Thankful for Student Volunteers
Event helps community, brings awareness to communication sciences and disorders
On a brisk Friday morning – less than a week before campus would calm down for the Thanksgiving holiday – about 70 college students and children worked on crafts, laughed and ran through the College of Communication's Walter Cronkite Plaza.
They were gathered for Buddy Day, an annual service event organized by the College's Communication Council and The University of Texas at Austin's chapter of the National Student Speech Language Hearing Association.
Children from the Capitol School of Austin, which specializes in speech, language and learning differences, were paired with college students who accompanied them through the day's activities. There were stations for arts and crafts, reading books, playing a giant game of tic-tac-toe, face painting and a puppet show.
Elizabeth Rubio, Communication Council special events committee chair and a junior public relations major, said the event provided children with a day of fun activities and friendship, while supporting the Capitol School of Austin.
The event also brought more awareness to the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders.
"Not a lot of people know about communication sciences and disorders," said Elizabeth Rives, junior communication sciences and disorders major who created Buddy Day in 2010. "We wanted to make this event open to students from all majors to raise awareness of what speech-language pathologists do."
Alyssa Brant, sophomore journalism major, said she enjoyed volunteering at the arts and crafts table.
"I think it's going really well," Brant said. "The kids are running around having a great time. One kid ran up to the table, drew a few scribble marks and then ran around celebrating."
Jeannette Young, director of curriculum and instruction of the Capitol School of Austin, deemed the 2012 event a success.
"So many of our students struggle with social skills, so it's good for them to be paired with a college student who will accept them regardless of their communication differences – a buddy who will listen and wait to speak," Young said. "I'd like to say thanks to the Communication Council for hosting this event that promotes awareness of communication difficulties."
Laura Byerley, (512) 471-2182