A summer-long blessing for kids with special needs

June 21, 2017 - summer camp

When Nikia Bye couldn’t find a day stay suitable for her teenage son who has autism, she started one herself.

This is a fourth summer that Camp Trusted Parents, hold on a Queens University campus, has welcomed campers with egghead and developmental disabilities.

Thanks to a Charlotte Observer Summer Camp Fund, 5 children will attend Camp Trusted Parents for 7 weeks this summer. They are among some-more than 500 streamer to 33 camps since readers donated to a Observer’s Summer Camp Fund. The idea this year is to lift $215,000 to send hundreds some-more to stay subsequent summer.

[Click here to present to a Observer’s Summer Camp Fund]

Bye – whom campers and relatives comparison call “Ms. Nikia” – doesn’t advertise. Word-of-mouth alone has resulted in a wait list to obstacle a mark during a day stay she runs for rising second graders by rising 12th graders with robust dystrophy, intelligent palsy, Down syndrome, ADHD, and more.

Nikia Bye

Campers suffer humanities and crafts, games and sports, grant projects, mechanism classes, margin trips – and are surrounded by support.

A child doesn’t have to have a incapacity to attend. Thanks to an Observer scholarship, Shakima Ruffin can send her dual sons this summer, conjunction of whom has a disability.

Noah Fox, 10, and Joseph Fox, 7, “don’t even notice (a difference), that is what we love,” Ruffin said. “They are means to mingle with kids who are a small opposite from them.”

Noah loves a activities – and buffet-style lunch. Joseph loves a games and mechanism lab. Both adore a margin trips.

Ruffin loves exposing her boys to a universe of diversity: “Going to this stay teaches my boys that…not everybody is a same. It teaches them care and to accept all people no matter what struggles or differences they might have.”

Some campers don’t grasp that this is summer camp. They consider it’s a internal chronicle of Disneyland that they get to attend each day.

Stephanie Patterson’s 13-year-old son, Jacio, asks via a propagandize year, “Camp Summer? Ms. Nikia?”

Jacio has Down syndrome and is assuage to serious on a autism spectrum.

Stephanie Patterson Mug

Jacio is “particular about who he allows in his space,” Patterson said. He straightforwardly welcomed Bye and all a counselors into his orbit. So did Patterson, who says: “I consider those counselors have enchanting skills God gave them.”

The counselors are also specifically trained, and 3 days a week protected occupational and earthy therapists come to stay to yield therapy, that seems to campers only like play.

“It’s tough to trust someone with your child who’s nonverbal,” Patterson said. “I’ll exam people before I’ll leave my son with them.” Camp Trusted Parents counselors aced a test, she said.

Patterson sends Jacio’s 10-year-old sister, Brianna, to a same stay eventhough she doesn’t have special needs. Brianna insisted.

“My daughter understands Jacio as we do,” Patterson said. “She’s really protecting of him.”

Without a Summer Camp Fund, Patterson said: “My kids would not be in stay during all. Period.”

Parents regard what a special place “Ms. Nikia” has created. “It is such a comfort,” Patterson said. “I don’t demeanour during this as a camp. It’s another family to me.”

To give to a Summer Camp Fund

Donate during charlotteobserver.com/summercampfund. Or send donations to The Summer Camp Fund, P.O. Box 37269, Charlotte, NC 28237-7269.

Each Sunday during a drive, a Observer will list contributors to a fund. If we wish to make an unknown donation, prove it on a “for” line of your check or on PayPal, note your welfare in a special instructions field. To present in respect or in memory of someone, use a “for” line or special instructions field. Donations are tax-deductible and are processed by Observer Charities, a 501(c)(3).

If we have questions about your donation: 704-358-5520.

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