By: Julia Connerton and Adriana Bolender, Features Contributors
The Young Adult Life Transitions (YALT) program is a program here at Canisius College to offer students with developmental disabilities a chance to experience college life on a campus, while also helping them with skills they will need during their independent lives.
YALT is run by Program Manager Ray Alvarado with the help of others, including student volunteers. As a volunteer, one gets to spend time with the students enrolled in the program and really get to know them. Typically, in the YALT office, one helps with worksheets, watches a movie and even sometimes participates in yoga. In addition, one may head down to the library with the YALT students to work on their assignments, with a quick stop at Tim Hortons on the way.
Shauna Lee, a student volunteer at YALT who is also on Canisius’ women’s soccer team said, “The best part about the YALT program for me is how inviting and open the atmosphere is. Whenever I leave from volunteering, I realize how much spending time there influences my mood in such a positive way.” YALT volunteers feel at home at Canisius, and they owe that to the people they surround themselves with.
Those in the YALT program deserve a chance to feel welcomed too, and the best way to make that happen is to spend time with them and become friends so that, as a whole, everyone gains a new, friendly face to chat with in the library.
Another way to get involved is to join the Best Buddies club. There, one will be paired with a YALT student with whom they have similar interests with. One will get together after class with the other student, and find fun things to do around Buffalo. Many duos choose to go bowling, out to dinner or to a hockey game.
YALT encourages other students to volunteer to allow students with developmental disabilities have the strongest college life experience possible. If students are interested in volunteering, email firstname.lastname@example.org or stop by the YALT office across from Regis and above the dining hall to visit.