Children with developmental disabilities and severe medical issues who visit Casey’s Place for overnight, weekend or after school care can imagine themselves all grown up with a career, thanks to students in Cazenovia College’s Interior Design Club. For two weeks, the students have spent their spare time planning and painting a mural that helps children imagine the future.
Students who participated in the work are Ashley Bancroft, of Fort Ann, N.Y.; Cheryl L. Chapman, of Baldwinsville, N.Y.; Ashley M. Dyer, of Amsterdam, N.Y.; Janelle L. Farruggia, of Rochester, N.Y.; Erica L. Group; of Chittenango, N.Y.; Kaitlyn E. Hughes, of New Hartford, N.Y.; Kristen R. Nicolais, of Mahopac, N.Y.; Megan E. Sitarek, of Darien Center, N.Y.; Courtney M. Thomas, of Apalachin, N.Y.; Morgan D. Vineall, of Munnsville, N.Y.; and Rebecca C. Williams, of Corning, N.Y.
Rebecca Williams had the inspiration for the mural, titled “What will I be.” She designed it so children could place photos of their faces on characters in the mural. Erica Group and Megan Sitarek did the base drawing and oversaw the painting, assisted by the rest of the club members.
Maggie Judge, visiting instructor of interior design, says, “Casey's Place was started by my friends and neighbors, Bob and Sue Crichton, whose daughter, Casey, was born with brain damage and died years later. Sue has been a guest speaker in our Universal Design class for the past several years, sharing her personal experience of retrofitting their home for a child with special needs, and subsequently, the space planning needs and building of Casey's Place.”
Judge says the mural project grew out of the club’s desire to do some kind of community service project using their talents. “When we talked with Diane Nappa, director of Casey’s Place, to find out how we might fill a need for them using the talents of our interior design students, she asked if we could fill up some empty wall space. The idea of an interactive mural was ideal for them.”
Casey's Place provides short-term, out of home respite services for children with developmental disabilities and children with severe medical issues who qualify for services through the New York State Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities. In addition to the overnight respite services, Casey's Place provides after school care and school vacation programming.