.” 

Clydie a UCNECT student noted "Wednesday was so great!  I already found one of the others on snapchat.  We should do that more often!"

Both programs are located in the same school.