First Person with Gail Ruscetta, Bike Newport’s Community Educator
I am a teacher who has mentored student teachers in my classroom, a daughter of an amazing mom who lived with a physical disability, and a sister of a sibling living well with developmental disabilities. I now work for Bike Newport as their Community Educator, and was invited by Chyleene O’Connor, a Bike Newport board member, to come to Salve Regina University to present an evening of bike related activities for the participants of a program called “Learning Unlimited,”an educational program that pairs undergrad students with adults, each of whom has unique learning needs (don’t we all?).
I was struck by the helpfulness and kindness and positivity of both the students and the participants. Each group that moved through the four stations were respectful, and truly happy to be with each other, learning something new. Every one of them was just as happy to celebrate someone else trying a new activity as they were to do it themselves.
It was a perfect example of inclusive learning.
Salve’s young, future educators know what I wish all new educators should: people who have disabilities; physical, emotional or cognitive, are worthy of respect, are “whole” people, and have much to teach and to share. I went home from Salve’s “Learning Unlimited” evening with a hopeful heart.
We’re grateful to Salve for providing this important program and to the participants for their eager enjoyment of our program. We look forward to continuing to work together and to welcoming our friends to the many Bike Newport programs where adaptive bikes make participation accessible to people with unique abilities.
Photos by Clare Rok, Learning Unlimited