Intellectual Disabilities Program
The following is a story of a family in Hartford as told by a sibling: My little brother, Sam, means the world to me and my mom. But raising him has not been easy for my mother. Sam has severe Autism and is non-verbal. Finding a program my mom could trust and afford, where Sam could spend time with other young people, was beyond challenging. In fact, it was – and still is – nearly impossible in the Greater Hartford area. The programs that are available are very limited and very expensive. My story is not unique. There are many like me and my mom, who have sacrificed so much to care for the ones we love. I was seven years old when Sam was born. We grew up in the north end of Hartford. My mom had to work a lot of hours to support us as a single parent, so much of Sam’s care was left to me. I missed out on a lot of normal pre-teen and teenage life experiences because I was always taking care of Sam. I didn’t mind because I knew my mom needed my help. But I longed for the freedom to just hang out with my friends. When Sam’s teacher recommended Harc and Camp Bulova, I was ecstatic! My mom was worried. She had so many questions. How would she pay for it? Was it safe? Could she trust Harc? Thankfully, the answer to all of those questions was Yes! Camp Bulova supports families who have children ages 3 – 22 with complex medical needs. There is 1:1 staffing if necessary, a nurse on site, and a sliding fee schedule, so it’s affordable. It was a dream come true for my family. From the time he was five years old, Sam has participated in Harc’s Camp Bulova. The program gives my mom and me one Saturday a month where we can have some relief from Sam’s constant care. But even more importantly, Sam can have some fun with his friends and enjoy sensory activities that are so important to his continued development. Sam is 20 years old now and still needs this vital program and so do we. Harc offers Camp Bulova one Saturday a month, but they want to expand it to make it available multiple times per month. Harc also sees the need for a respite/recreation program to support adults who live with their families. But they can’t do it alone, and your help is critical to families like mine.