Essential Piece of the Puzzle
Michael Freeman has many duties as the SRWC Aquatics and Inclusive Recreation Coordinator and every bit is deeply fulfilling for him.
As aquatics coordinator, Freeman provides programs for students using the aquatics center. His job involves special event and safety programming, training student staff in emergency response and conducting CPR training.
As the inclusive recreation coordinator, Freeman regularly provides programs for students from diverse communities including the LGBT community, returning veterans, the physically and cognitively disabled and students that may be suffering from homelessness. In Freeman’s own words, “the inclusive program highlights the talent—not the disability.”
“It’s a very positive and fulfilling experience,” he said. “I come from a harder background, Philadelphia, and seeing students learn to push back if they’re bullied or understanding different ways to be assertive—that makes a big difference to me.”
Freeman himself has a cognitive disability and therefore sees his job as an opportunity to break down walls that students may experience.
“It’s good to work in the inclusive recreation area as someone with a cognitive disability, because I can show people living with disabilities that they’re normal,” he said. “It’s being able to highlight these sorts of things that people aren’t usually educated on or knowledgeable about that make the job fulfilling.”
Freeman believes that the inclusive program is crucial to not only educating people on social, cognitive and physical disabilities—but also to highlighting mental illness and depression, which occur in high rates among college students. And for him, participating in this program is both deeply personal and profoundly purposeful.
“Our SRWC family has been through a lot, but we’re still together and we’re stronger than ever,” he said.
Michael Freeman was awarded the Essential Piece of the Puzzle during the November ASI employee assembly. As a part of ASI’s commitment to uplifting customer service, each month all full-time staff participates and votes in this monthly employee of the month program.