Theater Students Form New Friendships

They're building a bridge of understanding to prepare for an upcoming play.

Theater students from Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College are working on a comedy called "The Boys Next Door". The play focuses on the lives of four men with mental disabilities.

The students are getting ready for the play by forming some very special friendships.

The students spent the day on the job with the dedicated workers of River Oaks Industries. The employment site is part of the South Mississippi Regional Center.

Busy workers showed their college visitors what it takes to assemble pizza boxes.

"I'm doing a good job doing pizza boxes, making money for the pizza contract. It's fun doing a job. I like all these people who've helped me out here today," said employee, Mitch Roberts.

Ruthie Winters taught Brandon Battle what it takes to attach coupons to the boxes. She did most of the work, while Brandon learned something about appreciating differences and loving your job.

"They're working. We work. We might not do the same thing, but they're working. And they seem like they enjoy it. They enjoy it better than some of us who work enjoy work."

The college visitors initially came here to do research. They'll leave this place with a better understanding about what makes individuals unique.

"It helps me know more about myself for one thing. And I get to see different people in a whole new light. It's just a great experience to take away from here," said college student, Keith Frost.

The River Oaks workers made their new college friends feel right at home. They enjoyed the opportunity to share their work and feelings with others.

"I really like my job and I've made a lot of friends here from the college," said River Oaks employee, Kari Ziifle.

Those newfound friendships just may be the most important product of all.