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COVID-19 pivot results in special bond

Kennedy enjoys music, videos and books just like most 16 year-old girls. She’s been a regular at Rainbows most of her life.

She has enjoyed Rainbows’ Camp Woodchuck for the last 10 years. Fun activities and one-to-one attention support her needs this summer during the COVID-19 pandemic. When Kennedy’s high school classes went online, Kristi, a Rainbows’ Direct Care Professional provided support in the family home and helped with her school work while her family worked. “It was a quick transition to online school and more time in the home, but it’s been so much fun,” said Kristi.

This summer Kennedy and Kristi have enjoyed feeding the lemurs at Tanganyika Wildlife Park, reading books and enjoying the outdoors by taking long walks on the nature trail in her neighborhood. “Every week I pick up supplies from Rainbows that Kennedy and I can do during the week at her home,” said Kristi. “They also provide instructions and fun videos that connect us to the Woodchuck Adventure theme.” Campers are able to visit with friends who are also at home through Skype. “It’s fun to see the kids light up when they see their friends,” said Kristi.

In keeping with traditional Camp Woodchuck events, they are putting together something special for the Camp Talent Show and will record Kennedy so her talents can be shared with other Campers as well as her family. “We’re definitely doing things differently,” said Tiffany Graf, Family Support Services Assistant Coordinator and Camp Director. “But we are able to use technology so we can still enjoy many of the same activities and special events, just in a new way that keeps children and families at lower risk for the pandemic.”

“It’s wonderful to have care for Kennedy at home during this time,” said Vanessa, her mother. “I really appreciate Rainbows working with me to get the extra hours when we started school at home. I didn’t know how I would be able to work and take care of my daughter also.”

Kennedy enjoys watching turtles at the lake along the trail, listening to Kristi read “The Babysitter’s Club” books and listening to music. Her favorite artist is Jack Johnson. They continue to work on communicating through sign language and are learning more words this summer through games.

Born with developmental delays and prone to epileptic seizures, she keeps mobile with a wheelchair. She received Infant/Toddler Services when she was born and has always had a Targeted Case Manager to help her family navigate funding streams and coordinate services.