I was invited to visit three separate After School Programs this week for United Cerebral Palsy of South Florida. This generous organization serves over 1,800 children and adults in South Florida with Cerebral Palsy, Down syndrome, autism, spina bifida, prematurity, hearing, intellectual disabilities and speech delays with a variety of programs such as occupational, speech and music therapy, skills courses, respite care, counseling, after care and much more.
I discovered that most authors decline invitations to visit organizations that serve those with special needs. I suppose it is because they feel their books are not geared toward that type of audience. I was happy to visit these children knowing they would simply enjoy listening to my cartoon voices, looking at the colorful pictures and dancing to the music. Some may not understand the story I am telling, but that’s not what enrichment is all about.
All the participants enjoy my world map and were proud to use the pointer to show others where their favorite places are in the world.
We learn about the animals of the Costa Rican rainforest.
The kids cheer when I tell them the book is recorded on CD with music and sound effects, and of course they want to know all about the story.
What I realized this week while spending time with the program participants is that they teach us how to live in the moment and be truly happy from the inside out. Dancing is the best!!!
And they sure like to give great hugs!
Teacher, Mr. Albert wanted to get in on the hug action too! LOL!
Ah, learning about the magic of watercolor pencils!
The teachers and assistants who work in the UCP After School Programs are equally as inspiring as the children. Their energy, dedication and love for what they do are truly remarkable. I wish to thank Allyson Nanny for inviting me and Site Directors Pat McGee and Lakeya Hariott as well as all the other wonderful staff members.