Special Kids Connect develops resources, raises awareness, and provides support to children with disabilities (ages 0 - 22) and their families in Monterey County.
Special Kids Connect’s REACH programs makes it possible for children and young adults with a wide range of abilities to participate in activities that nurture their interests and talents—in new and exciting ways. With annual offerings in a variety of sports (such as basketball, golf, and bowling) and the arts (theater, dance and culinary), REACH gives young people the opportunity to participate at their own level and pace, developing motor skills, enhancing cognitive abilities and socializing with peers and adults in nurturing, supportive environments. Besides the skills themselves, participants get to discover that extracurricular activities are fun, and for them, too.
Young people with many different disabilities such as Down syndrome, autism, limited mobility, cerebral palsy and developmental delays have the opportunity to participate at the level they are able, and each one of their contributions is honored and valued. These are all incredible things, but the biggest gift of Special Kids Connect’s REACH programs are in the collaboration and cooperation between those with special needs and the volunteers. Peer relationships built on trust, camaraderie and shared experiences develop over the course of the programs. We parents get tears in our eyes as we see our children joking, laughing and playing around with typical peers.
- Michelle Jelinch