COLUMBUS — When Adam Schaer worked for Columbus Public Schools he got to interact with students from all walks of life.
He took special notice of students who seemed to have a difficult time outside of school. These youths were the ones affected by abuse, neglect and other issues.
After several years working in the educational field, he decided to make it his life’s mission to help troubled youths however he could.
Schaer started working with the Royal Family Kids' Camp started about 10 years ago at Highland Park Evangelical Church in Columbus. He was good friends with the co-directors of the camp that serves foster children and other at-risk youths ages 7-11.
“I’ve been volunteering for RFK since Day 1,” Schaer said. “Every year I save up vacation time and use it exclusively for camp.”
His roles at the camp are drama coordinator and band leader.
“I happen to be the drummer for the band,” Schaer said. “I also get costumes ready for the plays we perform and I’m the casting director of sorts. The goal of camp is simple — to have fun and show them that God loves them. That is the whole idea of camp, to share God’s love with them and to let them be kids for a week.”
Schaer's family members also pitch in each summer at the camp. His aunts, sisters, parents and wife have come together for several years to offer their love and support to the adolescents.
“The camp is set up to be like family,” he said. “They are in a constant state of ‘what’s next?’ in their lives, so we make sure that camp is very routine and schedule-driven."
Schaer took a job three years ago with Owens Educational Services , which works with the state to help disadvantaged families and youth. The nonprofit has six offices across the state, including one in Columbus.
For the past 12 years the organization has recognized one person annually with its Gene Haynes Community Service Award for their commitment to the community, youths and families.
Traci Vauble, juvenile services coordinator at the local Owens office, nominated Schaer for this year's award and he became the first employee of the nonprofit to be recognized.
His ultimate goal is to run his own youth facility one day, creating a safe place for children to gather after school.