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WCU's Quality of Life Program Travels to Graceland, Civil Rights Museum

Hattiesburg, Miss., March 5, 2014 - The William Carey University Quality of Life (QOL) Project is a program that pairs students with adults with intellectual developmental disabilities to engage in activities designed to enrich their lives. Recently, the group made a trip to Memphis to visit the National Civil Rights Museum and tour Graceland. The program is funded through The Greater PineBelt Community Foundation’s Ann Morris Memorial Fund, which was set up by John Morris to honor the life of John’s late daughter, Ann, who was mentally disabled.
 
Dr. Paul Cotten, professor of music therapy and psychology, created the QOL Project in 2009, and each trimester his psychology students take their client, out to eat, to the movies, to Carey Dinner Theatre and other various community events. Once a year, the group takes an out-of-town trip, such as to the aquarium in New Orleans, La. The Memphis trip was QOL’s first overnight outing.
 
“The experience continues to be a wonderful opportunity for the clients, as well as for the Carey students,” Dr. Cotten said. “They are able to apply what has been learned in class by getting to know their client through varied experiences while improving the quality of life for the client.”
 
The trip was made possible thanks to a recent grant from The Greater Pine Belt Foundation.
 
“Without the financial support we receive, such opportunities would not be possible,” Dr. Cotten said. “We are good stewards of the funds given to us, and do our best to maximize opportunities for our clients and students. One of the best parts about the program is that it not only provides new experiences and opportunities for the clients, but for many of the students, as well.”

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Pictured are Quality of Life Project clients and students at the gates of Graceland in Memphis, Tenn. Quality of Life is a program that pairs students with adults with intellectual developmental disabilities to engage in activities designed to enrich their lives.