Advocate for Children with Disabilities Walks 46 Miles around Chautauqua Lake

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Funds Raised for a Unique Summer Camp

Article Contributed by
Prevention Works

A 46-mile walk around Chautauqua Lake completed by Patrick Smeraldo, a leading advocate for children with disabilities and founder of Collaborative Children’s Solutions, will help raise funds so families with these children and their siblings may incur no cost to attend a first-time Kids and Sib Summer Camp.

Held August 23-25 at Camp Onyahsa in Dewittville, NY, the “Kids and Sib” Summer Camp on the beautiful shores of Lake Chautauqua will focus on the unique needs of children with disabilities and their siblings so they may find a common ground with others and realize that they aren’t alone.

“I will be walking 46 miles around Chautauqua Lake to honor the kids and raise funds for the Kids & Sibs Camp during a 3-day period from August 16 – 18,” Patrick stated. “All donations up to $3,000 will be matched. Any amount of donation is welcomed.”

Growing up is challenging for everyone but is uniquely so for siblings of children with disabilities who can feel like they are competing for their parents’ attention as the children with special needs demand a lot more attention. Oftentimes, the siblings of children with disabilities feel frustrated and alone while also needing support with other siblings who understand them.

“We are excited about this opportunity because not only does it offer an inclusive camp for kids with disabilities, it also acknowledges the special struggles that their siblings possess,” Laurie Reynolds, Parent and Facilitator of the CHQ Support Group states. “Each day’s activities are carefully crafted to meet the needs of each. Breakout sessions will include several activities where the siblings will be together, while the other children are in a separate group. Then, there will be an opportunity for the two groups to share facilitated projects that reconnects the kids with their siblings.”

Donations to support the Kids and Sib Summer Camp may be given through the following:

  • Venmo: @ccsolutions716
  • PayPal: ccsolutions716@gmail.com
  • All checks and money orders can be mailed to: Collaborative Children’s Solutions, PO Box 3641, Jamestown NY 14701.

The Parent Support Group is funded by Parent Network of WNY. The group meets once a month at The Resource Center in Jamestown. During these meetings, parents voiced their struggles with trying to find inclusive opportunities for their children with disabilities. The parents were looking for a solution to a gap in child care/summer camps.

The CHQ Parent/Caregiver of Children with Special Needs Support Group in collaboration with Prevention Works, Parent Network of WNY, The Resource Center, HOPE Chautauqua Coalition, Jamestown Public Schools, and Dr. Laura Geraci, and Collaborative Children’s Solutions are proud to present the first annual “Kids & Sibs” Summer Camp!

If you are a parent or caregiver of a child(ren) with disabilities and are looking for support from those that will understand you, please contact Laurie Reynolds, laurie@preventionworks.us. The meetings are held every third Thursday at The Resource Center, 880 East Second Street in Jamestown. The meetings are also held virtually via Zoom. Like us on Facebook: “CHQ Support Group for Parents/Caregivers of Children with Special Needs”.

Since 1974, Prevention Works, a United Way partner agency, has been providing prevention education and community awareness on social emotional learning and substance use. Prevention Works is the only New York State Office of Addiction Services and Supports (OASAS) approved and supported alcohol and other drug prevention agency in Chautauqua County. For further information about Prevention Works services, call the Jamestown office at 664-3608 or the Dunkirk office at 366-4623 or visit our Web Site: www.preventionworks.us