Atura Power, the company that owns Windsor's Brighton Beach Power plant, presented St. Clair College with a $20,000 donation to purchase two additional Temi Robots for use in the Community Integration through Cooperative Education (CICE) program.
Geoff Saunders, plant manager at Brighton Beach, was on hand to see how the robots are used by the students to aid with their studies and help them navigate the College.
"It was a pleasure being here today and seeing the difference that Atura Power's donation made," he said. "Just as importantly, I got to spend time with CICE students Kyle, Evan, and Amruta to understand how the Temi robots have enhanced their college experience. The pride displayed by the students explaining how they interact with the Temi robots is a tangible reflection of the commitment by Atura and St. Clair College to promote inclusivity and the removal of social barriers."
Saunders said it was gratifying to see Atura's culture of inclusivity and diversity working through partnerships like the one at St. Clair that promote an inclusive social network.
President Patti France thanked Atura for the contribution, which will allow the College to expand a project that was launched last year.
"These devices open up the whole world of postsecondary education - and the College experience - to developmentally disabled individuals, by removing a host of barriers that had previously confronted them," President France said. "The robots guide mobility-impaired students to their classes, read out presentations for students who have speech impediments or who are non-verbal, and they vocalize assignments and test questions for those with poor vision or reading difficulties."
President France noted it is fitting the donation was made by a corporate citizen from the field of power generation. "In this instance, you're giving this unique and previously under-served group of students the power to pursue their educations and to fully join in both the life of our College and our community, and to gain skills for the post-graduation employment marketplace."
Stephanie DeFranceschi, the chair of the School of Community Studies, said the CICE program is designed to provide individuals with developmental disabilities and other significant learning challenges with the opportunity to experience College life, pursue post-secondary education, and develop skills that will help them prepare for employment. The two Temi Robots that will be purchased with the Atura donation will bring the total number of robots to five.
"Our CICE students have become leaders showing other students how to use the Temi Robots and these robots give students options to remove socialization and/or academic barriers that students with developmental disabilities can experience."