Must Love Dogs
Lauren Wackowski ‘17, G’18, had a need. She was offered a once-in-a-lifetime clinical internship but it was on the other side of the country.
Allyson Brown ‘80 also had a need. She travels every other week for work and needed someone to watch her Scottish Terrier, Wallace, while she was away from her Newport Beach home.
Thanks to the match-making skills of the Office of Alumni Relations and the mutual kinship among former Camp Massasoit staff of all generations, their needs blossomed into a beautiful relationship over the summer of 2018.
Through their initial phone call they learned a lot about one another. They had both worked as counselors at Camp Massasoit. They both supported Friends of East Campus on Giving Day. And they both shared an appreciation for dogs.
After deciding that the arrangement would be beneficial for both women, Wackowski traveled to California to begin the 12-week internship, which turned out to be an amazing experience. Springfield College’s occupational therapy department placed Wackowski in Pure Pediatric Therapy in Laguna Hills for her fieldwork.
“I don’t know that I would have been able to get a job in pediatrics if I hadn’t had pediatric fieldwork. I learned a lot there and the experience I gained was really valuable,” Wackowski said, who currently works in Denver, Colo. as an occupational therapist, specializing in pediatrics.
During the weeks when Brown had to travel, Wackowski would drop off Wallace at a boarding facility and pick him up on the way home. When they were not working, Wackowski and Brown spent time together—going to the beach, practicing yoga, cooking meals, and taking Wallace for walks.
“Ally is such a great person. I loved living with her. She was a stranger to me and now I truly consider her to be a part of my family. All summer, she was like my best friend,” Wackowski said.
The more time they spent living together that summer, the more the two women began to admire one another.
“I was so impressed with how dedicated she was to the internship. She was, with her own money, going out and buying things and making things for the kids. She would spend hours in the evening, even though she had worked all day, prepping for the activities with them,” Brown said.
They grew so close that at one point Brown’s daughter jokingly thanked Wackowski “for being the daughter my mother always wanted.”
More than a year has passed since that summer, but Brown and Wackowski still keep in touch. In fact, Wackowski and her friend even paid Brown a visit recently.
In addition to their affinity for Wallace, they both hold a special place in their hearts for East Campus. Brown and Wackowski both support Friends of East Campus on Giving Day, with the former offering an annual challenge gift that has helped increase the number of Giving Day donors each year.
“I’m not a wealthy person but I’ve been blessed in so many ways. I just know that there’s people out there who don’t have the same opportunities that I’ve had and I’m grateful that whatever I do might give an opportunity to someone else,” Brown said.
Wackowski made her first gift to Friends of East Campus as a student. She understands how much each gift counts, especially on Giving Day.
“East Campus has made a big difference in my life and it’s important to give back to organizations that made a big difference to you,” Wackowski said.
Thanks to supporters like Brown and Wackowski, East Campus is able to keep making a big difference in the lives of others.