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
  • Ottumwa woman's body recovered from Rathbun Lake RATHBUN LAKE — The body of an Ottumwa woman was recovered at Rathbun Lake early Sunday morning. At approximately 12:52 a.m. Sunday, emergency personnel responded to the Rathbun Marina boat docks on a report of a female that fell into Rathbun Lake and

    July 13, 2014

  • 0715 OTT Swiss bakery color photo -L Sharing her love of baking OTTUMWA — The love of baking has turned into a personal ministry for one Ottumwa woman. Suzanne Tanner is now making her delicacies out of her own kitchen, sharing her breads and sweets with the community. Suzanne's Swiss Bakery held its open house S

    July 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0715 OTT Online only Book sale color photo -L Friends raising money for Bloomfield Library BLOOMFIELD — Down the hall and up the stairs at the old elementary school in Bloomfield, now the Old School Social Center, is a haven for anyone who loves books. From now through July 26, the Friends of the Bloomfield Public Library are hosting a use

    July 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0712 OTT Zapata color photo -L -M Local arrests lead to federal prison OTTUMWA — Though they were arrested locally, you won't see this pair of drug dealers at the Wapello County Courthouse. "They were sentenced in federal court just last week," said Lt. Jason Bell with the Ottumwa Police Department. "We want to update t

    July 11, 2014 2 Photos

  • 0712 OTT Techel graphic -L -M Techel trial begins Monday DAVENPORT — More than two years have passed since Lisa Techel was shot and killed in her home near Agency. Two juries have failed to decide whether she died at the hands of her husband, Seth. A third jury will begin work Monday in what everyone hopes

    July 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • School Board to vote on CIML split OTTUMWA — When Ottumwa fans fill Schafer Stadium in the fall of 2015, they may no longer be competing in the Central Iowa Metro League (CIML). The Ottumwa Community School District (OCSD) Board of Education will meet at 6 p.m. Monday at the McCarroll

    July 11, 2014

  • Preschool, an overlooked necessity ELDON — A sturdy foundation is an essential building block to any project that idea proves to be especially important in education. Earlier this week, Cardinal Community School District Superintendent Joel Pedersen was invited by an assistant to Gov.

    July 11, 2014

  • 0712 OTT Rural health survey color graphic -L -M The results are in from Ottumwa health survey OTTUMWA — Were you one of the more than 1,000 people who participated in the University of Iowa's Prevention Research Center for Rural Health's phone interview last year? If you were, the information you provided is going to make a dramatic differenc

    July 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Vision Iowa grant request receives city OK OTTUMWA — A unique design to connect south Ottumwa with the Wapello County Trail system received the seal of approval from Ottumwa City Council on Friday afternoon. During the special meeting, council approved a Vision Iowa grant that would create a

    July 11, 2014

  • Sale of parking lot to River Hills on city's agenda OTTUMWA — The sale of the parking lot behind River Hills and the Wapello building will be the subject of a public hearing on Tuesday, July 15, during the Ottumwa City Council meeting. The city will look at selling River Hills the parking lot for $1,

    July 11, 2014

Photo reprints


Obituaries

Facebook