by Stefanie Shapiro
Participant, Urban Mitzvah Corps 2012
Upon entering UMC, I didn’t know what to expect when it came to the jobsites. Would the work be hard? Would my coworkers be nice? All those kinds of things that one would question before starting a new job. However, when I got to my first worksite, all my fears vanished. For the first three weeks of the summer I worked at Daisy, a summer camp for children and adults with
disabilities, and it was one of the most incredible experiences of my life! I mainly worked with the youngest campers, ages 8-13,
but I went wherever they needed me to staff. Some of the kids in my group were very high functioning, but a lot of the time I worked with the less functioning kids, which could be a challenge. But I like challenges, and I had fun at the same time.
A typical day at Daisy included art, dance, swimming, playing with the X-box Kinnect, all the typical things that kids without disabilities would do, too. The goal at Daisy was to help these people who are differently-abled have a fun camp experience, and I think we were successful. I bonded so much with these kids that I actually cried when I left on the last day!
These kids changed my life for the better. This job taught me patience and understanding, and it gave me a glimpse into the life of a counselor. I learned that I want more. The people at Daisy, staff and campers alike, were all so kind and unbelievable. You know the quote, “If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your
life?” Well so far this summer, I haven’t been working. I fell in love with Daisy literally from day 1.
Even though I was sad to leave my Daisy campers, I got a whole new set of eight year old girls at my new jobsite Play S.A.F.E., a camp for underprivileged children in New Brunswick. The work is different, and in some ways even more challenging than Daisy, but I already love my girls. Each day at Play S.A.F.E., I think back to my time at Daisy and how I always came home with a smile.