3/9/2014 8:29:07 AM
Good Friends, Better Learning, Best Buddies
Thursday, April 04, 2013
By Sarah Vistocco '13
Three Siena College women were honored by Best Buddies New York during last month’s Women Making a Difference Luncheon. Katelyn Fletcher ’13, Abigail Hallock ’13 and Heather Hanrahan were recognized for their participation in Siena’s College-Based Transition Program, which helps special education students who have graduated from the North Colonie Central School District move into adulthood.
Fletcher and Hallock received the “Best Buddies Friendship of the Year” award for their noteworthy relationship that has grown from each student’s involvement in the program. Hallock, who is a member of the Transition Program, is paired through Best Buddies with Fletcher to ease her shift from high school to college and beyond.
“Abby and Katelyn were chosen because they have achieved the mission of Best Buddies … a mutually beneficial friendship,” said Area Director of Best Buddies Nicole Burch. Fletcher helps Hallock with schoolwork and they go to movies and program-sponsored parties together. “They go above and beyond to communicate and spend time with each other,” said Burch.
Special education teacher and College-Based Transition Program Coordinator Heather Hanrahan received the “2013 Woman of the Year.” Hanrahan works directly with Hallock, Fletcher and seven other members of the program.
Burch praised Hanrahan for her “phenomenal job” both as a teacher and program coordinator. “She ensures the students are having a college experience – enrolled in courses, completing assignments, working on campus and most importantly interacting socially with their peers,” Burch said. She added that Hanrahan was honored because of the enormous amount of time she spends working with her students to ensure their success.
For Fletcher and Hallock, the ceremony was a special opportunity to display their friendship as role model participants of the Best Buddies Program.
“The event was a wonderful experience (and) honor,” Fletcher said. She wants to help other people become matched with Buddies in hopes of helping them form meaningful friendships like the one she shares with Hallock.
Their relationship exemplifies the goals of the transition program. “Not only are the North Colonie students benefitting from this experience, but the Siena faculty, professors, staff and Siena students are as well,” Hanrahan said.
Even though Hanrahan has worked in special education throughout her career, she said that the past year working in Siena’s College-Based Transition Program was the most rewarding because she has been able to reach so many people.
“Not only are the North Colonie students benefitting from this experience, but the Siena faculty, professors, staff and Siena students are as well,” Hanrahan said.
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