Volunteer of the Month: Cody Mead
We are a little behind in recognizing our UP Volunteers of the Month so stay tuned as we recognize them over the next couple months. Cody Mead is our February volunteer of the month. Cody has been volunteering with the UP Program since August 2013 spending time swimming with the participants. He has eagerly signed up for early morning swims almost every week and included Will in the WCU Swim Club and swim meets at Appalachian State. Cody has also picked up additional shifts with participants throughout the semester and covered several shifts at the last minute. Cody is extremely reliable and has volunteered anywhere from 3-8 hours a week consistently each semester. We appreciate all your dedication to the UP program and could not do it all without you!
Thank you, Cody!
The UP Program has approximately 200 volunteers (unpaid natural supports) each semester. A good volunteer is one who:
- Shows professionalism
- Knows how to be flexible
- Is dependable and responsible
- Is patient and understanding
- Wants to be involved in trainings and campus activities
- Is not too protective and allows participants to learn some things on their own when possible
- Sets high expectations for participants
- Knows how to have fun while being a good role model
- Knows how to talk through issues with participants in a calm and adult manner
- Takes leadership roles and exhibits good problem-solving skills
- Reports information to UP Program personnel
- Works as a team member with other students and UP Program personnel
We like to show appreciation to our dedicated volunteers through our "Volunteer of the Month" feature. These individuals go above and beyond to help provide a positive college experience to our UP participants.
Meet Some of Our Current Volunteers
Brittany is a UP Program paid support. This is her fourth year with the program. She has had many experiences working with individuals who have disabilities. The UP Program has made her college experience complete. She has learned many things from the participants that she would have never learned if she was not involved in the UP Program. As for her studies, Brittany is currently working toward her bachelor's degree in psychology and social work.
Jocelyn Kooles is a junior from Mars Hill, NC. Her major is Elementary Education with a minor in Special Education. She plans to graduate in the spring of 2015. She has been volunteering with the UP Program since January 2012. She knew this was something she was passionate about since the very first volunteer experience. She is dedicated to the program and plans on volunteering with it for the next two years at Western Carolina University.
Erin is a senior this year at Western Carolina and will be graduating spring of 2014. She is majoring in communication sciences and disorders and minoring in psychology. Erin has been volunteering for the UP program since the spring of 2012. This program and the participants have made such an impact on her life that she wants to continue to watch them succeed while growing and learning herself. She is very excited to see what next year brings to the UP Program, and she can't wait to meet new participants in the fall.
Meghan Colescott is a junior from Boca Raton, Florida. Since middle school she has been organizing holiday parties, sports and game days, as well as a reading buddy system for students with disabilities. Meghan is a Nursing major planning on graduating in Spring 2015. She became a part of the UP program family as a freshman, and hopes to remain a volunteer for as long as she is at Western. She fell in love with the participants immediately, and can't wait to do the same with the new students arriving this Fall.
John Schmulling is a senior from Charlotte, NC and is double majoring in business law and entrepreneurship. He has a been volunteering with the UP Program for almost two years and brings a wide variety of leadership experience to the program. John is an Eagle Scout, a founding father of Pi Kappa Phi, and is actively involved in Entrepreneurship, Mediation, and Finance clubs at WCU. About the UP Program he says, "The UP Program has more than just changed my life, it has made me the man I am today. Without it I would not be the same. The impact that the participants have had on my life is truly a blessing, and I can honestly say they have made a bigger impact in my life that I will ever have in theirs."
Kim is a senior from Asheville, North Carolina, majoring in Special Education. She has been working with the UP Program for three years and is currently a paid support. Kim says, "The UP Program has served as a major part of my college experience. As cliche as this may sound, I think the participants have taught me more than I could ever teach them. I truly love the time I get to spend with the participants."
Chloe is a senior from Cary, NC with an Elementary Education and Inclusive Education double major. She says, "I chose to add on the inclusive education degree because of the UP program. Istarted out as a volunteer and fell in love with the program and what this program is about. From the outside looking in it may seem like the volunteers and paid supports are changing the lives of the participants but in reality the participants are moving mountains with their involvement in this university. The university as a whole has changed to become a better community, having this program has changed many students, faculty, and staff's perceptions of people with disabilities. Rather than being "uncomfortable" or "nervous" around people with disabilities the university population is learning the truth, that people with disabilities are just like everyone else, these individuals have similar goals, likes, and values as the majority of college students."
Colin Cunningham has been with the UP Program since Spring 2012. He is getting his undergraduate degree in Psychology. Colin got his start with the program through a mandatory class service project, but quickly became attached to not only what the program aimed to do, but with the participants themselves. Colin is a senior and is scheduled to graduate in Spring 2014.
Brynne Murphy has been volunteering with the UP Program since spring of 2013. She is currently working on her degree in Communication and Sciences Disorders with a minor in Nutrition and Dietetics. Since first hearing about the program and talking to a few people involved, she knew this was something she would want to dedicate herself to for the rest of her time at WCU. In her eyes, here is no other experience on campus that is quite as rewarding as seeing the participants succeed and do great things. Brynne is a senior and plans to graduate in spring 2014.
Lorin has been volunteering with the UP Program since fall 2011 and is now going to be a paid support. She is currently in her senior year at WCU and is studying communication sciences and disorders. Not only has she gained such wonderful experiences but also friendships with some of the most amazing people at WCU- all thanks to the UP Program!
Hilary has been volunteering with the UP Program through required coursework and as volunteer work since Fall 2010. She is currently working on a degree in Parks and Recreation Management with a Minor in Special Education. She plans to graduate in fall 2014. She says, "The first time I participated with the UP Program it was because it was required for class, and I loved it. I continued to help out the UP Program by volunteering and also for class work. I enjoy helping out with homework, eating with participants, being in classes with participants, going to the gym with participants, and also spending leisure time with participants. It's such an amazing program and I feel like every school should have it."
William 'Zac' Wallace
William has been a natural support for the University Participant program since spring 2012. After working with the program through his fraternity, Pi Kappa Phi, he fell in love with volunteering and has done so ever since. He is currently working on his degree in Secondary Mathematics Education, and is a Teaching Fellow and a member of the Honors College. He has worked with the North Carolina Special Olympics and various other organizations that help people with disabilities.
Amber Marlowe is a junior double majoring in Elementary Education and Inclusive Education. Amber serves as the student representative on the state board for the North Carolina Council for Exceptional Children. Amber also is a Teaching Fellow and a member of the Honors College. Amber is a paid support for the UP Program. About the UP Program Amber says, "The UP Program has changed my life. Working with these individuals has been a blessing and an honor. They have helped me to shape my educational beliefs and values as well as showed me an inner strength and passion I never knew I had. The UP students are one of the reasons I declared a second major in Inclusive Education." Amber plans to work with the UP Program until her graduation in the Spring 2015.