Leah Beidler ’05
RWU is always interested in learning what alumni are doing post-college and how their educational experience may have helped prepare them for success in their lives and careers.
Take Leah Beidler for example. When Leah graduated from the School of Education in 2005, she wasn’t sure what path she would choose. A four-year member of the Women’s Soccer team, a passion for working with children and an affinity for travel helped shape her college experience, but she wasn’t sure how everything would fit together. Thankfully, Leah says that RWU gave her the confidence she needed to put the pieces together to fulfill her dreams.
In 2007, Leah traveled to Haiti to work as an independent English teacher. It was during this time that she learned of the harsh realities of life for Haitian children and she decided to embark on a challenging yet rewarding career. Leah returned to Haiti in 2008 and started Camp Hope, a summer camp that served nearly 40 children weekly. She explains, “Our mission is to equip and empower the Haitians. They’re hungry for their communities to thrive, to be exposed to different things and to have hope.” Camp Hope offers children a safe place to play, learn English, arts and crafts, and play soccer. From its humble beginnings, Camp Hope has grown to an organization of 19 employees, serving 250 children and youth in two locations: Cite Soleil and Passé Cataboise.
Leah’s involvement with Camp Hope has provided her numerous opportunities to make a difference in the lives of the Haitian community. For instance, last year in Cite Soleil, due to the lack of facilities, Leah and six teachers were forced to conduct a workshop confined to a church in a slum area. Despite the adverse conditions, Leah says the workshop was a big success. “The community came together and they made it happen. Everyone was so excited to watch the children learn something that would support their growth.”
Leah has brought the RWU Athletics community to Camp Hope as well. She, along with former Women’s Soccer player, Amanda daCunha and the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, have organized the Student-Athlete Date Auction, which has become an annual tradition at RWU since 2008, raising thousands of dollars for Camp Hope each year.
Her philanthropic nature and love for soccer were cultivated at Roger Williams; and for that reason, Leah continues to give back to RWU and the impoverished nation of Haiti. She explains, “Haiti is a beautiful place that America often depicts as dangerous, impoverished, hopeful and needy. And – while some of that may be true – America forgets to depict the richness of Haiti – its land, culture, faith, and people.”