The Children’s Center Programs LLC (CCP) in Neptune, New Jersey collaborates with Monmouth University faculty and staff to host programs and events for their Adult Day Habilitation Program. It is a leisure and activity-based program for individuals 21 years and older with developmental and intellectual disabilities.
Chief Quality, Strategy Officer of the CCP’s Adult Day Program, Alan Fazzari, Ed.D., MBA, M.A., is also a business adjunct professor here at Monmouth. His connections with the faculty of the Leon Hess Business School, other academic departments, and different student-based associations have provided Monmouth students a bridge into the local community.
Professor of Business, John Buzza, elaborated on some of the activities his students organized for the Adult Day Program. “We put on a musical, facilitated social games, showed the participants how to make pizza— we did quite a few things at the Adult Program,” said Buzza. In particular, five of his students stayed with the Adult Program and organized a cooking activity every week of the semester for the entirety of the academic school year.
The students’ involvement was not all business-related; rather, Buzza prioritized his students’ engagement outside the classroom. Buzza explained, “Social involvement and the act of giving back is so critical, not only for college but for life in general.Dr. Fazzari and I both agreed that it would be a great opportunity for the students of Monmouth to introduce themselves to the disabled community, along with meeting the needs of the participants.”
In addition to Professor Buzza’s class, Joe Mosca, Ed.D., MBA, M.A., had his strategic management students coordinate events for the Adult Day Program. For instance, one of Mosca’s classes had created and led an entire carnival program as a class project. “The varying projects between different class sections gave the students the sense of community, leadership, and ethics necessary for entrance into the business world,” reflected Buzza.
Joe Palazzolo, Ed.D., M.A., who currently advises the University’s fraternity chapter as the International President of Sigma Pi, highlighted accomplishments made by the brothers in conjunction with the Adult Day Program. “Community involvement is a core component of fraternity and sorority life. While the organizations on our campus—including Sigma Pi—are social organizations, each of the groups have a unique philanthropic cause that they focus their service and fundraising efforts on supporting,” stated Palazzolo.
Palazzolo continued, “Conducting programming that supports entities like the CCP Adult Program both provides a bit of happiness for the individuals in the program and their families and also advances the educational mission of the University to help our students become engaged citizens in a diverse world.”
The initial introduction between the Adult Day Program and Sigma Pi was fostered by Vinny Stingo ‘16, a then-undergraduate student of the Leon Hess Business School. Stingo said, “When I was an undergraduate, I wanted to do something special—more than raising money for a group without even interacting with them. I started the relationship with the adult center following a tour of their campus, moved by my interaction with the men and women enrolled.” Stingo and others went on to lead and direct numerous fashion shows and honorary fraternity inductions with the participants, a program that lasted several years even after Stingo graduated.
“Well over 1,000 hours of community service has taken place between Monmouth students and the Adult Day Program,” Fazzari said. From graduate nursing students who organized several health and hygiene safety activities, to the athletic department permitting their teams to perform sport drills, to varying other clubs and associations’ participation— the relationship between academia and the local community has grown exponentially, especially with the CCP’s Adult Day Program. Students, such as Lachalle Wallace ’14, have even continued their commitment post-graduation. Wallace, who led the Women’s Track Team in activities with the Adult Program, is presently a Room Supervisor. According to Fazzari, “With over six million individuals in the United States having a developmental disability, it is certain each of us will at sometime work with and/or befriend an individual with IDD; nevertheless, remember that people with disabilities are people first and foremost.”