This year proceeds from the Blarney Breakfast benefit Rainbows’ Family Support Services programs and Camp Woodchuck . It takes a special individual to care for and inspire youth with special needs. Rainbows is set to hire 25-30 temporary full-time staff members to walk alongside Campers this summer. They will work hard and play hard. They will learn new things about themselves and also those whose lives they impact. It will be a summer of memories that they will talk about for years to come.
Direct Support Professional (DSP) Erica Anyalebechi knows this. She has almost 30 years of experience working with children in our community. During the school year, Erica works for USD 259. Summer 2023 will be Erica’s eleventh summer working as a DSP for Camp Woodchuck.
After many fun summers with youth at Camp Woodchuck, Camp moved to an in-home summer experience in 2020 due COVID-19 and Erica pivoted with rest of the country. “Camp in home was fun, however my client and I didn’t get to hang out with the other campers which would have made a fabulous summer. We did get to hang out though and that was great! If we had to do it all over again I definitely would. Lots of one-on-one time really helps you know your camper.”
Erica is looking forward to Camp Woodchuck returning to Kids’ Cove. “Now being back at center having Camp has really made my day,” said Erica. “I’m ecstatic, overjoyed and overwhelmed at the same time. Nothing like seeing all your kiddos growing up and moving on to different age groups. We missed that the past three years and I’m so glad we have the opportunity to get to see our clients in center working as groups and helping each other do some of the things we love and enjoy like Choir.”
“Erica is always willing to help and try new things,” said Tiffany Graf, Family Support Services Coordinator and Camp Director. “She’s up for the challenge for whatever the kids may need.”
Erica comes from a very close and fun-loving family. When she’s not at school or Rainbows, she likes reading books, crafting, and hanging out with her grandchildren, nieces and nephews.
Come join us for all the fun from 6-9:30 a.m. March 17 at Old Chicago East. Enjoy a wonderful breakfast, Irish dancers, celebrity coffee pourers and more while supporting Rainbows’ children. Get your tickets here.
Can’t make it to the Breakfast? You can still help! As part of the Blarney Breakfast, this year Rainbows is running a Supply Drive for Camp Woodchuck from February 17 to March 17. Learn about the Supply Drive here.