The Daemen College Eye to Eye Chapter, an arts-based mentor group, has been named the national winner in the Strike Out Stigmonth competition, an effort to help raise awareness about learning disabilities and ADHD.
The chapter’s first place standing in the country positions it ahead of other top finishers from larger institutions, including Gonzaga University, second place, and the University of California, Davis, third place.
To win the national competition, Daemen earned points by completing a range of activities designed to promote a greater understanding of learning differences. Among the many activities were a display of Eye to Eye art projects, creation of awareness building posters and chapter t-shirts, an art room selfie, and a panel discussion with chapter members.
Eye to Eye is a mentoring program that pairs college and high school students with learning disabilities or ADHD with local schoolchildren with similar disabilities. The Daemen Eye to Eye Chapter works throughout the school year with Cleveland Hill Middle School students on art projects designed to embrace their learning differences.
“We are thrilled to have our chapter be the national winner in this awareness building competition for learning disabilities and ADHD,” said Matthew Stewart, Daemen Eye to Eye Chapter leader and a social work major. “It is extremely rewarding to work with local young students in the art room and to see the progress they make in building their confidence and skills.”
According to the national Eye to Eye organization, “We use visual art as the ultimate form of self-expression and empowerment. With the help of their mentors, students discover how to value their strengths, set their own expectations, and aim high. Over time, they learn how to take their newfound skills and confidence back to the classroom.”
In addition to a network of youth mentoring programs, Eye to Eye focuses on awareness activities and advocacy efforts. The organization’s goal is to strengthen essential social-emotional skills, including self-esteem, self-advocacy, and community building.