University of Alabama’s RISE Center breaks ground on addition

University of Alabama’s RISE Center breaks ground on addition
Dr. Stuart Usdan, Andi Gillen, Dana Garmany and Gene Stallings break ground on the sensory suite at the University of Alabama's RISE Center. (University of Alabama)

The University of Alabama’s RISE Center recently hosted a groundbreaking ceremony for an addition that will house a state-of-the-art sensory suite.

The suite will include an infant classroom, a multipurpose therapy room and a sensory room. The use of a multi-sensory environment in therapeutic and educational settings allows children to benefit from adequate stimulation to excite the brain, improve the organization of the brain and increase functional activity.

“We’re excited to see the RISE Center evolve and meet the needs of children in our community,” said Andi Gillen, the center’s director. “We will be able to serve more children with the addition of a new classroom, provide state-of-the-art therapy in the new sensory room and be creative with additional therapy options in the multipurpose therapy room.

The RISE Center prepares children to succeed, but it places their happiness first, said Cathleen Hines, whose twin daughters, Sally Cate and Anne Rogers Hines, graduated from the program in 2017. (Jeffrey Bryant Hanson/University of Alabama Office of Media Relations)

“The latest research in early intervention, child development and early childhood special education is guiding our decisions about what the children in our community need to reach their maximum potential.”

The new wing is made possible by the generosity of a College of Human Environmental Sciences graduate, Dana Garmany. The Garmany family has developed an appreciation for RISE’s inclusive early childhood special education program. Garmany and his wife, Amanda, have a special needs grandson, Mason Ray Garmany, for whom this addition is to be named, pending approval of the Board of Trustees.

“The more I learned about RISE, the more I wanted to be involved,” said Garmany, who serves as executive chairman of Troon. “Having a special needs grandson made the donation even more rewarding.”

The event was held under the portico of the Stallings Center at 600 Johnny Stallings Drive, which is the home of RISE. Those in attendance included members of the Garmany family; Gene and Ruth Ann Stallings; Dr. Stuart Usdan, dean of UA’s College of Human Environmental Sciences; and special guests who have supported the RISE Center.

The RISE Center, part of UA’s College of Human Environmental Sciences, is a nationally recognized program that provides an early childhood education that enriches the lives of infants and preschoolers with and without special needs. RISE is also dedicated to excellence in service, research and teaching. The program not only benefits families in the community but also serves as a practicum and internship site for students from UA and other higher education institutions.

This story originally appeared on the University of Alabama’s website.

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