The American Samoa Community College’s (ASCC) Agriculture, Community and Natural Resources (ACNR) Division has collaborated with the College’s Division of Student Services (DOSS) Counseling Services on a six-week pilot program for young adults with disabilities. A total of five participants completed the program. As an alternative educational pathway, the purpose of the pilot program is to encourage academic success through informal education opportunities, enhance interpersonal and social skills, develop professionalism, and cultivate lifelong learners.
“Since 2017, I have come across students who have retaken English 70 three or more times and never seem to pass, even with the help of note takers, tutors, and peer mentors”, said ASCC Personal Counselor Sigalu Sitagata-Tinitali. “Most of these students have learning, intellectual, or developmental disabilities so I reached out to Tialavea Molly Asifoa-Lagai of ACNR to inquire more about the non-formal education and learning activities provided by the Extension programs.”
Program participants engaged in various workshops, demonstrations, and hands-on learning activities pertaining to food safety, health and nutrition, agriculture, entomology, and boating safety. Several of the activities conducted at the ACNR-Land Grant facilities included: planting vegetables with the Agriculture Extension Program Crops Specialist; food safety and nutrition education with the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program; exercise sessions with the Health and Fitness Specialist; learning about mosquitoes with the Entomology Research Program; and herb identification and planting with the Horticulture Research Program.
“This was a great experience for the students and our staff,” said one of the program facilitators ACNR Family and Consumer Science Extension Agent Suelynn Molesi. “We wanted to showcase the work our staff does, but more importantly, we wanted to expand the students’ interests and teach them skills that they can use at home, school, or work”. The program also provided opportunities for participants to get out in the community. They greeted customers at Cost U Less and distributed flyers and brochures containing nutritional information on healthy eating habits. They also received boat safety lessons and a boat ride in the Pago Pago Harbor from the Department of Public Safety - Marine Patrol Division.
The program concluded with ceremony to acknowledge the participants’ successful completion of the program. Along with a certificate of completion, each participant received promotional items and supplies from the ASCC-ACNR 4-H Youth Development and Forestry programs. Participants’ parents, teachers, and caregivers were also in attendance. "I am very thankful for the support from ASCC-ACNR and other partners in putting this pilot program together”, said Sitagata-Tinitali. “Given opportunities and avenues, anyone and anything can be meaningful."
The DOSS Counseling Services provides academic, career, personal, transfer, veterans, and diversity counseling. Counseling services assists with orientation of new students, implements outreach activities, offers crisis intervention, and follow-up and referral services. These services are provided to ASCC students and prospective students. Counseling Services’ goal is to provide quality assistance that will create a safe, supportive, and affirming student environment. Counseling is available to the diverse ASCC student population to assist with their inquiries and/or requests. Counseling services include Academic Counseling, Career Counseling, Personal Counseling, Transfer/Alumni Counseling, Diversity and Tutorial Counseling, and Veterans Affairs Counseling. For more information on this program, contact Personal Counselor Sigalu Sitagata-Tinitali at 699-2722 Ext. 0006 or visit the website www.amsamoa.edu.