This summer the Library collaborated with Deidre Toole, Community Classroom Coordinator and Transition Counselor at Stonington High School on an inclusive pilot
program called SFL Nightclub. The program came about after Library staff attended an event at Stonington High School called “Inclusive Schools, Inclusive Community”, which focused on including people with disabilities in community programs and the workplace and how it is beneficial to the entire community.
Deidre presented at the event and shortly afterward stopped by the Library. Deidre and Library Director Belinda de Kay began discussing what a success the event at the High School was and sharing ideas about offering an inclusive program at the Library. This discussion was the start of SFL Nightclub.
After this conversation, a planning committee was formed consisting of Deidre, Belinda, Library Assistant Director Micayla Hall and Deidre’s former students – Ben Kepple and Patty Moody. Soon the committee had decided upon a name for the program, SFL Nightclub, meeting dates and times, the format and special themes for each session and most importantly finding interested participants. The committee also wrote a successful grant to the Mystic Woman’s Club to fund the entire program.
SFL Nightclub ran on Mondays between May 21 and July 2. Special themes, such as Jokes, Movies, Music and Writing, were selected for each session. Participants socialized, shared and took part in activities inspired by each week’s special theme. Thanks to the Mystic Woman’s Club grant – participants each received their own copy of the read aloud book chosen for the program, Love that Dog by Sharon Creech, and enjoyed dinner and refreshments at the end of each meeting.
A very special thank you to Jean Baur and her therapy dog Rudy who took part in the session on Poetry and Writing. Jean, a local author and library patron, conducted poetry writing exercises with the group and introduced them to Rudy, who all were thrilled to meet and write poetry about!
People are quite gentle.
They pat me.
I love treats!
I am so sad when I don’t get a treat.
I love biscuits, bones, and to swim.
In the water, I feel free.
And very wet.
Sincerest gratitude to the Kepple family who hosted the final group hurrah this summer with a barbecue, garden tour and corn hole game at their home.
Due to its success Deidre and the Library plan to offer the program again in the winter.