Learning Center's Fall Festival helps build relationships
Employees at the Carroll County Learning Center emphasize multifaceted skill training for the disabled individuals they serve. According to Jake Hall, adult service coordinator, nothing exemplifies these skills better than the center's fall festival.
"We've got everything here," he said at the center's annual fall festival last Thursday. "There's the ring toss, the bean bag toss and football. You're using all your fine and gross motor skills here."
Hall, who works directly with disabled adults daily, explained that many of his students had helped set up the festival, coming to the Adult Learning Center -- an off-shoot of the Carroll County Learning Center directed toward adults with disabilities -- hours before the event to contribute to all aspects of preparation and cleanup.
"They're done now," he said. "They help with setup but they're here to enjoy this. They're here for food and interaction with their friends."
Hall said the event is meant to bring together all members of the Carroll County community, especially disabled individuals, their families and their learning center instructors.
"It's all about the community, and this year is one of the better turnouts we've had," Hall said.
Carla Gray, executive director of the learning center, described the way the fall festival allows the center to give back to students and their families.
"It is doing something for the community," she said. "It's bringing people together."
Roxanna McCullough, child nutrition manager, concurred with Gray.
The Fall festival, McCullough said, creates a relationship between the learning center and the families of its students while cementing existing relationships.
"It gives parents an opportunity to get to know our staff," said McCullough, who has been with the learning center for 10 years. "It also gives the community an opportunity to get involved and see what we do here."
Nicky Rush, a student of the Adult Learning Center, said she likes the fall festival most because it allows her to interact with her friends and instructors outside of the teaching environment. She cited the "great games," most notably the basketball free throws, as the best activity of the festival. When asked why she enjoys coming to the learning center, Rush said she prizes the opportunity to "make new friends" and "to be nice to them."
The Carroll County Learning Center was created in 1974 by a group of concerned citizens seeing the need for quality services for persons with disabilities. Beginning as a small operation with just a few students and two staffers, the center has grown to house more 65 employees and provides services to more than 200 people.