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Scots Angels part of partnership

Barry McNamara
05/10/2011
Danica Rogers, a junior from Rochelle, created a family of Scots Angels that have been replicated by workers at Achievement Industries. The Scots Angels are available through the Monmouth College Bookstore.
The principal of citizenship – a key component of the Monmouth College curriculum – is actively being applied by three academic departments in partnerships with the Warren Achievement Center (WAC) and a division of the center, Achievement Industries.

“Scots Angels” is one of several joint projects with the Monmouth-based center for persons with developmental disabilities. It grew from an outreach by the art department, while the psychology department is responsible for a “Happy Hours” initiative at WAC. Chemistry has gotten into the act, too, through a project involving electroplating.

The idea for the Scots Angels project began following a trip to Achievement Industries led by art professor Stacy Lotz.

“They showed us some little concrete garden statues that they made,” explained Danica Rogers, a junior art major from Rochelle. “Lewy (Neal), the person in charge of making that type of stuff, thought that angels would be a good idea. So I created a little family of angel sculptures, and they liked them.”

The “family” features an old man angel, an old woman angel and a young angel.

“I was contacted by (WAC vice president) Jim Keefe, and he had a marketing idea to give them a red finish and make them ‘Scots Angels,’” Rogers added.

The “charming” angels are replicated by workers with disabilities at Achievement Industries, and they are available exclusively at the Monmouth College Bookstore, which is located on the main level of McMichael Residence Hall. The sculptures can be given as a reminder to a friend or family member that they have a Scots Angel looking over them.

Rogers hopes to add to the angel family in the months ahead, perhaps focusing on a sports theme.

The Scots Angels aren’t the only Monmouth College sculptures that will be sent to Achievement Industries. Busts of President Obama, created by associate professor of art Brian Baugh, will be replicated once Baugh puts the finishing touches on the project this summer.

Achievement Industries already produces busts of Illinois presidents Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan, in bronze plate or a spray patina, which are available for sale at several local outlets. The busts have been placed in the Reagan Presidential Library in California, the Reagan Museum at Eureka College and in the Lincoln Presidential Library in Springfield. The Obama busts will add to the “Illinois collection,” and WAC is currently seeking an artist to produce a bust of the other president with ties to the state, Ulysses S. Grant.

The bronzing process was originally farmed out to a company in Colorado, but when it went out of business, Achievement Industries was left without a viable option, according to WAC’s director of adult day services, Barb Huyser.

Monmouth College entered the picture at that point, as assistant professor of chemistry Brad Sturgeon received a $1,000 grant to purchase electroplating materials.

“They’ve been experimenting with the process for the past several months, and they’ve got it to the point where it looks like a saleable product,” said Huyser.

Two MC students from Peoria – sophomore Pat Corrigan and freshman Alex Peacock – have been working on the project since the fall.

We have plated more than 10 presidential busts, a Scotsman, some chemistry glassware and other items,” said Sturgeon. “I consider us in the ‘research and development’ stage, but we’ll soon move into more of a ‘production’ mode once we decide with WAC how to move forward.”

Once completed, those products will be available for purchase at the Maple City eMart, which is located at 1360 South Main St., and at other area outlets, including the Buchanan Center for the Arts, the Monmouth Area Chamber of Commerce and the Galesburg Civic Art Center.

Monmouth College’s relationship with the Warren Achievement Center actually goes back to the 1970s, when the college provided housing for WAC constituents.

Keefe said another relationship began then, too.

“In the 1970s, Monmouth College established its Learning Disabilities program in direct response to the work of Warren Achievement School,” he said. “Monmouth College has always been, and continues to be, important to the life of Warren Achievement Center. It is impossible to list all the faculty and students who have been of help to us, because there is really nearly 50 years of involvement between our organizations.”

In more recent times, Monmouth students have been instrumental in supporting programming at the center as state budget cuts and have forced WAC to reduce personnel.

“I have always thought of Monmouth College as a vast resource of ideas, energy and able bodies, so I shared this concern with the students in our department,” said associate professor of psychology Kristin Larson, who is chair of WAC’s board of directors. “Their response was immediate and enthusiastic. They wanted to step in and provide a level of social interaction that would enrich the lives of the consumers.”

Kylie Stufflebeam, a senior from Canton, helped start the Happy Hours program. A group of students has gone to WAC every other week to participate with the independent residents in activities, including a Halloween party, games and performances.

“Our goals are to create social contact for the people at WAC and to raise their quality of life,” explained Stufflebeam, who also teaches stress reduction classes there.

“It is gratifying to see these students go beyond a one-time event by committing to meet throughout the semester and develop meaningful relationships with the consumers,” said Larson, who has served on WAC’s Human Rights Committee and Behavioral Intervention Committee for nine years. “The students found their lives were enriched by the consumers’ friendliness, courage and perseverance. Happy Hours will continue next year, benefiting both Monmouth College and Warren Achievement.”

Two other students involved at WAC are Rachel Holm, a junior from Oregon, and Ashley Koza, a junior from Davis Junction.

Through the campus organization Blue Key, Holm supervises a project that helps raise funds for recreational activities such as field trips and participation fees for Special Olympics.

Koza has interned at WAC for the past semester, continuing an intern relationship between WAC and MC’s psychology department that was started in 2008.

“It’s been a great experience, and all the staff and consumers have been very welcoming,” said Koza. “Sitting in on classes and talking with the consumers has been a great learning experience.”

Another partnership is the “Scot Shuttle” van, operated by the Warren Achievement Center, which helps students run errands or dine at one of Monmouth’s restaurants. Stops along the Monmouth loop will include County Market, ShopKo, Taco Bell/KFC, Petey’s, Walgreens and the Public Square. On Sundays, the Scot Shuttle makes an afternoon run to Galesburg.

The service for both the Monmouth and Galesburg shuttle loops is free to individuals with a Monmouth College ID, and it also available to the general public for a minimal cost.

“The support of the students and faculty at Monmouth College is appreciated at all levels of our organization,” concluded Keefe. “We’ve received valuable help from (marketing professor) Don Capener in developing Maple City eMart, from Dr. Larson and others in behavioral programming and human rights issues, and now, with the help of Dr. Sturgeon, we’re becoming much more competent in our molding and plating business. The enthusiasm and dedication of the students who volunteer with us is amazing. All of our staff and consumers appreciate their help.”