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Personal Interactions Inspire Service


By Jessica Sivillo `16

Making a Difference

Making a difference can start with the smallest actions. I began volunteering at the Mentor Civic Center when I was 10 years old. I participated in teaching special needs children and adults to ice skate. This program proved to be a life-changing experience for me.

I became passionate about service through my experience with a skater named Gabby. She was quiet and clearly dedicated to ice-skating. Building Gabby’s hope was difficult, because she would not skate alone. After working with Gabby for a month, she was finally able to skate without holding my hand. It warmed my heart to see her progress.

As I continued skating at the Civic Center, I wanted to start a program for special needs children and adults at Gilmour. As my senior year approached, I wanted to make a difference in my community. While I began planning for Gilmour’s skating events, I remembered how important it is to get to know the individuals on a personal level. As Gabby and I spent more time together, she showed me that I was her best buddy.

Bring a Buddy

After collaborating with “Learn to Skate” Program Director, Alease Cameratta, Gilmour now offers the “Bring a Buddy” event. Inspired by my interaction with Gabby, Gilmour designates time every month to help special needs people on the ice. When asked about the program, Cameratta said,

Once people understand how rewarding this is, they will want to come back and volunteer again.

special skate- jpeg 3Two students that are involved in “Bring a Buddy” recognize the impact of the program. Juliana Lanese (`16) said, “This skating event allows students to embrace the GA mission and live it.” Erika Lawrence (`16) said, “Being involved in something like this is important. Students can grasp a new aspect of the world.” Through their dedication, these students have made a difference.

How can you start powerful movements? Find something that connects with you. Each person has the ability to do something meaningful. For additional information, please contact Alease Cameratta at figureskating.org. We look forward to hearing from you.