As we wrote in the fall 2012 issue of Haverford magazine, last summer our campus played host to the inaugural year of Carousel Connections, a residential summer program started by Amy (LaGrotte) and Chris McCann (both ’02) for young adults, ages 16 to 24, with special needs. Those first 24 program participants lived together in HCA 22, away from their families for perhaps the first time, and held campus jobs with the Coop, the Arboretum, Facilities, and the Dining Center. (Read more here.)
It was such a success that the McCanns brough their program back to campus for another summer. This year Carousel Connections is welcoming 37 participants for another successful summer of learning life, social, and job skills. “All of the departments were eager to have us rejoin for the summer—a good sign that the program is working,” says Amy. “We have many returning participants who felt right at home both on the job and in the apartment. It was great to see their reunion!”
Five Fords (and two other current college students) are working as Carousel Connections staff, living with the program participants and the McCanns, who not only brought their three-year-old son Abe back to live on campus this year, but also introduced their newest family member, seven-month-old Josette, to their alma mater.
The program is also expanding. This summer participants are not only working here on campus, but also on the campus of Friends School Haverford. Carousel Connections has launched a small volunteer “business” baking dog biscuits that they are donating to local organizations and rescue shelters. And, for the first time, a group of young, male participants are living with greater independence in another HCA unit. It looks like a another great summer is already underway.
Photos by Brad Larrison.