ProActive Caring, a program of the Center on Aging and DIS-Ability Policy (CADP) at Mount Saint Mary College, recently gave 12 students the opportunity to connect research and scholarship with theory and practice.
The students, members of a class on Aging and Society and the Mount club Aging United, became research assistants for ProActive Caring.
The students formed teams that were first tasked with researching agencies that provide community services to people with developmental disabilities and their families in one of four regions of New York State. They also connected with the CEOs of these organizations.
After learning about how mindfulness can be used to relieve stress, members of the teams joined together to create posters marketing ProActive Caring’s Train-the-Trainer program and integrated technological platforms to support aging and family systems. The posters and resource lists created will be made available to the community agencies they identified and posted on proactivecaring.org.
At the completion of the semester, the students reflected on the experiences they shared while assisting ProActive Caring, highlighting not only the impact the program has on those who take part in it, but the impact their experience had on their own lives as well.
Here's what they had to say:
“Mindfulness allows you to be in the very moment, not overthinking what has happened in the past and not overthinking what will or might happen in the future, but immersed in what is happening here and now, in the present.”
- Rachel Berkoben of Westwood, N.Y.; Robert Bottone of Wantagh, N.Y.; and Mario Sticca of New Windsor, N.Y.
“Being able to research this type of preventative care has been very eye-opening for us. We can incorporate mindfulness strategies, coping skills, and stress relief in many aspects of our careers.”
- Ciarra Quinn of Bayside, N.Y.; Alexis Grippi of East Islip, N.Y.; and Kate Hughes of Blooming Grove, N.Y.
“We were surprised to discover the vast resources one has access to, even for just a section of New York. ProActive Caring: ‘Making things comfortable and easy to access in the comfort of your own home.’”
- Ashley Simeon of Newburgh, N.Y.; Olivia Sickler of Lake Katrine, N.Y.; and Madelyn Krol of Highland, N.Y.
“ProActive Caring and the resources it provides will be beneficial to anyone who uses them. The videos on the ProActive Caring website can help any demographic help themselves. These resources provide self-help skills and strategies to reduce stress.”
- Rachel Munro of Floral Park, N.Y.; Emma DeLancy of Cheshire, Conn.; and Molly Morales of Pine Bush, N.Y.
The ProActive Caring Program provides Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) strategies and training to individuals, families, and caregiving staff.
Since the completion of their initial project, additional grants have been awarded to the ProActive Caring Program, including one addressing the needs of individuals with disabilities to access Transition assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic, and another to develop a Train-the Trainer program to teach mindfulness strategies to individuals with intellectual and development disabilities (IDD) by showing trainers how individuals with IDD can use a task analysis app.
Mount Social Science professors Lawrence Force and Jeffrey Kahana, co-directors of the Center on Aging and Disability Policy (CADP), founded the ProActive Caring Program.
CADP, established in 2006, promotes an interdisciplinary perspective dedicated to excellence in research and scholarship in the fields of gerontology and disability studies.
Force has worked in the field of aging and disabilities for more than three decades as an administrator, clinician, and educator. Kahana, in addition to his work at the Mount, is a prolific author on subjects ranging from academics to social issues in the United States.
Thanks go to all who helped develop, market, and deliver the ProActive Caring Train-the-Trainer course: Valerie Capalbo, Theresa Drum, Dr. Larry Force, Dr. Jeffrey Kahana, Dr. Maria McWhirt, Lisa Nathan, Peggy Pisano, Dugan Radwin, Dr. Mindy Scirri, Emily Souter, Elaine Sproat, and Kevin Winslow; the amazing parents, educators, and service providers who provided the training to individuals in their care; the CADP Research Assistants; the New York State DDPC; and members of the ProActive Caring Advisory Council.