A collaboration between the University of West Georgia and West Georgia Technical College has allowed UWG’s Comprehensive Community Clinic to expand services with a speech clinic on WGTC’s Thomas B. Murphy Campus in Waco.
Every day, students and instructors at UWG’s Comprehensive Community Clinic know they will have an opportunity to help a local child. However, sometimes, basic logistics can get in the way of a child’s progress. Logistics like transportation.
“Some of our children come all the way from Haralson County,” said CCC Director Dr. Laura Smith, “and sometimes their parents don’t have a way to get them here. So we wanted to find a way to remedy that.”
Since 2014, the CCC has been providing services at the University of West Georgia’s Carrollton campus. However, Smith felt it was time to expand and contacted G.W. Rogers, the Executive Director of Campus Operations at West Georgia Technical College’s Murphy Campus. Rogers was enthusiastic about a partnership to provide space.
“We really wanted to find a way to provide services to children in Haralson County who needed help but didn’t have available transportation to Carrollton,” Rogers said.
Smith and Rogers saw their idea take shape, and both were in attendance, along with other members of the project, at a recent ribbon cutting ceremony to officially announce the opening of the clinic at WGTC’s Murphy Campus in Haralson County.
“This strategic partnership is mutually beneficial as the UWG COE Speech-Language graduate students are gaining authentic, professional experience working with young clients who are at-risk,” Smith said. “The WGTC campus benefits by providing degree program information and additional services to the families of the clients, and the Haralson County community benefits by receiving local, affordable, high-quality speech and language services. It is certainly a win-win for all!”
The Murphy Campus Speech Clinic opened in May 2015 and began helping clients under the age of three with speech and language development. Meanwhile, UWG students have a chance to bear witness to the rewards of their work with these children and see its positive effects first hand.
“It is amazing the progress we have seen in the children served at the Murphy Speech Clinic,” said Murphy Clinic Speech Language Pathologist Supervisor Brittany Janowski. “You never know when the breakthrough will happen, but we keep working towards it until one day we see the first smile or hear the first sound, and we all want to jump with joy!”
Students also get the opportunity to problem solve and put the variety of techniques they learn in the classroom into practice.
“Each child requires different techniques and strategies during therapy to reach goals ranging from speech and language to feeding,” Janowski said, “but the common denominator is that each child deserves the best opportunity available. And that's what we're giving them — an opportunity to improve and better connect with the world.”
All parties involved in the collaboration – UWG, WGTC, and the West Georgia Community Foundation – agree the clinic has been a resounding success.
“We are very excited to officially unveil our partnership to provide a home for UWG’s speech clinic in Haralson County,” WGTC President Steve G. Daniel said. “Our two institutions have a great relationship, which ultimately benefits all of our West Georgia communities. We look forward to continuing these efforts that benefit our region.”
Funding for the clinic was awarded through the Alice Huffard Richards Charitable Foundation to support an onsite and speech language pathology supervisor. Additionally, the UWG Foundation receives continued funding from the AHR Charitable Foundation for 2016 to support the speech language pathologist supervisor position for one additional year. The clinic is currently open on Monday through Thursday each week. For more information, call the CCC at 678-839-6145.
Cutline: UWG President Dr. Kyle Marrero, WGTC President Steve G. Daniel, CCC Director Dr. Laura Smith and WGTC Executive Director for Campus Operations G.W. Rogers were joined by clinic staff, Haralson County and Carroll County Chambers of Commerce staff and community members at a ribbon cutting to officially open UWG’s speech clinic at the WGTC Murphy Campus in Waco.