While there are many summer camp options in our community, the options are quite limited for those with special needs, particularly for campers over 18 years of age. At the “Place to Be Me” Day Camp, the Children’s Dispensary provides six-week, day-long summer camp opportunities for individuals with special needs including autism, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, mild mental and/or physical disabilities, and other social and cognitive impairments. Serving clients ages 5 and up, activities are designed to be both fun and educational for the campers, while also providing caregivers with much-needed respite time. A typical day might include learning life skills such as cooking or riding public transportation, developing social skills through group work or play, or taking field trips to local zoos, museums, or other local attractions.
But there is a cost to provide these valuable services, and families who have a member with disabilities often face some level of financial limitations. While the Dispensary has always provided financial assistance to their clients (90% of current clients attend programs at no cost), they knew a grant from the Foundation would help ensure that no one was ever turned away from the day camp due to an inability to pay. The Foundation, recognizing this significant opportunity to help improve the quality of life for many special needs families in our community, quickly approved their educational grant request.