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Aaron’s Acres offers individuals with special needs ages 5-21 year-round therapeutically based age-appropriate recreational programs in a supportive environment that enhances socialization and communication skills. Programs directed by specially trained and certified staff provide and facilitate emotional, educational, and recreational support for the entire family.
Embracing possibilities beyond disabilities is the philosophy of Aaron’s Acres, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded 15 years ago by a group of parents who wanted to provide summer camp experiences for their children who had special needs.
With assistance from the Special Kids Network, a program of United Disabilities Services (UDS), a one-week summer camp program was established in Lancaster County, which served 11 children ages 4-9. Aaron’s Acres became a program of UDS for approximately five years. During that time, parent feedback was the catalyst for a school-year monthly recreational program.
School-year recreational programs are now provided in two counties: Berks and Lancaster. A summer camp program was also started in Berks County ten years ago. Later in 2006, Aaron’s Acres established a summer camp program in Dauphin County. During the following summer, due to tremendous need expressed by families within all three counties, the number of camp weeks, as well as the number of participants, doubled.
Effective September 2007, Aaron’s Acres became an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Its mission is two-fold: (1) to provide children and young adults ages 5-21 with developmental disabilities year-round activities typically associated with childhood through therapeutically based age-appropriate social and recreational programs and (2) to provide and facilitate emotional, educational, and recreational support for the entire family. Aaron’s Acres serves individuals ages 5-21 with special needs in Berks, Dauphin, and Lancaster Counties.
Distinct advantages of Aaron’s Acres’ programs include:
- Focus on appropriate socialization and communication
- Positive and supportive environment for children and their families
- Professionally trained and certified staff (including a nurse)
- A 1:1 or 1:2 staff to child ratio
- Volunteer Buddy Program
- Fully inclusive regardless of disability or need
- Recreational activities for teens (ages 12-17) who have Asperger’s Syndrome to participate in the "A-team"
- Lori Donofrio-Galley
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