Visitors to Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf stores during the holiday season may notice a “Deck the Walls” campaign while waiting for their orders. If they take a closer look, they will see that all proceeds from the purchase of stickers to put on the wall benefit The Help Group, as they have for the past 10 years. The Help Group was founded in 1975 and has become the largest, most comprehensive nonprofit of its kind. The Help Group focuses on serving children with autism spectrum disorders, learning disabilities, ADHD, mental retardation, abuse and emotional problems.
With a wide range of mental health and therapy services and seven specialized day schools for pre-K through high school students, The Help Group’s programs reach over 6,000 children with special needs a year. Now that winter has rolled around, The Help Group is set once again to begin its popular Kids Like Me winter day camps.
Overseen by highly trained counselors and designed to address specific age and ability levels, The Help Group’s winter camps are essential tools in helping children with autism spectrum disorders and developmental disabilities connect with others and enjoy a sense of belonging.
Jake, an 8-year-old boy with autism spectrum disorder, attended the 2011 Village Glen camp for the summer session. Jake had difficulty making and keeping friends at his school and often ate lunch by himself. His challenges with social skills often led to teasing by the other children, so Jake became increasingly withdrawn and isolated. After his mother signed him up for The Help Group’s camp, she was surprised to see the tremendous strides her son made by the end of August. Jake has been able to maintain the relationships he built with “kids like himself” at summer camp, and now he cannot wait to see them again at the Village Glen Winter Day Camp.
The camps run December 19 through 23 and free transportation is provided from The Help Group’s Culver City Campus. There is also a Teens on the Go! travel camp for teens (ages 13-18) with Asperger’s and high-functioning autism. These camps feature adventures all over Los Angeles, from Universal Studios to the California Science Center. They allow teens the opportunity to share exciting experiences with people with similar interests and challenges while building social skills in the process.
For more information about The Help Group and its many offerings to children with autism spectrum disorders and developmental disabilities, please visit their website. To reserve a spot at a winter day camp for your child or teen, email Nicole Webb or contact her at 818-778-7136.