Reciprocal Impact: the NSSED Dance

by Jennine Blasing, Trinity Digest staff writer

 

Community Partnership cabinet leaders pose for a picture at the NSSED dance. | PHOTO: Krista Sperling

Over 100 Trinity students and twelve Northern Suburban Special Education District students gathered for the 5th annual NSSED dance in Melton Hall on Saturday, January 26.

NSSED serves around 40,000 students with disabilities ranging from age three to twenty-one. According to nssed.org, “NSSED helps students become successful, happy adults in home, school, work, and community by providing programs and services that ensure students.”

Trinity has been partnering with NSSED for more than five years with the intent to touch the lives of those in the special education district. The idea of the NSSED dance started when Katherine Jeffery spoke on God’s hospitality at the student leadership retreat. Senior Ashley May was touched by Katherine’s words and decided to start a dance for the NSSED students for her senior honors project. Since then it has been run by Heather Cordero and the student leaders on campus for the past five years.

The dance has been a tradition because of the impact it has made on both the special education students and the Trinity students.

This was NSSED student Rachel Bernstein’s first time coming to the dance. Her face glowed throughout the night, especially when the song “Part of Me” by Katy Perry started to play.

The impact of this dance didn’t stop with the special education students, the impact extended to the parents of the NSSED students. “I hope Rachel doesn’t have to wait until next year to come back. Trinity students are amazing for doing this,” Amy Bernstein, Rachel’s mother, said.

NSSED student Eric Emde smiled all night as well, particularly when his name was drawn for a raffle in which he won three activity books. Eric’s father had the same smile on his face when he got the chance to talk about how grateful he was that Trinity was reaching out to special needs students.

“This is great what you guys are doing. Our special needs students as human beings deserve this—to hang out with you guys,” Eric said.

“This dance is really important for the socialization these students need. Being a part of a community and the University is very important for them,” NSSED employee Renee Mansell said.

But the dance impacts more than the NSSED students. It is also important for Trinity’s students. “I enjoy the experience the dance brings to the student body and leadership. It loosens everyone up and gives them a good perspective. Students need to be here. It embodies the TIU mission while having fun,” Senior Calvin Taylor said.

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