by Danielle Wagner
CALMAR (KWWL) The S.T.E.P. Program at NICC in Calmar began in January. It's a place where people with disabilities come together once a month to talk and ask questions.
"Working with the disabilities service office, we decided we need a place where we can speak out and talk to each other," said Shannon Kohles.
Coordinator of Disability Services at NICC, Anna Stamat, helped get the program up and running.
She approached Shannon and Ronald Kohles to lead the group. The Kohles' are non-traditional students who also have learning disabilities. They understand how difficult it can be in a college classroom.
"We open it up to everybody to come whether they have a disability or not and the purpose is if a student does have a concern or a challenge during the week or month they can talk to us," said student coordinator Shannon Kohles.
S.T.E.P. is expanding this fall with a mentor program, pairing second year students with first year students.
"I know these people are coming out of high school that have disabilities. They ave been put in the resource room, structured environment. and now they're given a syllabus and say this is what you go to do and they don't know," said student coordinator Ronald Kohles.
"Anna's Garden" is a special nickname given to the group. The seeds were originally planted by Anna and now flowers are blooming.
"We want them to come out of here with 3.57 or 4.0, and we are hearing that already. Grades above 3.0 and that's fantastic," said Ronald Kohles.
The Kohles said the group has made a big impact on their lives, and they see positive changes in others too.
"I'm very proud of all these students and what they're accomplishing," said Ronald Kohles.
"look at the abilities of everyone, not the disabilities because that's all that matters. we're all good at something," said Shannon Kohles.
S.T.E.P. meets the third Thursday of every month from 4 to 5 p.m. in room 105 of the Wilder Resource Center on the NICC Calmar campus.
Reporter: Danielle Wagner