Special Olympics Automotive Program

Special Olympics

Front row from left: Dr. Robin Schutt, Norman Messinger, Wayne Turley, Donald Champigny, and Dennis Dejesus from RI Special Olympics. Back row from left: Derick Silva, Daniel Champagne, Tom Rawlinson, and Herbert Gowdey.

With guidance from faculty and staff, Automotive Technology students became “coaches” as they taught groups of Rhode Island Special Olympians basic automotive skills during a six week program with sessions running two hours each week. This innovative program was developed by Mike Isabella, Assistant Professor in Automotive Technology. To date, there have been three groups of participants completing the program with more sessions scheduled in 2015. The program has been so successful that one of the Special Olympians has been hired by NEIT to work part time in the automotive lab.

Many thanks to the Automotive Technology team who participated in this unique program. Faculty and Staff: Donald Champigny, Edwin Egge, Herbert Gowdey, Michael Isabella, Derek Martel, Norman  Messinger, Daniel Perry, and Dr. Robin Schutt. Students: Zachary Casper, Daniel Champagne, Jake Gelacek, Michael Hogan, Tom Rawlinson, Derick Silva, Wayne Turley, and Joseph Zingg.

Special Olympians Learn Automotive Skills

Michael Isabella, Assistant Professor, Automotive Technology, along with Dr. Robin Schutt, Assistant Provost, developed an innovative program involving Special Olympics Rhode Island, and NEIT’s Automotive Technology department, based on a similar program Mike initiated while employed at West Bay Vocational (now Coventry Career Center.) Robin has been a dedicated volunteer for Special Olympics for four years serving in various capacities including Excelsior for the 2013 Penquin Plunge. Through their concerted efforts, a winning program was created at New England Tech.

With the help of volunteer automotive students, faculty and staff, twelve Special Olympians will visit NEIT’s Center for Automotive Technology for six weeks. In two hour sessions, one day per week, the Olympians will learn basic automotive skills that include car maintenance such as washing and vacuuming, along with basic lighting and safety checks.

Special thanks to students Tom Rawlinson, Joe Zing, Zack Casper, Mike Hogan, Wayne Turley Jr., Daniel Champagne, and Jake Gelacek along with faculty and staff members Herb Gowdey, Derek Martel, Norm Messinger, Dan Perry and Donald Champigny, Sr., for sharing their time and talent with the Special Olympians and giving back to our community.