My name is Nicole Mays and I am a special education teacher at Kennedy Elementary School in Winder, GA. Each of the students in my class has severe autism and their parents face several challenges once school is out for the summer. While summer break is, for most kids and families, full of opportunities and fun, that's not the case a lot of the time with my students. It is often difficult if not impossible for parents to find a babysitter or child care provider who is qualified and willing to care for some of my students so they have almost two months with no break at all from caring for their child - a child who requires constant active supervision. Additionally, my students' parents spend so much time, money and energy just providing everyday care for their kids that they often have little time, money or energy left over to do "fun" things.
In an effort to provide some respite for my students' parents and provide some opportunities for "typical" summer fun experiences for my students over the summer months, a few years ago I began taking my students on day trips to places like White Water, Children's Museums, parks, etc. What has evolved has been dubbed "Camp Mays". I rent a van each week and take my students (along with several of my friends, family and coworkers who volunteer to help) to places like the movies, Jungle Jumpers, Stone Mountain, the Georgia Aquarium, and swimming. Some of my students' families may not have otherwise been able to provide these opportunities for their child. In the beginning I funded "Camp Mays" almost solely from my own pocket "“ purchasing the admission tickets, renting the van, buying the gas, and buying lunch for each child and volunteer. Families do not have to pay anything at all for their child to be able to participate in Camp Mays. In each of the first two years I spent over $3000 of my own money on Camp Mays. Last year I recieved over $1000 in generous donations and spent over $2000 on top of that. I feel that these opportunities provide such a great service to my students and their families "“ mainly giving the parents a small break from the extreme demands that a child with severe autism present almost constantly and providing opportunities for my students to participate in fun activities just like other children.
100% of all money collected will go directly towards... van rental, gas, admission tickets, lunch, and/or snacks.
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