We found a heart warming story about former Foothill High School Knight Cameron Stone (2013) while surfing the web. Stone has taken his talents to national junior college power Community College of Baltimore County – Essex where he is making a difference on and off the field.
According to the CCBC-Essex lacrosse team website, Stone and his teammates volunteered their Saturday mornings at the Children’s Developmental Class (CDC) for special needs children, located on the Essex campus. Stone brought the same enthusiasm to his volunteer work that he brings to finding the back of the net with his big rip. While his teammates generously donated an average of 5 hours per player, Stone led the way with 13 volunteer hours in between his studies and lacrosse practice.
The CDC program is designed to pair children that have special needs with student mentors to encourage “personal interactions in a non-threatening way,” in order to improve emotional engagement, self-esteem, social and communication skills, and more.mmThe CDC also offers informal education and discussion opportunities for parents, with guest speakers that go over topics like nutrition, diets, medical challenges, and community programs.Stone was paired with Matthew, a 5-year old with Down’s Syndrome. Cameron Stone, 18, who said Matthew was not much different from any other child his age. “It was difficult the first day, because there were so many things he was intrigued with,” said Stone, who donated more than 13 hours to the CDC. “But then I started picking up on some of the small things. He likes to climb things, so he would climb up the volleyball ladders a small distance, jump and I’d have to catch him. We connected over playing with Thomas the Tank, and I got to relive some of my childhood through that. He also had the same energy that I did when I was a kid, so it made it quite easy, and gave me a workout, that’s for sure.”
And the pair’s enthusiasm did not go unnoticed. “He was a wild man with [Matthew],” Marcia Hill, administrative assistant for the CDC, said. “Here’s this big guy [Cameron Stone] with this little five-year-old. Cameron talked with him, played with him and was so engaging.” As the seasons began to change and 2013 drew to an end, the children were not the only ones benefiting from the experience. There was much more gained from the cumulated Saturdays. “We do it to help their kids out,” head coach Shawn Burke said. “But I joke that I’m not sure who it helps more, their kids or our kids. It’s a great learning experience for our guys as well.”
Stone agreed with his coach’s statement and summed up the experience in his own way. “I felt like Matthew was a part of me,” Stone said. “It made me see what parenthood would be like, and that for me was a big wakeup call. It’s a big step. It prepared me for a lot of things.”
The CCBC-Essex Knights open their season on March 1 with a home game against Northhampton Community College.