A recent partnership between the Alumni Association and the UL LIFE Program has sparked volunteer opportunities for current LIFE students.
The UL LIFE (Learning Is For Everyone) Program is a post-secondary comprehensive transition program recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. This highly individualized experience is for young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Since its inception at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, the program has provided countless students with valuable skills that allow them to become contributing members of their community.
When the idea of working with the UL LIFE Program was brought to Maci Quebedeaux, assistant director of special events at the Alumni Association, she immediately knew this partnership could become something special. “We chatted over the summer about the various ways that we could work together with the program throughout the year, and we’ve been looking to identify and create those volunteer opportunities,” she said.
Since then, LIFE students have had the chance to volunteer with the Alumni Association during two major initiatives. This past summer, students assisted with a donation drive hosted at the Alumni Center for the Career Closet, which provides UL Lafayette students with free, gently used professional clothing items. The LIFE students worked alongside other volunteers to help efficiently gather and sort donations from the community. They’ve also had the chance to volunteer at one of the Alumni Association’s most spirited events — tailgating! Students were able to help serve food, greet incoming guests and provide a smiling face to fans who stopped by the Alumni Hospitality Tent.
Caroline Billeaudeau, community and career coordinator with the UL LIFE Program, absolutely loves the partnership that’s developed with the Alumni Association because of the impact it's had on her students. “My favorite part is watching the students come into their own. Their friendships, campus involvement and academic opportunities all foster independence and self-discovery — which is wonderful to witness,” she said.
One of those students, Carmen Simoneaux, has really enjoyed the opportunities she’s had to volunteer throughout the year. “What I loved the most about volunteering with the Alumni Association was the chance to interact with alumni and current students. It allowed me to give back to the University that has given me so much,” she said. Simoneaux is grateful that through the UL LIFE Program, she’s been able to follow in her family’s footsteps and become a Ragin’ Cajun. “I have the chance to walk the same halls that my parents did. The UL Lafayette community is quickly becoming my extended family,” she said.
With this partnership established, the Alumni Association hopes to bring more UL LIFE Program students on board as volunteers during their events throughout the year. These students have such bright futures ahead, and the Alumni Association is grateful to play a small role in their journey at UL Lafayette.
Photo Caption: Students from the UL LIFE Program volunteer at the Alumni Center for a donation drive. (Submitted)