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Service learning project unites Special Education students, others

by Sharita Forrest / Mar 27, 2013

Ben's Bells, a service learning project in the Department of Special Education, was recently featured in postmarks, a publication for parents and friends at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, published by the UI News Bureau.

MARCH 2013, UI NEWS BUREAU, CHAMPAIGN, Ill., Sharita Forrest—When the trees blossom on campus and nearby this spring, they will be sprouting some particularly vibrant and musical buds.

If curiosity gets the better of the passersby, and they pause to read the card attached to the brightly colored ceramic hearts or hands, they’ll find that the chimes, called Ben’s Bells, are part of a nationwide grassroots movement for spreading kindness. The bells are gifts for whomever happens upon them, but they come with strings attached: Those who pluck the bells from their perches and take them home are volunteering to spread kindness wherever they go.

The Ben’s Bells tickling the ears in Central Illinois have another purpose – promoting inclusive educational experiences for high school students with disabilities, their peers and preservice teachers from the U. of I.’s College of Education.

Michelle Bonati, a doctoral student in Special Education, coordinates the Ben’s Bells project in Champaign. At the U. of I., the project is the focus of a course called High School Service Learning that Bonati co-teaches with Stacy Dymond, a faculty member in the department.

Read related College News story about Ben's Bells…

See WCIA coverage of Ben's Bells…