Happy to help

How a senior’s experiences in helping others helped her


Photo by Photo by Victoria Agrella

Isabelle Ostrowski, senior, shoots a smile towards the camera. Ostrowski is part of many volunteer programs dedicated to helping children with special needs achieve their best.

Victoria Agrella, Bear Facts Contributor

She is a FAME leader, SNAP member, an integrated PE leader, and is involved in Buddy Project. For her, helping others is something that seems to come naturally.

As her last year at Lake Zurich draws to a close, Isabella Ostrowski, senior, says volunteering for special needs programs throughout her high school career has shaped her identity and her future.

“Being able to interact with those kids [in SNAP, integrated PE, and Buddy Project] has shaped who I am and has given me an output of what I want to do with my life. I’m going into speech pathology at University of Alabama,” said Ostrowski with a smile. “I have realized a lot of students at our school have speech pathologists, [and] I thought being able to do that every day is really what I want to do in life.”

Ostrowski was enraptured with the special needs program. So much so that she wanted to pursue a path of aid as her career.

“I heard a lot about [SNAP] going into freshman year and how big of an organization and club it is. I know a lot of people got involved in the Special Olympics, and I heard a lot about that before even coming to the high school, so that’s how I got started,” Ostrowski said.

SNAP, or the Special Needs Athletic Program, helps children with conditions that may limit a regular Physical Education experience.

“It’s really rewarding, and just for the kids, being able to hang out with students here at this school makes their day,” Ostrowski said about the kids involved in SNAP.

The bonds between the leaders and the students remain unshakeable despite Ostrowski graduating, according to Ostrowski.

“[I’ll miss] the bonds I’ve formed with these kids. I’ll definitely come and visit our integrated PE class, because we’re a pretty small class and we’ve gotten really close to each other,” Ostrowski said. “[The kids] always bring a light to the world, and they’re so important. I’ll miss that.”