Charleston Transitional Facility seeks volunteers

Mays Omar, Contributing Writer

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A local organization that offers day programming to people with developmental disabilities is looking for people to volunteer for its program.

The Charleston Transitional Facility is an organization that helps people with disabilities with different services and programs.

Eastern’s Office of Civic Engagement and Volunteerism invited the CTF’s clients to campus. Around 10 to 12 clients come to spend an hour at Eastern with student volunteers, eating lunch with them and doing various activities.

The event takes place every Thursday from 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. in the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union Food Court.

Last semester, these events lasted until 12:45 p.m. This semester, volunteers are just with clients for an hour, owing to a lack of volunteers. The event now gets just one to two volunteers each week, and there are five spots available.

Annie Garner, the graduate assistant for the Office of Civic Engagement and Volunteerism, said the office is trying to improve the experience and make it more enjoyable for the CTF clients.

To do so, it has added an athletic class and gotten help from students in the kinesiology and sports studies department. During the class, clients get to go to different stations with a different game set up every week to get them moving.

Garner said some clients are shy and do not move around, but having music and games like basketball, volleyball and others help improve their social life.

“The CTF clients love the event,” Garner said.  “Their faces light up whenever they walk in the (Martin Luther King Jr. University) Union and sees us waiting for them to eat. It is a great feeling.”

Because the kinesiology and sports studies students take care of the athletic portion of the volunteer activities, the Office of Civic Engagement and Volunteerism needs volunteers to eat lunch with the clients from 11 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

During this time, volunteers will get to know the clients, ask them how their day is going, what their plans are for the weekend and be a “buddy” to them during lunch, Garner said.

Lunch is not provided by the Office of Civic Engagement and Volunteerism.

Some of the CTF clients bring their own lunches, and some get theirs from the University Food Court.

“The CTF people really love coming here,” Garner said. “We are looking for people who are OK with kind of being a buddy for those CTF clients that come. It just brightens their day.”

Students who want to volunteer at the Charleston Transitional Facility Program  can visit www.eiu.edu/apps/registration or call the office at 217-581-3967.

Mays Omar can be reached at 581-2812 [email protected]