Doing something BEYOND extraordinary

By Starlene Soler
March 12, 2012

Three college freshmen are taking the phrase “Do Something Extraordinary” to a whole new level.

Freshman Allison D’Angelo, psychology and social work major, Maura Lemke, undeclared, and John McMannus, a psychology, criminology and sociology major, made the decision to do something that goes beyond what they usually do here at the college.

McMannus saw a flyer hanging up in Jazzmans that caught his attention. The flyer was about a man who had a brain injury when he was a young boy. Now, at the age of 23, he was looking for someone to talk to. McMannus showed the flyer to Lemke and D’Angelo and the three decided it was something they wanted to do.

The students later found out that the person who put up the flyer is a grad student at the college. McMannus then called the phone number on the flyer and made plans to meet the young man.

Sam Snyder had a brain injury at the age of 10. His brother asked him if he would like to go fishing and although Sam said no, he decided he wanted to go after his brother had already left. Snyder got onto his bike to go meet his brother and was hit by a car, resulting in a brain injury that left him in a short coma.

The flyer that was hanging up in Jazzmans said that Snyder’s family was trying to find people to spend time with him, because he was suffering from depression and needed to work on his social skills.

The flyer also said that it was more like a job, because it was a paid position. The three students however, chose not to accept the reward.

They met Snyder’s parents first, because Snyder’s mom wanted to make sure that they were were committed to spending time with him. D’Angelo, McMannus and Lemke then met Snyder’s brother and then Snyder.

D’Angelo, Lemke and McMannus went to see Snyder twice and he had the experience of coming to campus as well. Snyder experienced Cabrini’s Battle of the Chefs event in Cav’s Corner and got to play basketball at the Dixon Center. “He’s really good at basketball.” McMannus said. “He made all three pointers,” D’Angelo said. “He also likes rock- climbing.”

“He did a lot of traveling for programs and to try to find a good doctor, so when he got back here he lost most of his friends because he really wasn’t around,” Lemke said. “He’s really funny, he likes to make jokes.”

Snyder is now finishing getting his GED, works for his church, at a gym and helps fans to their seats during Eagles games. He also works with his dad, who is a dentist. Although Snyder knows he has to work hard, his mom and his doctor help him keep a schedule to make sure he has time for fun, too. During his free time, Snyder likes to watch television crime shows.

D’Angelo, Lemke and McMannus said they chose not to accept the reward before they even met Snyder and his family. The three students agreed that the time spent with Snyder was enjoyable and didn’t feel like a job. “We just went to hang out with him,” Snyder said.

They plan to keep in touch with McMannus as the semester goes on and although the flyer described it as a paid position, the three students still chose not to take the money. “He’s real sweet, his heart’s in the right place,” D’Angelo said.

Starlene Soler

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