In San Juan Capistrano, California, there is a summer camp for disabled children that pairs each camper with a counselor who attends to their needs, a one-to-one ratio that makes it possible to give them a day at the beach, trips to amusement parks, outings on horseback, and other treats many wouldn’t otherwise experience.
The counselors are mostly teenagers, many of them fulfilling the “service hours” required at nearby parochial high schools. Like most 15-, 16-, and 17-year-olds, they aren't particularly reflective about how lucky they were to be born without cystic fibrosis, or muscular dystrophy, or autism. But they almost always become great friends to the kids with whom they're paired. They give love and encouragement. They are diligent about seeing to the safety and medical needs of their camper. They are protective, and when they return to their high schools, they tend to instinctively object if they hear anyone dehumanize people who are disabled.
In short, they are fantastic allies to a group that needs them.
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At Scripps College in Claremont, California, a publication called The Unofficial Scripps College Survival Guide is made available to all students. The most recent edition was edited by two students from the class of 2017 whose names I am withholding. They expended great effort to create a resource for their peers that runs to 217 pages. I read through the book as part of my ongoing inquiry into the culture and beliefs of today’s college students. I stopped short at a page titled, “How to Be an Ally.”