Students share activities

Allegany College of Maryland freshman human services students Stephanie Lester and Lisa Anderson spend time with Susan George as she holds Snickerdoodle, an Abyssinian guinea pig, Monday morning at the Joseph Brandenberg Center in Cumberland as students present plaques to individuals from the center who they have worked with and learned from over the past year.

Clients at the Joseph D. Brandenburg Center have taught several Allegany College of Maryland students about caring and compassion.

“I am so touched by the clients at the Brandenburg Center — they have given us a chance to interact with them, and it really teaches you to hear with your heart,” said Donna Pruitt, a human service student in Cherie Snyder’s class.

For the last two semesters, Pruitt and other students in the class have been working with people at the Brandenburg Center who have severe disabilities, and on Monday, the students held a ceremony honoring the clients.

“We plan activities for the clients — we go on fishing trips; we plan art activities,” said student Erin Walden. “I’ve enjoyed getting to know a different population.”

“I really enjoyed our fishing trip; it’s great to see how a little kindness can make someone’s day so much better,” said student Kathy Miller.

Pruitt’s guinea pigs also visit the center.

“They light up when they get a guinea pig in their hands,” said Pruitt, who has a guinea pig rescue organization. On Monday, guinea pigs Snickerdoodles and Cuddles wore matching skirts for the ceremony.

“These students really connected to the individuals here, and they showed a true interest, which I think shows Cherie’s dedication to the field,” said Jen Lytle, director of community support at the Brandenburg Center.

Snyder’s students had fun with their field experiences.

“I’ve really enjoyed it — it’s been fun,” said Cory Wharton. Wharton and fellow classmate Tammy Beckley often sing for the clients.

“It really brings out their personality,” said Wharton.

Student Krystal Wagoner said she has benefited from the experience.

“At first, I was a little nervous, but it’s been great, and I meet this wonderful new friend,” she said.

Contact Jennifer Raley at jraley@times-news.com.

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