Posted on Thursday, May 21, 2009
From elementary school to doctoral programs, students overcome learning disabilities to succeed in the classroom. For a year and a half, students at Hobart and William Smith Colleges with learning disabilities and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) have used their personal and academic experience to mentor several similarly afflicted students at Geneva Middle School through Project Eye-to-Eye.
This summer, HWS will bring Camp Vision to the Geneva schools from July 6 through 10. Camp Vision works to improve the self esteem of students ages 10 to 14 through a mentoring relationship with counselors who also have learning disabilities. Further, art empowerment and independent learning projects help campers gain self esteem and self advocacy skills that are imperative to success both in and outside of the classroom.
"We have received phenomenal response to Project Eye-to-Eye at HWS and in Geneva," says Marcus Soutra, founder and coordinator of Camp Vision. "Educators and community members have expressed response and need at Geneva Middle School, and the program has succeeded in delivering help to students with learning abilities."
In his experience with Project Eye-to-Eye, Soutra found that between May and September, when students weren't with their mentors, the opportunity to facilitate the learning processes of students with learning disabilities disappeared. By having a summer program like Camp Vision, the idea of school becomes something that is perceived as both continuous and fun.
"Only two percent of high school students end up going to college," says Soutra. "Considering 10 percent of that student body has learning disabilities, there is a need to stop, and focus on and explore how these students think and learn. It is important to develop self esteem in students that learn differently so that they may identify what they are good at and what they need to use."
With each HWS student mentoring three Geneva Middle School students, Camp Vision facilitates art projects and capstone independent learning projects. To cover costs, each Geneva student is asked to pay $225 in tuition and the staff is now working to raise funds for scholarship money to offset these costs. To assist in raising money for scholarship funds, visit: http://www.campvisionsummer.com/