Monthly Archives: February 2016

Youth Volunteer Wins Respect Life Scholarship

Jenny Fournier, 17, volunteered at Camp Friendship for a week summer 2015. Jenny came to CF with her youth minister, Rita Sherepa, and a friend from her youth group from St. Raphael’s Church out of Duluth after a former CIT/current respite staff spread the word about True Friends.

In confirming dates with Rita for this summer (we now have 6 youth interested in coming), she mentioned an essay Jenny wrote about her volunteer experience with us won 2nd place in the Respect Life scholarship through their church diocese. Jenny was kind enough to share her essay with us, and we’d like to share it with you!

Tori - Jenny Volunteer Essay Blog
“Common belief in society would have one believe that the only life worth living is one of a physically and mentally “perfect” person. However, while volunteering at Camp Friendship, a camp for people with disabilities, first hand experience led me to realize the importance of every life. Two campers in particular demonstrated that every life is worth living.

The first camper did not fit society’s definition of a “perfect” person because he was mostly nonverbal and seemingly simple tasks, like dressing himself, eluded him. Society would have one believe there is no joy in this lifestyle. However, his parents had spent endless hours teaching him to read. He carried a binder with him, which he used to communicate by pointing to pictures. His parents’ care and commitment helped him receive a master’s degree in botany, a subject he was passionate about. While many citizens would be devastated if they could not put a sock on their [...]

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Viral Content Roundup – Changing the way we see ‘differabilities’

By Erin LaVine, Manager of Camping

Everyone knows how quickly viral news stories can spread awareness. The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, the Light it Up Blue for Autism campaign and the Polar Plunge are just a few examples of how people are using social channels to affect change and awareness. I’m not sure if it’s because I follow a lot of amazing parents, caregivers, service providers and educators, but in the past two weeks my social media has been filled with amazing stories about individuals with differabilities and their families achieving new heights. Below are thoughts on my three favorite viral stories.

First, my heart was burst into at least 3 million parts when I saw the video of Atticus hitting the skate park with his dad. Atticus is a young gentleman who has Cerebral Palsy, he utilizes a wheelchair and he is a cutie! His mother explained in a blog that after seeing a dad pushing his child in wheelchair at a skate park, her family dropped everything and went to do the same. I mean, how cool is that? Make sure you watch the video to the very end, Atticus’s reaction is priceless!

Later in the week while scrolling through Facebook, I came across a wonderful series of photos Glenn Gameson-Burrows has taken to help the public better understand his daughter and other people on the Autism Spectrum. His photos showcase the calm and sometimes tumultuous behaviors of a handful of children and two adults. If you just saw these pictures, there would be no way of knowing these individuals had ASD and that’s the point. The photographer wants us to be less judgmental. He wants us [...]
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