|Autistic Children from Westchester Are Off to Camp at Manhattanville College|
Purchase, NY, July 1, 2013 -- Three hundred special needs teenagers in Westchester, many of them with autism, will each spend a week on Manhattanville College's campus attending programs that enrich their lives through the arts -- learning how to play different forms of drums, to dance the Zumba and to improvise in the theater."This is the sixth year that The Duchesne Center at Manhattanville has sponsored these summer programs and it continues to grow as a community outreach program. It exposes gifted teenagers to a college experience and creates wonderful bonds between the teenagers, their Westchester community, Manhattanville's instructors and volunteers, and the staff at Arc of Westchester," said Craig Kevin Sevilla Donnelly, community service coordinator for The Duchesne Center for Religion and Social Justice at Manhattanville.
The camp runs from July 1 through August 9 and each week about 50 children, evenly split between day and overnight campers, attend. The day group has sessions from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The overnight group programming runs from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. A different group comes every week.
Children in the special camp are recruited from Westchester Arc through school programs, family functions, or school systems. Generally, parents sign them up.
Counselors are hired from the Duchesne Center and Camp America.
The Duchesne Center at Manhattanville College sponsors programs that inspire students to cultivate community service, global citizenship, academic/service learning, leadership and social responsibility and religion and spirituality.
One of the four Manhattanville students who volunteer at the Duchesne Center, Annesha Carter, the president of the class for 2013, teaches improvised acting to the autistic children. "What I enjoy most is working one-on-one with children and bringing them out of their shells to sing and dance and act. It is a very rewarding experience."
Camp America is an international cultural exchange organization that provides camp staff who teach a variety of skills and enrich the worldview of the campers at Manhattanville and many other camping organizations.
Arc of Westchester is the largest agency in Westchester county serving children, teens and adults with autism and other developmental disabilities and their families.
Photo: (left to right) Annesha Edwards-Carter'13, Wilmington, DE, Grace Burns, London, England, Adam Ritchie, Sheffield, England, Lucy Cresswell, Liverpool, England, and Clark Alania '16, Hawthorne, NY.