Samantha Salkind spent just a single semester at Landmark College. But her mother, Debbie, said the impact that short period of time had on her daughter was profound.
“I feel very loyal to Landmark. Both my husband and I feel like it changed Samantha’s life,” Debbie said about her oldest daughter’s experience in the Bridge Semester program. “There’s an intellectual aspect to what they give a kid there. It’s life-changing to really understand yourself.”
The decision to go to Landmark came “out of the blue,” according to Debbie. She credits her daughter for doing research on her own after falling behind during her third semester at Lewis & Clark College in Oregon. “She called us and said she found this place online and would we consider her going there for a semester,” Debbie said. “The support services person at Lewis & Clark knew of Landmark and she was very enthusiastic about the idea.”
It wasn’t very long into Samantha’s Bridge Semester that Debbie felt like they had made the right choice. Being in a setting where other students had similar experiences certainly helped her daughter become more comfortable with her own learning difference, but it was the intensive work on learning strategies and skills, combined with the self-knowledge, that Debbie felt was most effective. “We all knew something was different but the question was how do you manage it?” she recalled. “What happened there was her learning what to do; not just what to say you are, or what to explain, but actually figuring out the tools.”
Samantha returned to Lewis & Clark better equipped to take on the academic challenges and, in the spring of 2016, she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. Debbie said she and her husband, Louis, make financial gifts to Landmark because they want to ensure that it continues to be a resource for other families. She also said she hopes her family’s story can serve as a model for others thinking about supporting the College.
“If you’re able to, you should give back to a place that helped you,” said Debbie. “So to whatever extent that people can step up, it may be what someone else needs to inspire them.”