Volunteer of the Month:
Austin Gyori is our March 2015 UP Volunteer of the Month! Austin officially started
volunteering with the UP Program last semester. He knew many of the UP students from
spending time with his fiance, who is a paid support and suite mate. Austin has jumped
in and helped with many different activities, including early morning breakfasts,
RUF, and homework. He has also volunteered his time on many weekends to cover for
other UP suite mates who were out of town. We appreciate his reliability and great
rapport with all the UP students, which has led to Austin stepping up to be a suite
mate for Fall 2015!
Ali Bovender is our April 2015 UP Volunteer of the Month! Ali began volunteering this semester while enrolled in the SPED 240 class. It is easy to notice that her involvement with the UP Program has gone beyond simply a class requirement. She has become great friends with many of the UP students, particularly Ali Hale. Both "Ali's" love to spend much of their free time together, doing fun activities such as painting, cooking meals, and having movie nights. Ali B has expressed that her friendship with Ali Hale has proven that "you do make life long friends in college." She is another example of the inclusive community of WCU students who have embraced what the UP Program is truly about!
Austin and Ali are both shining examples of the qualities of a role model and leader we highly value in our volunteers. We truly appreciate your continued dedication to the UP program and could not do it all without you!
- 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 students to learn some things on their own when possible
- Sets high expectations for students
- Knows how to have fun while being a good role model
- Knows how to talk through issues with studentss 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 students.
Meet Some of Our Current Volunteers
Molly Lancaster is a senior from Greensboro, North Carolina, majoring in Recreational Therapy. She has been working with the UP program for two years and is currently a paid support. Molly said, " I gain so much joy working with the UP Progam. Its something I look forward to doing everyday. The UP students help me build a better understanding of community more than I would have understood in any other club or organization. ". Molly plans to continue working with the UP Program until she graduates in the spring of 2016.
Abby Killian is a senior this year at Western Carolina from Hickory, NC. She is majoring in Communication Science and Disorders and minoring in Business Administration. She has been working with the UP Program for two years and is currently a paid support. Abby said, "At first I was working with the UP program because it was mandatory for my class. However, I quickly fell in love with the UP students and the program! I thought I was going to be the one teaching the UP students but in reality they were the ones teaching me new things every day!" Not only has she gained many rewarding memories and experiences but also new and amazing friendships!
Morgan is a senior from Lenoir, NC. Her major is Recreational Therapy and this is her second year with the UP program. After transferring in from a community college, she wanted to become involved with the WCU community. After finding out about the UP program, she started volunteering right away! She has learned so much from the program and the UP students, her only regret is that she could have begun volunteering sooner. She feels blessed to have a hand in supporting the lives of the students and creating relationships with them. The UP program has truly made a huge impact on her and her outlook on life. She looks forward to seeing the program and the UP students grow and prosper in the years to come.
Grayson Coleman is a junior from Burlington, NC, majoring in Communication Science Disorders. She has worked with the UP Program for a year and has been eager to stay a part of our UP Team. Grayson plans to be a paid natural support for the next school year. Grayson said, “It’s just a feeling you get within yourself when you see their faces light up when they see you. They’ve impacted my life just as much as I’ve impacted theirs, if not more. It’s something I enjoy doing and I can’t wait to make more memories with the UP students.” Grayson plans to be a committed team member with UP Program until she graduates in the Spring of 2017.
To learn more about what the UP program means to Grayson, check out her blog post.
Lisa Shope is a junior this year at WCU from Gastonia, NC. She is majoring in Inclusive education. She has been working with the UP program for one year and is currently a paid support.
Kristan is a sophomore at Western Carolina and is from Morganton, NC. She is majoring in inclusive education and this is her second year working with the UP Students. Once being involved with the Whee Teach Program, Kristan needed to earn service hours and came across the UP program. She heard about the program through family and friends and immediately got involved. Although she joined to earn service hours, she soon learned that working with the UP students was much more than gaining hours. She looked forward to working with the students each week and began to be daily involved with the program. The UP students taught her so much about college and life when she expected it to be the other way around. Kristan looks forward to spending her next three years of college working with the UP students and creating friendships that last a lifetime.
Lauryn O'Brien is a sophomore at Western Carolina University majoring in recreational therapy and minoring in psychology. She is from Spivey's Corner, North Carolina, and is volunteering with UP for her second year. She loves volunteering with the UP program and spending time with the UP students.
Taylor Broadway is a sophomore at WCU studying Nursing and Spanish. She enjoys spending time with friends and family, running, cycling, reading, cooking, and doing anything outdoors! She is from Asheville, North Carolina. She said, “My experience with the UP Program began last year in my Nursing 101 class when I met Trace Shuler. My heart lit up at the idea of making a new friends and making a positive difference at the same time so I volunteered. Working with Trace was one of the most meaningful experiences of my college career thus far. Trace, as well as other UP students that I met are wonderful and will brighten anyone’s day. Everyone involved in the UP Program is pivotal and awesome I am so happy to have had the opportunity to work with such wonderful people! I plan to continue working in depth with this program throughout my college experience.”
Emily Wall is a junior studying inclusive education with a strong focus on special education.She is going into her second year as a UP support, and plans to be a paid support in the spring.She said, "The feeling you get when you gain the trust and dependability from the UP students is indescribable. You get the chance to be a mentor, and more importantly a friend - and I promise they'll teach you things you never knew about yourself. The UP program is filled with constant encouragement and it's amazing."
Mary Vieregge is a senior from New Bern, North Carolina majoring in Recreational Therapy. This is her second year at Western Carolina and second year volunteering with the UP program. Having an older sister that has Down's syndrome, she was very exited to hear about the UP program through one of her classes and has enjoyed every minute spent with the students. She not only considers them some of her dearest friends but as some of the best teachers of how to look at the world a little differently. For her, it's not only been a growing experience, but a life-enhancing one.
Kalie is a first year Speech-Language Pathology graduate student from Arden, NC. She began volunteering with the UP Program during her junior year and by the second semester she began working as a scheduler for the program. As a graduate assistant for the program, she hopes to continue to provide natural support in many areas for the UP students that she is so lucky to call her friends. Kalie is excited to see how the program and the students will grow over her next two years at WCU.