Student Leaders Show Appreciation for Supported Employment Program

Student Leaders Show Appreciation for Supported Employment Program

By Stephen Gawlik
Staff Writer

It took seven months, but Dining Service Utility Worker Paul Hunte and Peter Brogowski '05 finally got acquainted with one another.

Dining Service employees Paul Hunte (right) and Kevin Slattery enjoy the festivities at a special reception held April 19 by members of the Shaw Leadership Program. Photo by Mike Mergen
Since arriving at Boston College last fall, Brogowski had often exchanged nods and brief, friendly greetings with Hunte during meal times in the McElroy Dining Room. A 16-year Dining Service veteran, Hunte is known by many for his gregarious personality and the complimentary remarks he gives to each passerby.

Hunte and Brogowski formally met on April 19 at a special ice cream party and recognition ceremony organized by the Shaw Leadership Program for the workers from the Supported Employment Program, a BC initiative that incorporates developmentally disabled adults into the University's work force.

"We hadn't ever really talked before so it was good to finally have a name to go with the face," said Brogowski, a native of Holmdel, NJ. "It was a really good time."

Hunte readily agreed, describing the afternoon's festivities with an enthusiastic "right on."

"They told us we were going to be recognized at a party and it was very exciting," said Hunte, a multi-sport competitor in the Special Olympics.

Freshmen Shaw Leadership Program members Grace Simmons and Kimberley Parkins arranged the event as a way to express the gratitude of the BC student body.

"We really wanted to thank them for all of their work and show them that BC students are really appreciative for all they do," said Simmons, of Skaneateles, NY. "They make this college a home for us."

The Shaw Leadership Program provides 20 freshmen with the opportunity to plan, develop and implement social, educational, cultural and service-oriented activities for the Boston College community and neighbors. As part of the program, members live together in Shaw House on Upper Campus and attend a variety of workshops, weekly meetings, and retreats.

Sponsored by the Lynch School of Education, the Campus School, and Human Resources, the 15-year-old Supported Employment Program includes 21 employees who work in Dining Service, the Office of Residential Life and the BC Bookstore. In addition, the program provides a training site at Alumni House for two students from the Newton Public Schools Life Skills Program.

Along with several BC administrators and students, Brogowski and other members of the Shaw program were on hand to support their friends' efforts in thanking the workers.

Upon arrival each employee was paired with a student from the Shaw program. Together they ate ice cream, became acquainted and heard a performance of the student a capella group The Acoustics. Later, each of the workers was formally recognized and given a small gift bag. As each name was called out, the room erupted in applause.

"I don't think anyone has done anything like this in recent years," said Campus School Coordinator Mary Brown, who oversees the Supported Employment Program, during the event. "This was a really nice time and there are a lot of very happy people in this room right now."


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