A community resource for pediatric stroke survivors and their families

Archive for May, 2010

We have a fiscal sponsor! The time to donate is NOW!

Bennett trying on his cast at Camp Helping Hands, age 4.

Dear Friends, Family, and Good Souls,

My son, Bennett, is an active, intelligent six-year-old boy with lots of blond curly hair and a love for everyone he meets. But for Bennett, life doesn’t come easy. He suffered a stroke in utero, which resulted in cerebral palsy (hemiplegic), vision impairment in both eyes, and seizures. Our lives have been a series of doctors, therapists and programs necessary to help Bennett thrive. Three years ago, we experienced a revolutionary therapy called Constraint Induced Movement Therapy (CIMT), and thanks to this program, Bennett was able to throw a ball with both hands after just 3 weeks. We knew this was something special, and there is nothing like it on the west coast.

I am creating a 3-week intensive CIMT camp in the San Francisco Bay Area this summer. This camp will be incredibly valuable to the kids that attend (stroke survivors with hemiplegic cerebral palsy, where one side of their body is weaker than the other) for both therapeutic and social/emotional development, as well as a fantastic experience for the people who lead it. I am just a mom trying to make this happen for my son, but I know there is a great need for an intensive therapy camp of this kind. I’d like to ensure that this camp happens every year, perhaps even year-round. This has been a true labor of love for me and I have put in countless hours to make it happen.

We now have 6 kids coming from all over the Bay Area, Sacramento, India (and maybe even Australia!). I have found a wonderful OT, an amazing intern and a fabulous therapy center. Much of what is needed to make this happen is in place. What we need now is your support.

Parents of children with a serious disability struggle to fund the countless therapies, equipment and support their kids need to thrive. My dream is to help them access this program, which can change their lives forever.

My goals are:

  • Immediate need: $4,500 would provide three 50% scholarships
  • Huge success: $15,000 would fully fund this summer’s program for 6 children
  • Dreaming big: $20,000 would provide scholarships for all of the children in this summer’s program, pay for supplies & equipment and classes in creative movement and music therapy.

More details about the camp are below, and on my blog: https://bennettsworld.wordpress.com/

If you’d like to make a donation, ANY amount will help! Make checks payable to “Talking Eyes Media” with ” Camp Bennett ” clearly printed on the memo line.

Then mail your check to:

Talking Eyes Media

110 Montclair Ave.

Montclair, NJ 07042

All donations are tax deductible. I will be sending a thank you letter with tax ID info for all donations made.

Thank you a million times from the bottom of my heart,

Audrey (and Bennett and family)



Camp Bennett is the first ever CIMT camp being held in the Bay Area this summer. Constraint Induced Movement Therapy (CIMT) is designed for people who have hemiplegia, generally as the result of a stroke, and suffer diminished function of one side of their bodies.

The goals of Camp Bennett are two-fold. The first is improving the child’s motor impairment; specifically, to increase functional use of the hemiplegic upper extremity and to improve bimanual coordination (using BOTH hands together better). The primary focus will be that each child has success after success, and builds their self-esteem, while participating in this promising new model of delivering therapy services.

The secondary focus will be social/emotional development and identity. We want to provide each child with an opportunity to be with their peers, with other kids who are just like them, and to develop social and communication skills. We will address participation and interaction skills as well as social/emotional, communication, identity, and self-esteem goals.

There is no program like this in the Bay Area. The only programs that currently exist outside of hospitals in the entire country are in the eastern United States. (It’s important to me that my child receives this therapy and camp experience outside of a medical setting due to his extensive surgical history.) I think ALL kids deserve to have a summer camp option, but the reality is that most kids with special needs could not attend a ‘regular’ summer camp without an adult aide assisting them, and they would not be able to fully participate in all activities with their peers. At Camp Bennett, all of the kids are in it together, facing the same challenges and joys.

The camp cost is $3,000 per participant for the three-week program. For some families, this cost is prohibitive and we would like to offer full or partial scholarships for those campers. In addition, we are in need of many supplies for the camp and would like to have them donated, or receive enough money to cover the cost of the materials. We would also like to have enrichment classes throughout the camp, such as yoga or creative movement, and art or music therapy.

If we had $15,000 we could offer 5 full scholarships. If we had $20,000 we could offer 5 full scholarships and pay for all of the necessary materials and enrichment classes.

Thank you.

Audrey Vernick

Founder and Director

Camp Bennett