3L student selected for prestigious Albert Schweitzer Fellowship
By: Kelsey Givens
For 3L Lauren Sabo, service has always been an important part of her life. Now, as a 2017 Schweitzer Fellow, she has the opportunity to further impact her community in a positive way.
Established in 1940, the Albert Schweitzer Fellowship aims to prepare “the next generation of professionals who will serve and empower vulnerable people to live healthier lives and create healthier communities.”
Fellows are asked to partner with community-based organizations to develop and implement year-long, mentored service projects that meet the health needs of underserved populations.
Sabo and her husband, Dan Crawford, an optometry student here at Ohio State, were granted a partnered fellowship based on their joint application. For their project, they plan to establish a respite camp for children with special needs and their families. The goal is not only to allow these kids to experience life as a Buckeye, but also to provide parents with access to much needed resources for the whole family.
“I was a special education teacher before coming to law school and I still tutor in the local community. These experiences have made me realize the amazing impact that a limited number of respite opportunities are having for children and their families; however, there are still too few to meet the need that exists and many times they can be cost, time, and location prohibitive,” Sabo explained.
As part of this respite opportunity at Ohio State, students will take part in a week full of fun and educational experiences that show them what being a Buckeye is all about, with activities at campus institutions ranging from the RPAC to the engineering department, and even an opportunity to meet Brutus himself. Sabo said they also plan to organize wellness exams for the children as well as their families during that time, including dental and vision screenings, to help keep the whole family happy and healthy.
“The main goal is to serve kids and to build something that lasts after we leave Ohio State,” Sabo said. “I think it’s great that we’re getting it rolling this year, but more importantly we want to create something that parents and families in Columbus and the greater Ohio community can depend on every year.”
Sabo said many of the skills she’s honed during her time in law school have helped her in finding support and planning for the project. From reaching out to potential donors and service organizations, to coordinating volunteers and resources, to networking and being able to pitch the project in a succinct, compelling manner, these skills have helped bring the project to life.
“I think it’s really connecting the dots for me,” Sabo said. “There are so many obstacles for kids with disabilities and their parents. If we can offer a fun, care-free experience that they might not otherwise have, even for just a couple of days, it’s all worth it.”
Through its network of chapters, the Schweitzer Fellowship annually serves more than 25,000 people nationwide through fellow-led community projects. To date, close to 3,000 U.S. Schweitzer Fellows have delivered nearly 600,000 hours of service to approximately 300,000 people in need. Around 250 Schweitzer Fellows are selected annually across 13 U.S. cities and the Albert Schweitzer Hospital.
For more information about how to get involved or to volunteer with the project, email Lauren Sabo at firstname.lastname@example.org.