My name is Cathleen, a local volunteer, the parent of a special needs child, and inclusion advocate in the Charleston area.
Since the start of this pandemic, I have had concerns about how this will affect the mental health of those the world over, for those young and old. I am sure you have witnessed, as well as I have, ever-increasing depression occurrence in those around us as time goes on. The inability to move around freely, gather in groups, and be interactive for a year will certainly have adverse effects of differing degrees. Fear, misunderstanding, and anxiety have certainly played their part in this decline of mental health.
I work with several Charleston area non-profit organizations that, throughout this pandemic, have not been able to hold their regular fundraising events, and are now facing challenges in providing their services and activities to the children and adults that need them the most. This could have a profound effect on behavioral health in our area, and as the mother of an exceptional child, one that is actually quite hard to scare, I am frightened to not have these services provided in our area.
-One organization I work closely with provides opportunities for children with special needs, terminal or chronic disease, and their siblings with the ability to have a social circle of friends and a place to belong and be understood, with the medical supervision some of these children require. They hold camps, parties, dances, and a variety of activities to local area kids year-round. Throughout stay-at-home orders, they have made tireless efforts and used plenty of resources, to keep in contact and provide "at-home camps and experiences" for their camp families, including my own.
-One organization I work closely with provides mental health support for first responders, those on the front lines that need mental health support more than ever. Often these people are the last to seek help, and this team trains to recognize the signs of another and they really show up for their community in a big way.
-One organization I work with helps children with sensory integration issues overcome their fears by holding a very large surfing event at a nearby beach. This organization is SO AMAZING for what and who they bring into our area. This organization usually has the most rad fundraising events that were largely canceled in 2020. This super-charged and positive organization focuses on inclusion and is all about what you CAN do versus what you CANNOT do, and makes the exceptional kids the cool kids!
I really just realized there is limited awareness of these organizations, their impact on families with an exceptional child, and families of the front line responders that are so mentally taxed in this season. I also realized that there is limited awareness of the effects COVID had on them, and their limited capacity to raise funds. I know it would greatly impact their ability to continue their missions as planned.
If we could all come together in a special way to help these organizations be most useful in this time of great need and tension, it would be a very good thing that arose from this past year. Let's try to make up for the inability to fundraise in 2020, and all donations will be split evenly among organizations. Please help me if you can! Thank you so much!
- Diane Mott
- Tamara R Bates
- Cathleen Thomas Thomas
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