By Colby Klein, CIP Berkshire Residential Staff
While vacationing with my parents in Sebastian, Florida, I thought it would be a great idea to pop in the nearby Brevard Center and pay a visit. My parents and I met with Admissions Coordinator, Stephanie Brown, who was nice enough to give us a tour of the facility and introduce us to various staff and students.
I learned that Brevard gets off winter break earlier than the Berkshire Center, so thinking students were on break I was surprised when I got to meet several Brevard Center students. I observed a student exercising with wellness coordinator Lance Haskins, and Lance told me about the opportunities students have to take surfing and martial arts lessons.
Some students were doing homework on the computer, while others were eating lunch and socializing with their peers and staff. I stopped in and met Head Student Advisor Sharona Sommer, while she was engaged in an advising session with a student. The Center was busy and staff gave us a warm welcome, as well the students. One student struck up a conversation with me and let me know he was a 3rd year student and asked about former Residential Coordinator (now Berkshire Center Residential Coordinator) Travis McArthur, as Travis was Coordinator for his first 6 months at CIP Brevard.
Stephanie took us around to the student apartments and showed us the beautifully landscaped and fenced in courtyard where students have their weekly Grill & Chill. The courtyard connects all the apartments through their back doors. What a great way to bring students together to socialize and interact!
Then, Student Ambassador Zach Smuckler came for a van ride to help Stephanie show us the houses for more independent students. Zach explained to us how it was a only a 5 to 10 minute walk to Brevard Community College, which is located across the street from CIP Brevard. He mentioned highlights of local entertainment and venues, such as the Maxwell C. King Center for the Performing Arts (also located across the street from the CIP Brevard), where famous comedians often perform, also the huge cinema center, local restaurants and more, all close by. Zach pointed out the Publix Super Market and Walmart Center where students go grocery shopping, noting how he likes to buy meats from the former and produce from the latter.
Next we saw the houses where generally upperclassmen live, and Zach gave us a very detailed rundown about what the houses were like inside, from the number of bedrooms, bathrooms, and how the kitchens are big and open, which makes it easier for cooking. One of the houses students were living in even had a pool! Not to mention the houses were beautiful and in a nice neighborhood. I especially liked that one live-in res staff lived in the area of the more independent student housing, and the other live-in staff resided in the apartment area residences. This means both are close to their own area to easily provide residential services to students.
I asked Zach what was on the menu for weekend activities and was impressed to hear that they were going to Disney World! I thought to myself, geez, these students have it made! Stephanie did a great job showing us around and Zach was excellent as a tour guide, and I can see why he was chosen as student ambassador. After the tour, Zach was off to prepare for the student senate meeting as he is student president. I encourage anyone who comes to the Melbourne area to check out the Brevard Center. The staff there were very pleasant and it was so great to meet such enthusiastic students.