For over four decades, The Campus School at Boston College, located within the Lynch School of Education’s Campion Hall, has served to educate children ages 3-21 with low incidence diagnoses such as Pitt Hopkins, Rett Syndrome, CDLK5, Mitochondrial Disease, Angelman Syndrome, Hirschsprung’s Disease, Vacterl Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome, Autism Spectrum Disorder, and global developmental delays.
What makes The Campus School so unique is that it encourages special education via personalized approaches to learning. Alongside teachers, therapists and nursing staff work within the school, fostering a supporting and inclusive environment for students and their families.
Because The Campus School is affiliated with Boston College and located on its campus, undergraduate students have the opportunity to volunteer by fundraising or acting as a buddy to children within The Campus School. While the undergraduate volunteers no doubt have a huge impact on The Campus School students, these students arguably have an even greater impact on their buddy volunteers.
Abby Dirlam, CSOM ’18, co-president of The Campus School volunteers, shared about her time working as a volunteer: “The Campus School has become a second home to me over the years and has undoubtedly been my most transformative experience at BC. The school is such a welcoming environment and celebrates the unique abilities of all individuals. My time at The Campus School has taught me so much about the power of love and the importance of human dignity.”
Maggie Droney, MCAS ’22, who also volunteers with The Campus School, shared: “Working with The Campus School so far has inspired me to want to go into a field of advocacy work for children with disabilities. All of the kids are so amazing, and I always leave there feeling so much love.”
This Saturday, April 13, the second annual Campus School 5k will take place around the Chestnut Hill Reservoir and across the Boston College campus. With a $10 registration fee as well as donations from families, the 5k is a great way for The Campus School to fundraise. Additionally, the run not only increases awareness for the school, but also serves as a means to unite The Campus School and Boston College.
Dirlam highlighted the event’s importance: “The 5k is a great way to not only raise money for The Campus School, but also to further integrate The Campus School into the Boston College community. We have Campus School students, families, and staff running alongside BC students. Every year, hundreds of BC students volunteer at the school and form meaningful relationships with each Campus School student. By putting on campus-wide events such as this 5k, we hope to further foster this relationship between The Campus School and the students of Boston College.”
Last year, the event had over 200 different runners. The Campus School is expected to have an even greater turnout of about 300 to 400 runners this year.
“Our hope is that we can continue to grow this event and make it a large event on BC’s campus every spring,” Dirlam noted. Based on feedback received by the committees, they are changing the 5k’s route to start at the end of Linden Lane and end in O’Neill Plaza.
Caitlin Norton, LSOE ’20, head of the volunteer committee organizing the 5k, also chimed in, discussing her role as committee head and what the event this year will entail.
“It’s been really fun getting to take some of the lead in organizing this year’s 5k," Norton explained. "Our preparation has consisted of a lot of publicizing the event through the BC Facebook groups and handing out quarter sheets on the quad. We also got a lot more prize donations this year after finding out that one of our committee members has an insane talent for scoping out organizations that are happy to donate to the cause. We have gift cards and vouchers to places like Milk Bar, Pure Barre, Equinox, Playa Bowls, and more for our top runners.”
She also revealed other impressive additions to the run this year. These include Bill Rodgers, a famous marathon runner who will be going to the 5k and has donated books for prizes to be awarded to the top runners, as well as a close partnership with Marathon Sports that has elevated the 5k even further from last year.
This year, the run is officially called the Second Annual Campus School Run N' Roll 5k, adding the Run N' Roll to encourage everyone, not just runners, to take part in the event. The Campus School students will also be running with friends and family. The 5k officially starts at 10 a.m. this Saturday, with check-in beginning around 9 a.m.
Registration for the event will be open until Saturday, so make sure to sign up or make a donation to support The Campus School and its families!