“Your sons and daughters have traveled down a path this week,” said Alexandra Connell ’10, addressing the parents of Camp Vision’s attendees during the organization’s graduation ceremony.
Camp Vision is a week long summer camp run through Project Eye to Eye, a national organization which seeks to empower students with learning disabilities through the power of mentorship. Started by Connell and Shena Vagliano ’09 four years ago, the HWS chapter of Project Eye to Eye hopes to foster a working relationship between college students with learning disabilities and Geneva middle and high school students with learning disabilities.
Hobart and William Smith Colleges are one of only three sites that hosts Camp Vision, which seeks to help students aged 10-14 who have language based learning disabilities and ADHD embrace their strengths in order to empower them in the classroom. The camp focuses on individual growth through artwork, sports, team building activities, academic work and relationships with counselors – trained mentors from local colleges who have been diagnosed with learning disabilities.
In a week jam-packed with activities, campers took a campus tour, learned about assistive technology with Assistant Professor of Education Mary Kelly, wrote “I am” poem books and learned about utilizing self advocacy in their education. After taking a tour of the Center for Teaching and Learning, campers created an ideal classroom that would improve focus and depth of learning. The week wrapped up with campers creating short and long-term goals for their education.
“A lot of people opened their hearts and donated their time – for that we are eternally grateful,” remarked Vagliano, thanking those who helped establish Project Eye to Eye on the HWS campus and those who assisted the camp throughout the week.
“The growth we’ve seen is just incredible,” said Connell shortly before all 16 campers tossed their graduation caps into the air to a thunderous round of applause. “I can’t wait to see what they’re going to come up with during the school year, because that’s when the real growth occurs.”
Connell graduated with a B.A. in psychology. She played for the William Smith varsity tennis team.
Vagliano received her B.A. in international relations.
For more information about Project Eye to Eye, visit their website at http://www.projecteyetoeye.org.