Shadow Volunteer Relates to Children with Learning Challenges

Shadow Volunteer Relates to Children with Learning Challenges
Arielle Schnitzer offers tips to Marysville School middler schoolers to help them overcome learning challenges in the classroom.
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Arielle Schnitzer

Arielle Schnitzer remembers being placed in the slow reading group at school and receiving very low scores on tests that she didn’t have time to finish because it took so long to read the questions.

“I struggled a lot,” said the 17-year-old senior, who was recently accepted to college in California, and plans to study business. “Teachers called me lazy and said I was on a bad track. But, I was trying really hard! I just figured school wasn’t my thing.”

But when Arielle was diagnosed with dyslexia and ADHD at the end of her eighth grade year, everything turned around.

“I really enjoy school now,” she said. “I didn’t give up and kept trying. I’ve gotten all A’s for the past two years, and all A’s and B’s since I was diagnosed.”

Arielle is taking her story on the road this month on behalf of The Shadow Project, where she has volunteered for the past four years.

“I tell kids that it will get better and be worth it in the end,” she said. “Having a learning disability doesn’t mean that we’re stupid, it just means that we do things differently from other people. I know, because once I got what I needed, school was a lot better for me.

“I really want to help young people who are going through the same school struggles that I did.”

On behalf of the Shadow Project during May, Arielle is working in various Portland-area classrooms, helping the children with literacy and art activities, as well as Shadow events and fundraising. She will be keeping a journal of her experiences and take photographs for her senior Capstone project.

“It still takes me a while to read,” said Arielle. “But I love English now. It’s so important not to give up.”



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