The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

October 18, 2013

Finding a friend

OTTUMWA — If you're shy around strangers, an introduction to a new friend may help reduce that discomfort.

Megan Black, a senior at Ottumwa High School said the school's new "Best Buddies" program pairs a special education student with a general education student.

"I see special ed. students in the hall walking by themselves without any [students] to socialize with," Megan said. "I feel like if they saw that, a lot of kids wouldn't know how to approach someone."

Special Education teacher Laura Schwab said her students, who are in "intensive support" classes, may not appreciate being suddenly approached by an assertive stranger.

"But if we can introduce them, and pair them up with a buddy, that can work," Schwab said.

Megan recently went to a leadership conference about the Best Buddies program. And helping get the project off the ground is a good leadership exercise, Schwab said. Between a Bright Ideas grant from the Ottumwa Regional Legacy Foundation and assistance from Iowa Safe and Supportive Schools, she said, OHS was able to fund the project. It's worth the effort, she added.

"It helps my kids with social skills, it helps them integrate themselves into the greater community," she said. "We want them to leave high school with the confidence to be involved in the community."

For students with intellectual or developmental disabilities, which is who Best Buddies is designed for, success may look different than it looks for their non-disabled peers. For some youngsters, starting a conversation with a newcomer may be "a win," she said. The goal is to get these youngsters to be as independent as possible and achieve what is 100 percent of their potential for them.

Text Only
Local News
  • OHS events called off Thursday OTTUMWA – What was supposed to be a busy night for Ottumwa athletics on Thursday turned into a very light and very wet night around the City of Bridges. Five Ottumwa Community School District athletic events, including the school’s elementary track m

    April 24, 2014

  • A downtown garden OTTUMWA — Not everyone who lives in the downtown business district has the space to grow their own garden. But a local nonprofit group decided they had some extra room. They recently moved into a new building on Main Street. "We wanted to do somethin

    April 24, 2014

  • OTT 0425 Job Fair photo -T -M Face to face OTTUMWA — People were at tables, leaning against poles, even using the small stage as a desk at the IowaWorks Southern Iowa Job Fair. They were filling out employment applications. The job fair is a better way to do that than sitting at a computer, s

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hoping for riche$ — Part 4

    OTTUMWA — $6.6 million was spent in Wapello County in lottery ticket sales in 2013. Since 2003, the amount of money spent on lottery tickets by local residents has grown by more than $2 million. If statistics are correct, the number of lottery ticket

    April 24, 2014 3 Stories

  • 0425 OTT Five Things logo -L -T -M Five things to do in southeast Iowa this weekend OTTUMWA — There's no excuse for staying indoors this weekend. From a night on the town to plays to a day learning about healthy living, you'll find a reason to be out and about in southeast Iowa. 1. Ladies Night Out will give you an opportunity to vi

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0425 OTT Fairfest 14 color photo -L -T -M 'Bigger and better' for FAIRfest '14 FAIRFIELD — With the theme of "bigger and better," Fairfield's annual free music and more festival has released the lineup for this year's FAIRfest '14. More than 6,000 people attended last year's three-day weekend of fabulous free music, and organiz

    April 24, 2014 2 Photos

  • 0425 OTT Food bank donation color photo -L -T -M Food Bank of Southern Iowa receives $1,100 'Stump the Chumps' donation OTTUMWA — The Food Bank of Southern Iowa was the big winner in KIIC Radio’s sixth annual “Stump the Chumps” NCAA basketball championship contest in March and early April. Thunder Country 96.7-FM in Albia along with contest sponsor Community 1st Credi

    April 24, 2014 2 Photos

  • 0425 OTT eagle stock photo Mahaska Co. man accused of killing bald eagle NEW SHARON — A Mahaska County man faces federal charges after allegedly beating a bald eagle to death and decapitating it. Jason John Thomas was arrested in New Sharon after being indicted by a federal grand jury. He is accused of killing the eagle i

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pedersen: Spec. Ed. students should count ELDON — If you're going to publish graduation rates, stop excluding some children who are doing well. "In some ways, I think it's a little upsetting to the parents of a child who has a physical handicap or is otherwise [in special education], that th

    April 23, 2014

  • 0424 OTT Pennsylvania construction color photo -M -T Penn Ave. construction begins Thursday

    OTTUMWA — Motorists are advised that Pennsylvania Avenue will be closing for Stage 1 of the Pennsylvania Avenue Reconstruction and Widening Project on Thursday. Pennsylvania Avenue will be closed from just downhill from the intersection with Jefferso

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

Photo reprints


Obituaries

Facebook
E-edition