Best of Both Worlds students at Otterbein University pose with State Farm representatives on September 22, who donated new bikes and sporting equipment to the appreciative group.
The Best of Both Worlds (BOBW) program at Otterbein University this week received new bicycles, helmets and sports equipment, thanks to the generosity of State Farm and Share-Bac-A-Pac. How this came to happen is a story of kindness, giving back, and perhaps, a bit of good karma.
During the summer, Share-Bac-A-Pac (a non-profit program that provides healthy food over the weekend for Westerville students in need) was the beneficiary of a $25,000 State Farm grant. As part of that reward, they were allowed to give a $500 “Get to a Better State” grant to any organization they chose. Share-Bac-a-Pac founder Sherry Williamson and Otterbein University professor Patti Wilson selected BOBW, a partnership formed in 2011 between Westerville City Schools and Otterbein, which allows local special needs students to access transition services in their home community, after they leave high school. Young adults in the program enjoy work experiences on Otterbein’s Campus and in Westerville; participate in activities with university students; practice daily living skills throughout the local community; and learn tools for independence. BOBW participants, as fate would have it, have volunteered with Share-Bac-a-Pac since its start up about four years ago.
About a year and a half ago, the BOBW program was moved to a building on Collegeview Road. It was more spacious, but was located further away from campus and Uptown Westerville. The current facility happens to be situated next to the Westerville bike trail. BOBW recognized this as an opportunity to teach students how to ride safely to campus and around the community. But doing that without the right equipment was impossible. BOBW worked with Otterbein pupils and Patti Wilson, who wrote a grant last year that helped the group get three new bikes and helmets, which the 19 students shared.
State Farm’s “Get to a Better State” grant has doubled their fleet by providing three more bikes and helmets for use by the pupils. The grant also allowed State Farm to purchase basketballs and footballs for BOBW that will be used on Otterbein’s campus for social interaction opportunities. BOBW students complete large group recreation and small group work outs with Otterbein buddies twice a week. Basketballs and footballs were needed for these organized activity times on campus with same aged peers.
Best of Both Worlds Transition Specialist Becky Haselberger said she cannot thank Share-Bac-a-Pac, Sherry Williamson, Patti Wilson, and State Farm enough for their generosity and community collaboration. “The items made available to Best of Both Worlds will greatly impact and enrich programming opportunities for our students and help us to better access our campus and community engagements.”