Ellen and Jordyn are the first Licking County students to pursue Early Childhood Aide certificates at Columbus State
For Ellen Roudebush, starting classes at Columbus State Community College was a completely new experience.
So she and her family were excited when, as they looked through the roster for her upcoming courses, they realized another Licking County student was in her program.
Now Ellen, of Alexandria, is carpooling to Columbus State with Jordyn Hubert, of Granville twice a week as they work through first aid, child abuse prevention and communicable diseases classes.
They both have a shared goal, to complete a year-long Columbus State program to earn a certificate allowing them to work in a childcare setting as early childhood aides.
“Our paths have crossed, and I love that both of them are doing it at the same time,” said Ellen’s mother, Jackie Roudebush.
A college experience
Ellen and Jordyn, who both attended Granville High School, are the first students from Licking County to be accepted into the Early Childhood Aide program, said coordinator Jackie Teny-Miller.
Columbus State started the program, which is designed for students with developmental or intellectual disabilities, five years ago, she said. The college also offers a Human Services Assistant program which helps students with DD/ID prepare for jobs assisting others with disabilities, or senior citizens.
“We want to help them secure gainful employment, that is our hope for all students,” Teny-Miller said. “Along with that, we provide opportunities for students to integrate into the college community.”
The first session of the Early Childhood Aide program focuses on certifications that students need to be in a classroom with young children. Students also take an introductory course to get more comfortable on the Columbus State campus.
During both fall and spring semester, students spend some time in the classroom, but also complete two practicums at different childcare centers. They work with a mentor teacher and different age groups, including toddlers and preschoolers.
“They learn about how to plan classroom activities, how to support a child, how to teach the child and when to help the teacher,” Teny-Miller said.
Students also have the option to participate in additional classes to help with career and life skills. They also get the chance to join clubs and participate in campus activities, such as working out in the fitness center and going to sporting events or theater performances.
As the end of the year approaches, students in the program are connected to job development resources, such as Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities.
“A lot of students get jobs from their practicums, and we are very thrilled for them,” Teny-Miller said.
The majority of students who complete the program are working in the early childhood field, while others realize they want to pursue a different dream.
But no matter where they end up, they typically leave Columbus State with confidence, independence and new friends.
When Ellen graduated from high school, her first goal was to get a job.
A high school job at Big Lots led her to her current position as a bagger at Kroger. But after three years there, she realized she wanted something more.
“Working with children is my dream job,” she said.
Ellen, 22, spent years helping out in the nursery of her church, babysitting and working as a mother’s helper. So the program at Columbus State seemed like a great fit for her.
At first, Ellen was nervous and worried about the coursework, but she learned more about the resources that Columbus State offered to help with testing and began passing her exams.
“After the first day, she felt overwhelmed but stayed positive,” her mother said. “I was really proud, she had determination and didn’t give up.”
Ellen has made friends and got involved with Columbus State’s Unified Abilities club. She is looking forward to her two practicums and is already thinking about the future,
“I want to try to find a job at a daycare,” she said.
So after leaving Granville High School and completing the Project SEARCH program at Licking Memorial Hospital, Columbus State seemed like a great option.
Project SEARCH gave Jordyn a lot of skills that she needed to be successful in college, such as scheduling her own transportation, getting up on time, teamwork and speaking up for herself.
She also gained experience working with children over the past two years by volunteering at Flying Colors Public Preschool.
So she was ready to go when the Early Childhood Aide program started.
Jordyn recently celebrated earning a high score on a midterm. Her family is also proud of the way she’s advocated for herself.
Jordyn knew she could speak up and ask for a quiet place to take her exams, which motivated other students who needed that same accommodation to ask for it as well, said her mother, Gail Hubert.
She has also told her family she’s decided to work toward living on her own someday.
When they decided to try the Columbus State program, Jordyn applied for a scholarship from the Down Syndrome Association of Central Ohio, which are offered to people with Down syndrome and siblings of those with Down syndrome. Her application contained a list of her activities and achievements, a 300-word essay and several letters of recommendation.
She was honored to find out she was one of six recipients to receive the scholarship.
Jordyn said she’s enjoying the program and looking forward to her practicums.
“It’s fun,” she said.
For more information about the programs that Columbus State offers to students with DD/IDD contact Jackie Teny-Miller at firstname.lastname@example.org or 614-287-2544.