Quixote Quest Testimonials

It’s hard for me to put into words just how much joining Quixote Quest shaped and transformed my entire life. As a shy and introverted teenager, being a member of QQ helped me to find my voice, my passion and my leadership skills. The volunteer work itself combined with being part of a community of inspiring, passionate teenagers opened my eyes to all the ways I could truly make a difference—something I’ve carried on with me ever since. The experiences I had as a leader of the Qore helped me to go on to take more leadership roles both in college and even now in the beginning of my career. No other school key club, class or organization could’ve taught me even half of what I learned as a part of QQ, it truly was an experience I will value my whole life.
Lauren Fisher - Camden County Chapter Alumni '11 Eastern HighSchool/LIM
"An important piece of Quixote Quest is its leadership.  QQ has amazing leaders that work hard to create positive environments at each QQ chapter and event.  Leaders guided me to be thoughtful while never taking over.  I was encouraged to reflect and share what was going on at service.  I was challenged to immerse myself and better understand the needs of the community.  I was supported by this program to create better ways to serve the community and truly make a difference.  This is extremely unique for high school students; in school programs, a teacher-student relationship is often created where leaders tell students what to do and why they are doing it.  QQ leaders taught me to think for myself and fostered an environment where a diverse group high school students could build innovative solutions for community needs; this environment allowed me to build a number of skills that I use each day at work and in life.  I am very thankful for having gained so much experience with Quixote Quest!" 
Kayla Carroll – Gloucester County Chapter Alumni '12 Williamstown HS/St. Joseph's University
"Quixote Quest was the most valuable and important learning opportunity I had during my high school experiences. For me, intellectual understanding of an issue or a topic is helpful, but remains on the surface. My experiences through Quixote Quest struck my core, and for first time in my life, changed how I perceived and how I fit into the world. I gained purpose, compassion, and an understanding of how things really are, not how they appear to be. I recently accepted a job as a Behavioral Technician, and what first and foremost qualified me was my experiences through Quixote Quest."
Haley Oberg – Camden County Chapter Alumni '12 Haddonfield HS/Evergreen College
  Quixote Quest showed me how to make a legitimate impact on my community, and stressed that every little bit of love and care matters. Back when I was in QQ, I volunteered with underprivileged children, lonely elderly, elderly with dementia, mentally disabled youth, and abused animals. Today, I go to school in Baltimore, where I volunteer in a care center for those with AIDS, and with York Road Initiative who's goal is to improve 'the worst street in Baltimore.' QQ taught me that no matter how big the feat, no cause is helpless. I live by that every day.  
Samantha Stepnowski  - Burlington County Chapter Alumni '14  Cinnaminson High School/University of Maryland
Quixote Quest was the single most important thing to ever happen to me as a teenager. As a high school misfit, imagine how my world was changed when I found an organization that gave me not only purpose, but a group of like minded peers who would become my closest friends. Because of my experiences through Quixote Quest, I have come to believe that positive change is not only possible, but often the likely outcome when a dedicated group of individuals commit their time and talent to a cause. As a trauma/ER nurse in Atlantic City, I carry that message in my heart everyday, and the updates I get from QQ remind me that there is a generation coming up that will carry that same message. 
Trudy McGowan RN, BSN Camden County Chapter Alumni '06 Sterling High School/Rutgers University
"All of the people I have met through Quixote Quest have been true heroes in my eyes. Every one of them possesses such ambition and drive to help others that it really just blows me away.  Even with a million extracurricular activities, school, sports, friends, and family, these teens still make the time to volunteer weekly and start friendships with those who share the same ideal to make a difference. The people of Quixote Quest are most definitely one of a kind."  
Mellissa Stutzbach  - Gloucester County Chapter Alumni '08 Pitman High School/ Ithaca College
"It’s hard to put QQ into words, probably because it means so much to everyone that’s in it, and everyone that’s helped by the club. As a former President of QQ, I think that QQ was definitely a huge part of my life, and I loved every minute of it. I think what really says a lot about our club, the type of people that we have involved in it. Even if they have just met you, everyone talks like they’ve know each other forever, laughing, having a good time, and including everyone in it. It’s the perfect mix of volunteering and fun and I’ll never forget it."
Chelsea Spiehs – Burlington Chapter Alumni '07 Burlington Twp.High School/American University
"Quixote Quest changed my life forever.  I can't say it any more bluntly than that.  QQ taught me the value of community, teamwork, responsibility, leadership, empathy, and countless other genuinely imperative life lessons.  I love to volunteer and QQ really helped me channel my strengths and weaknesses so that even beyond my high school years, I can benefit my community the best I can.  QQ is a family with such an unbreakable bond, and it will live on as a constant reminder of the great change to be made in our world."
Victoria Fear - Gloucester County Chapter Alumni '05 Pitman High School/Montclair University
"I must say how proud I am to have been a part of something so amazing in my life and the people and animals we served. As a school teacher in North Philadelphia, I was particularly touched to see that QQ is now helping out in Camden schools. The achievement gap is huge, but surmountable with the awareness, help, and mentorship of caring teenagers like those in Quixote Quest. I have no doubt that my time in the club contributed to my path to where I am now in my career, and I know QQ will continue to touch teenagers in South Jersey for years to come."
Brooke Wolmark – Burlington County Alumni '05 Shawnee High School/Georgetown University
Joining Quixote Quest was one of the best decisions I made during my high school career.  My high school had a key club and NHS which provided service opportunities, however, they were insignificant compared to the opportunities that were offered through QQ.  In addition to being able to work with animals who needed attention the most on a weekly basis, I was able to work on important leadership skills as President of my club, and make connections with so many different teens from all over the state whom I would have never had the opportunity to meet if it weren't for QQ,  Volunteering with, and leading my club in QQ helped me realize so much about myself -- my desire to change lives, my love for leading others, and simply how good it made me feel to participate in a group that made such an impact throughout our state.  In fact, realizing all of these things while in QQ led me to pursue a career in teaching, so that I could continue to make a difference in my community for the rest of my life.  QQ is not just a volunteer club or something to put on your college resume -- it is friendships, philanthropy, confidence, self-discovery, and so much more!
-Lindsay Griendling - Camden County Chapter Alumni '07 Sterling High School/Lebanon Valley College
The best decision I ever made in high school was joining Quixote Quest, and I think being involved with QQ has truly shaped me into the person I am today. I had the opportunity to volunteer with four different groups during my time in QQ, and all of these experiences taught me to be the compassionate and positive person I am today. I also got to serve as a "qore" leader for my chapter of QQ, which taught me invaluable leadership skills and how to be a confident individual. QQ isn't just a volunteering club, it is a true community that fosters personal growth on all levels. I wouldn't trade my experience in QQ for the world! 
Jordan Peebles - Camden County Chapter Alumni ' 13 (Eastern HS/American University
"There were few experiences more rewarding than those I gained volunteering through Quixote Quest. I always wanted to volunteer, but it was always so difficult to get places to give you the opportunity, but once I joined QQ I was able to work with animals, special needs kids, under-privileged kids, elderly people, the deaf and blind, and more. I joined a group of people who wanted to help make the world a better place out of the kindness of their hearts, not to meet a quota, and that in itself was inspiring and made me proud to be a part of such a great organization. A lot of people think helping one person doesn’t mean anything because it doesn’t change the whole world, but helping one person can change their world, and that’s frankly enough for me. The possibility of making one kids day because I took the time to play with him or give him attention and love he doesn’t get at home is pretty amazing in itself. QQ and the values it instilled in me will carry with me throughout my life, and I only wish a group this dedicated and amazing existed everywhere so that everyone could gain the perspective I got from being a part of it."
Emma Haught - Camden County Chapter Alumni '13 Cherry Hill East HS/Ohio State University
"I knew I always wanted to give back to the community in some way and I'm so blessed to have found Quixote Quest, but just a few years too late. QQ offered me volunteer opportunities I could never dream of finally being able to do. Working with the kids in Camden in Qrew's Nest, watching them grow and learn over that one year, was truly amazing and beautiful. In that short period of time I was able to make unbreakable connections, not only with my fellow high school volunteers, but with all those 3rd-8th graders I met. This experience was not only tutoring children but an even bigger task, mentoring them. That was definitely the most fulfilling. Stepping away from this year of volunteering knowing I've impacted not only the child I've spent the year with but the other kids and the most amazing friends I've met. I was lucky enough to be a part of many other opportunities during my year, similar to Qrew's Nest. Volunteering in college has been hard but next I hope pick it back up next year! " 
Lauren O'Brien - CamGlo Chapter Alumni '14 GCIT/ Montclair University
"I stepped outside of my comfort zone in high school by joining Quixote Quest, a group of people I did not know, instead of the safer "Key Clubs" of my school.  I stepped outside of my comfort zone by trying challenging weekly direct service activities instead of just monthly group projects.  No other organization in my area could offer the experience Quixote Quest did: meaningful volunteer opportunities with a network of friends and support.  During college I continued to support QQ as a Quarter leader, and my family continues to make a yearly donation because I firmly believe in its mission.  As an adult I have continued my weekly direct-service volunteering and continue to try activities outside my comfort zone, and it is all thanks to my experience with Quixote Quest."
Joanna Wedell - Burlington County Chapter Alumni '10 & Quarter Leader Rancocas Valley HS/Temple University
"Did you ever get the feeling that something big was around the corner?  That maybe your life was about to take a turn, or that you were about to make a momentous decision?  The last time I felt that way was in the Summer of 2002 when I first met with Quixote Quest.  At that time, I had no idea what a positive impact QQ would have in my life.  But I soon discovered that Quixote Quest empowers teens to make a difference in the world.  It made a deep impression on me and concurrently marked a distinct change in my life path.  Quixote Quest taught me to figure out what I wanted to change in the world and gave me the courage to make that change a reality.  So if you have that feeling, the feeling of optimism and hope, around the corner; then maybe Quixote Quest is for you."
Emily Haluska - South Jersey Chapter Alumni 04 Cherokee High School/LSU
"Quixote Quest instilled in me a lifelong passion for service as "the rent we pay for living on this earth". I gained a greater sense of empathy by participating in diverse events spanning from animal shelter clean-ups to Special Olympics volunteering. I found a sense of belonging with like-minded individuals from different schools who were committed to QQ's mission and all its quirky traditions. I developed a sense of ownership and community, for my qlub, and then for new qlubs that I helped launch. It was the single most definitive experience of my teenage years and the seed it planted to do more good (one starfish at a time), have fun doing so, and never stop seeing the good in the world drives me to this day. I just completed an 8 months service in East Africa as a Kiva Fellow and hope this is the beginning of a start in a career focused on social impact. Thank you QQ for helping me be a better person."
Ran Fan - (author of The Qode) Camden County Chapter Alumni '07 & Quarter Leader '09 Cherry Hill East HS/University of Michigan
"Getting involved in Quixote Quest was one of the best decisions I ever made.  I met so many unique and genuine people that truly touched my life, who I still am close to as I move onto a new chapter in my life. I also grew and matured as a person through all the volunteer opportunities that Quixote Quest provided.  I loved the meetings because they were so much fun as well as educational.  I also loved going to group service projects because I got to meet so many people  from different counties that were in other clubs.  GSPs were also good because I felt like I was really making a difference when we helped all of those great organizations, from a homeless shelter in Camden to Special Olympics.  I am so thankful for Quixote Quest. My high school years would not have been half as meaningful and fun without it."  
Kelley Corbett - Burlington County Chapter Alumni 07 Shawnee High School/Appalachian State
  I was a part of a couple high school organizations, including Student Government and Renaissance.  The type of volunteering I did there does not even compare to the service I did through Quixote Quest.  For me, volunteering in those high school organizations consisted of selling snacks at school dances.  In QQ, I got to be a part of Qrew's Nest, where I was matched one to one with a child residing in Camden, volunteering weekly to tutor and mentor him.    I thank QQ for the perspective it gave me and how it shaped who I am today.  The memories I made in QQ and the impact I felt like I made in my community will last a lifetime.  
Alex Goebler - Burlington County Chapter Alumni '13 (Cherokee/Rowan School of Engineering)
Quixote Quest is certainly one of the things I will miss most when I look back to my high school years.  I joined the club looking only for a place to volunteer and came out with skills and friendships I now can't imagine living without.  Not only does QQ provide you with countless opportunities to help others through the myriad of community sites to choose from and monthly GSPs to attend, it also helps shape your beliefs about the world and become a more active member of society.  The Qlub gives back whatever you put forth; if you devote your time, spirit, and heart to it, I guarantee the experience will be unforgettable and life-changing.
Effie Ferti - Camden County Chapter Alumni '13 Cherry Hill East HS/NYU
Quixote Quest was an integral part of my most important period of self development. I volunteered in a homework club in a low-income housing community. My weekly volunteering and the group service projects taught me that community service could be something beyond myself, not just another box to fill out on a college resume. QQ put me in touch with inspiring community leaders in the area, who gave their lives to making a difference in the lives of others. I try to reflect the values and spirit of QQ every day and in all that I do. Not only do the high school students involved in QQ make a difference in their communities, but QQ puts its imprint on the high school students themselves. QQ is one of the few organizations out that teaches that you are never too young to make a big difference.
Andrea Yeash, Burlington County Chapter Alumni '10 Rancocas Valley High/George Mason
Quixote Quest provided me with my greatest learning opportunity. I volunteered with Special Olympics and both Qrew’s Nest programs during my time in QQ. Those programs, especially Qrew’s Nest, changed everything for me. Going into cities like Camden and Trenton took me out of my bubble and exposed me to something so different than anything I had ever experienced. It changed how I view the world. More than anything this program taught me that no matter what, there is a great deal of importance of very hands on service and the definite positive effects that it can have on communities.  
Ambika Paulson - Mercer County Chapter Alumni '13 West Windsor Plainsboro HS/North Carolina
After a frustrating time looking for service at my high school beyond just the once a month commitment, I was fortunate enough to find QQ. The program Legacy, where I interviewed elderly and compiled life books for their families, combined my love of history and working with people perfectly. I also tutored kids weekly in Camden and became one of the founding members of Qrew’s Nest in Camden. As a qore leader for my qlub I got know my peers on an intimate level and work on crucial leadership skills. The wide variety of service I participated in exposed me to so much and taught me the value of hands-on, long-term service in local communities. QQ has definitely shaped me into the person I’ve become today.
Lauren Wachspress - Camden County Chapter Alumni '12 Eastern High School/Franklin & Marshall University
I don't think I can properly communicate how much Quixote Quest meant to me as a high school student.  I knew that I wanted to make a difference but their wasn't any heart in the volunteer club at my school, where you had to accrue just a few hours (and in any manner of ways).  Then, thankfully, I discovered QQ. I was proud to be a part of the volunteering all star team, and the organization allowed me to open my eyes and break out of the small town bubble where I grew up.  But mostly, QQ made me a better human being and any teen that is committed to service is lucky to have Quixote Quest in their corner.
Julie Stutzbach, PT, DPT Gloucester County Chapter Alumni '06 (Pitman High School/Beloit University)
"Quixote Quest is an intentional community of young people--passionate and dedicated to social justice and change in various ways. QQ provided a defined space and structure in which I could discover my passion for education and mentorship. It simultaneously cultivated an intentional community of peers who were dedicated to creating change in a variety of spheres—whether around homelessness, animal rights, or food justice-- with whom I could share my frustrations and challenges, my successes and celebrations, my dreams for the future. My true introduction to civic engagement, QQ has propelled me into a lifelong journey of service learning." 
Samyuktha Natarajan – Mercer County Chapter Alumni '11 West Windsor-Plainsboro HS/Bryn Mawr College
“QQ was such a huge part of my entire high school experience and my life in general. It was so refreshing to get to spend time with people who genuinely cared about their communities and others.  Not only was it an incredible community of dedicated people that supported each other in their mission to bring positive change into the world, but it also opened my eyes to the problems that need to be solved in the world.  I can easily say that QQ, and Qrew's Nest especially, actually helped shape the direction of my life and motivated me to pursue a career in urban education.” 
Amanda Mastronardi – Gloucester County Chapter Alumni '12 Clearview High School/The College of New Jersey
"Out of all my experiences so far, QQ has by far been the best, the most influential, and the most fun organization that I have been a part of.  Words are not good enough to describe how amazing QQ is, how awesome the people are that you get to meet from all over South Jersey, or the incredible feeling that you get when volunteering.  Words simply cannot suffice.  You have to experience it for yourself.  I feel very lucky to say that I have experienced it and hope that many teens to come get as much from QQ as I have."  
Sandra Levy – Camden County Chapter Alumni '09 Cherry Hill East HS/Dartmouth University