Ashley West and son, Andrew.
By Jul DeGeus and Esperanza Popquiz
The holidays can be a challenging time for anyone. In an effort to help those who might need a little extra assistance, Centura College Chesapeake campus held a sensory friendly meet and greet with the one and only, Santa and Mrs. Claus.
We sat down with Campus Executive Director, Ashley West, to learn how the campus worked together to create a magical winter wonderland, for all those to enjoy:
What was the inspiration to hold a sensory-friendly event?
Ashley West: Anyone who knows me knows that there are three things in life that I get exceptionally excited about: My five year old son Andrew, who is autistic, my job, and CHRISTMAS! Personally knowing that the holiday season can be a real challenge for special needs families, we wanted to offer an event that allowed families of all different types to experience the magic of the holidays.
What steps did you take to prepare for the event?
AW: We began preparations and meetings in early October. Our committee was made up of volunteers. Anyone who was a part of it, was doing so on their own personal time. I truly appreciate the effort and dedication these wonderful people put in to make this a relaxed environment for special needs families. Countless hours went into decorating the wonderland, which included: three decked out Christmas trees, dozens and dozens of presents, inflatable characters and wrapping paper that covered every inch of the walls! We also spent a lot of time researching what kinds of activities and spaces would be most enjoyable to children on the autism spectrum and with other special needs. This resulted in us creating a quiet room; a room with low lighting, minimal sounds and a space to lay down or read a book. If any member of the family wanted to take a break from the hustle and bustle of our Santa’s Workshop, we made sure that they had that opportunity. In addition, each member of the committee attended a training session conducted by an autism support professional. We wanted to be sure that everyone was comfortable and prepared to best support these children and their families. From this training, we developed holiday activities, like sensory boxes (tubs with things like tinsel, slime and macaroni for the kids to feel textures) and cotton ball-snowman crafts. Obviously, we had to include Santa’s favorite cuisine, so there was plenty of milk and cookies for everyone to enjoy!
How did your staff react when learning about how to interact with children at the event?
AW: It was such a cool thing to watch the staff learn about some of the intricacies of working with special needs families. Many of them had not had any previous experience with the families, yet they all asked the exact questions that needed to be asked. I think lots of people try to promote awareness, but I’ve always said that awareness isn’t enough; what we’re really working toward is acceptance. The training we brought in helped the staff of Centura College Chesapeake campus to understand and accommodate the needs of every family that walked through our door. This made such a huge impact for our guests, moving us one step closer to our goal of acceptance.
Why is it important for Centura College to hold events like this for the community?
AW: We’re not just a tagline of “Connecting Communities and Careers.” We mean it! We want to serve all members of the community. As an autism mom, I can tell you that there’s a huge need for quality services and events for people who may need some additional considerations. We wanted to help be a part of the solution, so we’re also exploring program offerings to help train in a career supporting families with special needs. While special needs families are near and dear to my heart, I know that everyone has a specific cause that they cheer for. In 2018, we are hoping to highlight and showcase events that bring awareness, acceptance and actions of the causes we hold dear in our heart.
If you want to find out how you can help spread awareness and acceptance, or want to learn more about Centura College, Chesapeake campus, call 757.549.2121 or visit centuracollege.edu.
The Chesapeake campus of Centura College will be holding a sensory friendly holiday celebration on December 15th. Attendees will be able to take advantage of free photo opportunities with Santa, along with enjoying seasonal activities and refreshments, all in a sensory friendly environment.
By Brian Stauss
Centura College will be holding a special sensory friendly holiday celebration on Friday, December 15 at its Chesapeake campus located at 932 Ventures Way, Chesapeake, VA. Festivities begin at 1 p.m. and will continue until 6 p.m.
During this family-friendly event, attendees will be able to get free pictures taken with Santa. Santa will arrive at 2:30pm for photo opportunities. The campus will be providing milk and cookies, along with other holiday-themed snacks. Additionally, there will be sensory friendly activities available for children. Additional information can be found at https://www.facebook.com/events/529383557421968/.
“The holiday season really is the most wonderful time of the year. My five year old son is on the autism spectrum, so I intimately understand the challenges that the holidays can bring to special needs families,” says Ashley West, Campus Executive Director at Centura College’s Chesapeake campus. “We wanted to host an event where every families in our community could have the opportunity to enjoy some holiday cheer in an environment that is both warm and inclusive.”
This event is free and open to the public. The campus will also be accepting reservations for personalized time with Santa, for families that believe their children would do better in a less crowded setting.
“We understand that some kids may appreciate a little more privacy with their Santa experience, so we are offering a limited number of appointments to meet those needs,” continues West. “We truly want to provide the best experience for everyone!”
For more information regarding Centura College’s sensory friendly holiday event and to schedule an appointment with Santa, contact the Chesapeake campus at (757) 549-2121.
About Centura College
Centura College has been part of an organization dedicated to helping men and women develop careers since 1969. By training working adults in healthcare, technology, business, and trades, they connect communities with some of the fastest growing career fields in today’s marketplace. The school offers professional facilities, knowledgeable instructors, day or evening classes, job placement assistance and is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC). To learn more, visit www.CenturaCollege.edu or like them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/centura.edu.
The world of digital technology can be confusing. Many organizations fail to understand the clear distinction between various platforms within the digital technology. Do you need an IT specialist, a web developer, or a website designer? And who does what exactly? Digital service providers have a different set of skills and areas of expertise.
This is how it works: you don’t take your car to a collision shop when you want it detailed, or to a tire store when you want the oil changed. The same thing applies to information technology and web development. We are going to dissect the distinction between web development and information technology to help clear confusion and help you better communicate about the different roles.
What is Information Technology?
Information Technology (IT) has to do with the implementation and maintenance of your organization’s computer network. An IT specialist is the person handles the company’s software, hardware, email systems and security systems.
In the Web Industry scope, IT encompasses storage, transfer, reception and manipulation of data using computer networks. It may not be clear at a first glance, but IT represents the technology behind the standardization and coordination of the organization’s information.
What is Web Development?
Web development refers to the creation and development of websites and hosting them on the internet or intranet. This should never be confused with web design, which typically focuses on the aesthetics of websites. To draw a clear distinction, web designers create designs for a website before it comes alive, while a web developer will utilize the design to carry out the actual coding of the website, bringing the ideas to life.
Web developers work on anything as simple as plain text pages, to more complex social networking sites like Twitter or Facebook. During the development, the web developer engages the web designer and the client through critical thinking, planning, and discussion.
The Comparison Between IT Administrator and Web Developer
You can now see that these two fields are totally different, but the case may not be immediately clear when you first walk into a web company’s office. Here’s an analysis of the job description for an IT Administrator and a Web Developer:
An IT Administrator’s roles and duties include:
- Configuring computer networks in the organization for easy communication among the coworkers.
- Setting up and managing existing network infrastructures in the organization and ensuring a seamless flow of data and consistent internet connection.
- Managing all software and hardware used by the organization and keeping all the software licenses up to date.
- Managing software and hardware purchasing.
- Proper keeping of organizations data and information with backups.
- Troubleshooting any computer hardware failures of the organization.
The Web Developer’s duties and responsibilities include:
- Developing websites using the most prominent coding languages and technologies.
- Fixing bugs on the existing websites.
- Interacting with clients to clearly understand their goals and needs.
- Maintaining websites.
- Collaborating with web designers to bring their concepts into reality.
- Handling domain names and hosting configurations.
- Creating technical documentations that accompany websites.
It’s pretty clear now that the two jobs have very little similarities. Training in each area is needed to be successful in either role and being able to explain the difference to companies will make sure you exceed employer expectations in a more defined success plan.
The Chesapeake campus of Centura College will be showcasing its massage therapy program for individuals interested in pursuing a career in the health and wellness field. The event will offer interactive demonstrations of a variety of massage techniques.
By Brian Stauss
Centura College will be showcasing its massage therapy program on Wednesday, October 11, at its campus located at 932 Ventures Way, Chesapeake, VA. The demo begins at 6 p.m. and will continue until 8 p.m.
The event will feature hands-on demonstrations of reflexology, chair massage, deep tissue massage and aromatherapy. This interactive event is designed to provide participants with a real-world view of what it would be like to work in the massage therapy career field.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for individuals considering a career in the health and wellness field,” says Shawnte Peterson, Massage Therapy Program Coordinator at Centura College’s Chesapeake campus. “I can’t think of a better way to see if a career is right for you than by getting a hands-on preview into your field of interest.”
Participants are also invited to take a tour of the campus’s training facilities and to meet with admissions staff about the benefits of career-focused training provided at Centura College.
This event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact the Chesapeake campus at (757) 549-2121.
About Centura College
Centura College has been part of an organization dedicated to helping men and women develop careers since 1969. By training working adults in healthcare, technology, business, legal studies and trades, they connect communities with some of the fastest growing career fields in today’s marketplace. The school offers professional facilities, knowledgeable instructors, day or evening classes, job placement assistance and is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC). To learn more, visit www.CenturaCollege.edu or like them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/centura.edu.
By Jul DeGeus
“Let me check your records.” A phrase many of us hear when visiting the doctor’s office. But who manages these records? Who makes sure that our medical information is up to date and accurate?
That is part of the job of a Health Information Technician. We sat down with Amanda Carter, Centura College’s Health Information Technology Coordinator for the Chesapeake campus, to find out a little bit more about what it means to be a Health Information Technician:
What made you decide to become a Health Information Technician?
I decided to become a Health Information Technician after I worked in the medical field as a medical assistant for about two years. The job market was constantly changing, so I decided to branch out. It made sense for me to do it because the health care industry was growing larger. Gaining more experience opened up additional opportunities for me to advance my career and to educate people about the ever changing costs of health care.
What advice would you give those considering a career in Health Information Technology?
The advice that I would give those considering a career in Health Information Technology is that even though you don’t have a lot of ‘facetime’ with patients, you are truly making a positive difference in their lives. Health care costs and expenses can be one of the most stressful triggers for patients and their families. As a Health Information Technician you get the chance to help alleviate that stress.
What study aids did you use during your education?
It’s cliché, but my training reinforced that practice makes perfect. I constantly coded scenarios and corrected error reports just to try and trick myself. It helped me to be confident and also taught me to fix interesting and dynamic health care scenarios. It reassured me and gave me positive outlook for my career in the health care field.
What is your proudest moment as a Health Information Technician?
My proudest moment as a Health Information Technician was when I helped an elderly lady with her husband’s seemingly never-ending health care expenses. She was constantly confused and overwhelmed by her billing statements. I knew she needed help understanding them and I offered to explain them to her in a way that made sense. After I took the time to go over them with her, you could hear the excitement in her voice; she finally fully knew what was going on with her bills and was ecstatic. Just hearing her excitement over the phone gave me so much joy. As if that wasn’t enough, she even made it a point visit the office just to thank me in person with homemade chocolate chip cookies. It was the BEST DAY EVER!
By Shawnte’ Peterson, Massage Therapist Coordinator at Centura College’s Chesapeake Campus
Edited by Jul DeGeus & Esperanza Poquiz
A massage therapist’s work often involves lifting clients’ body parts, repetitive postures and forceful pressure that could lead to injury or ailments. To help prevent damage, massage therapists should remember to care for their body, as it is the main tool of their trade. Here at Centura College, we encourage our students and staff to care for themselves and listen to the advice we give clientele. This self-care means nurturing your body by fueling it with nutrients to keep it energized and carefully listening to our body when it establishes its limits.
The American Massage Therapy Association describes self-care as, “an indication that you recognize the importance of balance in your life. Placing a priority on self-care helps you center yourself and reduce stress.” Practicing self-care can extend the longevity of a massage therapist’s career. By learning techniques to keep hands and wrists healthy, a massage therapist benefits by working smarter and not harder through body awareness. Massage therapist can find tips, such as the ones listed below, useful in everyday life and at work as a means to avoid burning-out and injury:
Centura College Chesapeake Campus’ Massage Therapy students practicing yoga.
Stretching– A massage therapist should know better than anyone that “warming up” before putting your body through intense activity helps prevent strains. Massage therapists can develop the best stretch routine by consulting with their doctor.
Massages– Whether it’s a self-massage or a massage from a coworker, massage therapists should get them often, especially since therapist have a great understanding of massage benefits including stress relief, pain management and improving sleep cycles.
Proper Diet and Nutrition- Regardless of profession, everyone should have a diet tailored to the improvement or balance of their health. By visiting a dietitian or doctor, massage therapist can create a meal plan full of the nutrients they need.
Body Detoxes– Preforming a body detox can boost a healthy mindset. Massage therapists that detox can experience sharpened thoughts, improved breathing and a surge in energy.
Exercising– To preform optimally, massage therapists should exercise regularly. Exercising strengthens therapists’ body, from the hands to the core.
Yoga and Meditation- With similar positive body strengthening effects to exercising and stretching, yoga also includes the revitalizing element of meditation to put the mind in a positive state. Starting the day with a positive energy will allow for therapists to transmit this energy to the people they interact with.
Because massage therapist’s jobs are labor intensive, they need to move to keep their muscles and joints healthy. Keeping this in mind, massage therapist will have a long positive career, which will ensuring the happiness of their clientele and themselves.