Campus Life, Community, News, Video

FunDay volunteers foster close personal connections with disabled community

Last year’s service day was widespread throughout the campus, with activity stations spread across the center of campus from the Foote Green to the Shalala Student Center. This year, however, the FunDay executive board decided it was time to bring back the intimate “community” feel, according to senior and Funding Chair Micaela Nannery.

“We felt that it had [become]a little too widespread,” Nannery said. “We wanted to make sure that there were enough personal connections.”

FunDay pairs more than 350 special-needs citizens, or “buddies,” from the Miami-Dade area with student volunteers for a day of games, food and fun. More than 650 University of Miami students participated.

Sophomore Earl Generato said he participated because he had a neighbor with special needs growing up and understood the struggles they have in society. He said he remembers how the other kids in his neighborhood would stigmatize his neighbor for “being different.”

“This day is really about just understanding that we are all the same,” Generato said. “We all have the same arms and legs. We’re all human.”

Freshman Taylor McCloskey and her FunDay partner Susy share a laugh in the University Center Saturday afternoon. FunDay is the longest standing service day at the University of Miami and brings over 300 special citizens from the surrounding area on campus to enjoy a day of fun and games. Evelyn Choi // Staff Photographer

Freshman Taylor McCloskey and her FunDay partner Susy share a laugh in the University Center Saturday afternoon. FunDay is the longest standing service day at the University of Miami and brings over 300 special citizens from the surrounding area on campus to enjoy a day of fun and games. Evelyn Choi // Staff Photographer

This year’s theme for FunDay was Around the World. Attendees participated in crafts like decorating passports, watch student-led dance performances and play different instruments, including bongos.

Nannery, who first volunteered as a freshman, said the purpose of the event was to have fun but also to bridge the the gap of misconceptions and prejudice that exists when interacting with intellectually disabled people.

“We want to promote positive relationships, especially among young students and our buddies,” she said.

Sophomore Angelica Previero said she volunteered for FunDay exactly for that reason—to have a positive relationship with her buddy, one borne out of a feeling of safety and connection.

“It’s great day for them to come out to a safe environment and connect with other people who are really just like them,” she said.

February 7, 2016

Reporters

Amanda Herrera

Amanda Herrera can be reached via email at aherrera@themiamihurricane.com and through Twitter at @_AmandaHerrera.


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

In 2016, the Miami Hurricanes had tight end David Njoku, who went in the first round of the 2017 NFL ...

Four days had passed since his University of Miami basketball team squandered a 13-point second half ...

The Miami Hurricanes’ search for offensive line help is set to continue on the weekend of Jan. 26, w ...

It looks like Chad Thomas will have another opportunity to show NFL scouts that he is ready to play ...

Hurricanes fans, get out your pencils, calendars and a list of your favorite hotels. The Atlantic Co ...

Presidents at three higher education institutions in Miami "lend our unified voices” to the cal ...

Thirty high school English teachers from Brazil are spending six weeks at UM in a new skill-building ...

Global and local efforts needed to respond to biological threats, UM President Julio Frenk warned at ...

As artificial Intelligence takes hold, tech visionary David Kenny stresses keeping human values in t ...

UM’s First Black Graduates Project committee visits an iconic D.C. museum for inspiration to create ...

The Canes won four events against FGCU on Saturday while also recording a total of 11 top-three fini ...

The University of Miami men's tennis team (1-1) opened the spring portion of its 2017-18 schedu ...

The Miami women's basketball resumes play Sunday at 1 p.m., at Boston College with its northern ...

The University of Miami track and field team starred in the Lone Star State, as the Hurricanes shone ...

The Miami women's tennis team dominated play on its home court Friday to open the 2018 spring s ...

TMH Twitter Feed
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.