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Heartland celebrates DisABILITY Awareness Week with new project

October 15, 2018

A club on the Heartland Community College campus will roll out a new opportunity for students during DisABILITY Awareness Week (Oct. 22-26).

The Heartland Academy for Learning Opportunities (HALO) is a specialized postsecondary program that provides a higher education experience for students aged 18-28 with intellectual, learning, physical or sensory disabilities. This fall, HALO students will have an opportunity to develop new skills with participation in a coffee cart program.

Students will operate “Portable Perks” around the Heartland campus, selling and serving coffee, tea and hot chocolate as part of a non-profit club. Although developed in conjunction with the HALO program, the club is open to all students. The club’s mission is to promote campus diversity and community by providing students with opportunities to transfer classroom skills.

“We recognize that students flourish with practice. HALO students will benefit from this inclusionary experience, as it reinforces communication, pride and responsibility,” said Barb Glover, Student Access and Accommodation Services program assistant. “As a campus, we respect all individuals and embrace diversity, but also need to reinforce acceptance regardless of ability or disability. So this is a win-win for Heartland.”

In addition to the academic skills and soft skills coursework in the HALO program, Portable Perks servers engage in additional training. To prepare for the program, each club member must successfully complete an ANSI accredited Food Handler Training Course and Exam, as required by the McLean County Health Department.

Additional instruction for club members will cover communication, problem solving and people skills, the qualities of good employees, teamwork, organization, and the application of money, time and measurement skills.

Monetary donations to Portable Perks will fund class materials and operational costs of the project.

Written by: Steve Fast