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On a below-freezing night in Rexburg, dozens of students found solace in the contrasting warmth of smiles and laughter as they danced to One Direction’s “One Thing” with their special-needs friends.
Every BYU-Idaho student has the opportunity to spend time with these friends three times a week in different ways.
On Mondays, Student Activities hosts institute in the Gordon B. Hinckley Building in room 221 at 4:30 p.m.
“They come here and there are lessons, and they share their testimonies and talk about Christ,” said Megan Sanchez, a sophomore studying special education K-12. “That is something amazing because institute is just 30 minutes of the gospel with celestial beings because that’s what our friends are — they’re celestial.”
In Hinckley 271, students can create seasonal-themed arts and crafts with their friends on Wednesday evenings at 7 p.m.
In Hinckley 286, students teach their friends life skills that will benefit them now or in the future, such as communication and dancing skills on Thursday evenings at 7 p.m.
“I just always have a smile on my face when I’m here,” said Savannah Six, a sophomore studying sociology. “It’s just a lot of fun.”
Students are also encouraged to attend monthly events in addition to these weekly events.
The next monthly event is Feb. 7 from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Oscar A. Kirkham Building in room 202. The event is entitled “Romance in Rexburg.” It is a Valentine’s Day dance where there will be games, activities and dancing.
Why students should attend
Sanchez, Six and Carson Martinez, a junior studying public health, provided a list of ten opportunities provided to students who attend these events:
1. To have fun.
2. Think of others and make a difference in someone else’s life.
3. Opportunity for service hours.
4. Meet new people.
5. Feel a special spirit.
6. See others in a new light.
7. Become kinder to others.
8. Gain more understanding.
9. Relieve stress.
10. Experience joy.
“In simple terms, I would say it’s worth it,” Sanchez said. “It’s worth it to come out an hour on Wednesday or Thursday nights or a half hour on Monday nights because they can feel the love. Just your presence there shows that you love them and shows that they’re cared for.”
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Pictures by Sheridan Wilcock