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Special Needs? Gimme a break!!

Because of the Fall we are all broken in one way or another. Some of us just have the ability to manufacture complex hiding strategies. That's why we could all fit in the category of disabled! Yet for families with children who possess physical and intellectual disabilities there are daily challenges that the average person doesn't face. Families with special needs members have need for respite. Also, because of these special needs they can become isolated. They need to be with families that are like them, to be encouraged by the words, "Me too. I feel the same way. I share the same burdens." Everyone needs to know they aren't alone.

MNA is pleased to add Embrace Family Camp to our growing number of short-term partnerships and opportunities to serve. Embrace is a program of the non-profit Arise.  Arise’s mission is to help families affected by disability discover hope, overcome barriers, move forward.  Embrace serves families who have individuals with disabilities through various programs. The programs Embrace offers are monthly respite, day camp, after school programs, sensory friendly/accessible events (trunk or treat and egg hunts) and other events as we see necessary.  Embrace serves over 50 families per month at our respite nights. They have a mailing list of over 110 families who have expressed interest in Embrace or attended Embrace.

Here's where you come in- Embrace runs a week long respite camp and they need people willing to travel to Maryland this Summer to help them facilitate camp. The dates for this camp are August 4-9, 2019.  Volunteers will arrive on August 4th in the afternoon and then they will receive training and be set up for a successful week with our friends with disabilities and their families.  Families will arrive on August 5th in the afternoon.  Everyone will depart on August 9th around lunch time.

We are looking for about a group of 20 to come and help out.

The roles that are available are buddies or assistants in certain program areas.

Buddies will be assigned to an individual with disabilities as their buddy/friend for the week.  They will participate in all activities with their buddy, keep their buddy safe, encourage their buddy to participate in activities, help out the family as necessary throughout the week, build a relationship of trust with the parents, have fun and be a friend.  

Individuals assigned as a program area assistant will be a partner to the program director in that area.  They will assist with activities, gather supplies, help make sure kids are safe, etc.  

The cost for the week for volunteers is $500, this includes 3 meals/day, lodging, activities, and a week of encouragement. Part of this cost helps families participate by defraying some of the fee to participate.

For more information contact Abby Stewart, Embrace Director at or call 814-592-0810. You may also contact me, Curt Moore, MNA's ShortTerm Mission Specialist. I'm available at or 404-386-4586



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