Humans of the Commons: Leah Schwartz-Dodek

Leah Schwartz-Dodek (2020) Majors: Special Education and Spanish, Hometown: Glenview, Illinois

“When I was 14 years old I started volunteering at Camp SOAR. Camp SOAR is an average overnight camp with arts and crafts, swimming, games, snacks and basically all other camp-like activities. The only difference is at Camp SOAR each counselor is paired up with one camper who has a moderate to severe disability. My first camper’s name was Quincy, and saying she changed my life would be a huge understatement. For the week I spent every hour of every day listening to Quincy sing Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream” or watching her figure out new crafts she could make. Quincy wasn’t a camper to me, she was a friend. I’ve been a counselor at Camp SOAR every summer and don’t plan on stopping any time in the near future. I still talk to Quincy about what’s happening in her life and how high school is going. This upcoming summer is the year she graduates camp. Starting Camp SOAR altered my life in a huge way. I’m now a Special Education major and plan on teaching in my own classroom. I owe almost all of that to Quincy.”

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