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A journal of social practice & professional engagement for the Antioch community

On the Mountain: Jocelyne Cruz ’19 at Crotched Mountain School and Rehab Center in Greenfield, New Hampshire

For my first co-op I’ve been working at Crotched Mountain Rehabilitation Center. More specifically, I’ve been working at the Crotched Mountain School, which strives to support students with disabilities through working to earn the highest educational degree, as well as physical and social independence. The disabilities these students are diagnosed with vary from emotional disorders, autism, developmental / physical disabilities, mental illness due to trauma. The classroom I am assigned to is middle-school aged kids; 13-15 year olds.

My daily routine consists of arriving at the residential house to which I have been assigned to every morning. I help one student from that house get ready for school and go through their morning routine. While also noting what/how much they ate, BM’s (bowel movement), body checks, every shift. Afterwards, I head over to my assigned classroom, for some people this may or may not be the same classroom their morning student is in.

My experience so far is that flexibility is incredibly important while doing this job. I find out which student I will be working with that same morning, since they change which staff is working with who daily. I’ve noticed that this way of switching up staff members allows the students to develop relationships with all of them, as well making it easier for staff to jump in and help when it’s needed. Throughout the school day I accompany my student while completing their school schedule with them. Some live off campus with their families and have a Home-School book where we let their family know how their day went, and their family lets us know how their evenings, weekends or vacations went. Slowly but surely, I am getting to know the kids more and more. Since I am just here for three months, though, it feels as if I’ll leave once I begin to build a solid relationship with them.

This job has already taught me valuable skills. I’ve received training to perform First Aid / AEP for children and adults, how to administer rectal diazepam and midazolam, both to treat seizures, and MANDT training designed to teach us how to prevent, de-escalate and, if necessary, intervene a situation when an individual’s behavior may cause harm to themselves or others. What I am still learning to do is apply these skills in the classroom in a way in which I feel comfortable. Over the past two weeks in the classroom, however, I feel more confident with the work I am doing. It’s most likely because I have finally adopted a routine which I can familiarize myself with instead of walking into the unknown.

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I am a second year at Antioch College. Major undecided although I'm looking into a self-design with Psychology and Art. I am currently completing my second co-op in Denver, CO working at a nonprofit called The Blue Bench. It provides long-term care for sexual assault survivors and prevention programs in schools. I am a canvasser, doing outreach and fundraising in local Denver as well as the nine counties surrounding. Going out and knocking on doors is how we break the silence on this very serious issue. That is also the best option to get the information in everybody's hands. The Blue Bench has helped me not only realize how important self-care is, since this job can be emotionally tolling. It has also taught me communication skills, being transparent, firm and using strong language since I'm speaking to about 50 strangers a day about a very heavy issue.

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