Lake Zurich High School Student Media

Bear Facts

A special kind of employment

Brianne Saab, secretary

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photo used with permission of Sydney Shadrick

“Student employment” evokes images of sixteen-year-olds waiting tables or working retail. But for some LZ students, the job is to give back to the community.

Sydney Shadrick, senior, and Dani Vezensky, junior, are two students who work at Special Recreation Association (SRA) of Central Lake County (SRA), an organization to help people with disabilities get involved in the community. Shadrick said she has been volunteering to help with these SRA programs since eighth grade and working since freshman year.

“In eighth grade I was really into musicals, and I auditioned for a show and I didn’t get a big role, so I had all this extra free time and I thought, ‘Ok, let’s find something else to do with my life.’ I talked to my mom and one of her friends’ daughters worked with SRA and recommended that I work there, and I just found my calling through them,” Shadrick said. “I want to be a special ed teacher. I ended up getting involved in SNAP, the buddy project, and being an integrated PE leader through learning about and working with people with special needs. It’s a really fun thing to do, and I’m really excited to go to school for Special Ed.”

While Shadrick wants to make a career of working with people with disabilities, Vezensky intends to pursue criminal anthropology but still enjoys this job much more than something like working retail.

“I’d rather have a job that’s fun and doing something that I want to do. It’s so much better to be surrounded by caring people that you really like,” Vezensky said. “Every time you work, it’s a new experience and something different that’s really fun. You’re never going to have a bad day because everybody is always in such a positive, happy mood. That’s so much better than just doing the same thing over and over again.”

SRA holds a variety of activities throughout the year for people to participate in.

“It can range from weekly things like swim lessons, bowling lessons, and training for the special olympics, to once a year programs like an overnight trip to the Dells,” Shadrick said. “We once toured a Root Beer factory, or we make scarecrows around Halloween.”

There’s not only variety among activities, but also a variety of different people. According to Shadrick, SRA provides services for everyone from young children to elderly adults.

“I really like being able to interact with all the different participants,” Vezensky said. “I like knowing I’m doing something beneficial to them and letting them having a good time really lets me feel good about myself. Seeing other people happy is really the best reward.”

Shadrick encourages others to find similar reward by also volunteering with people with disabilities.

“I’d encourage people to get involved with activities such as SNAP and the Buddy Project, or to work with SRA,” Shadrick said. “These kids love everybody and really want people to get involved with  them.”

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A special kind of employment