The Issue: Costs of Raising Children with Special Needs
Programs designed specifically for children with special needs can help them grow and develop at a speed that suits them best, benefitting them well into adulthood. Unfortunately, it costs a great deal to raise a child with special needs in such a manner. According to a report from the US National Library of Medicine, families of children with special needs require complex, long-term healthcare services and spend more on them than other families. The financial strain of medical care, transportation, and education costs can often be too much for families to bear—a hardship exacerbated by the frequent need for one parent to leave the workforce and care for the child full-time.
The Campaign: Sponsoring Special Needs Programs for Young People
All donations to this Grassroots campaign will be used by The Bridge Center to provide recreational programming for young people with intellectual, emotional, and social disabilities. Every $10 donation will go toward recreation camps, summer camps, horseback-riding lessons at the Therapeutic Horseback Riding Center, hippotherapy, and other programs. Donations might also go toward transportation to and from The Bridge Center for children living in the inner city.
The Bridge Center
The mission at The Bridge Center lies within its name. The organization recognizes the social, physical, and emotional gaps that can exist between young people with disabilities and their community, and devises methods to bridge them. For the families and loved ones of these children and young adults, that gulf can seem hopelessly wide. But the center’s staff—professionals in fields ranging from special education to speech pathology—understands their concerns, and designs programs to help them thrive. Participants might fish, play soccer, or swim at one of the center’s nine-week summer camps to work on self-esteem and friendship-building, or develop balance and communication skills through equine-therapy-based horseback-riding lessons. As subjects get older, the curriculum tackles age-appropriate topics such as vocational training and independent life skills so they can become contributing members of society.
These programs are made possible by a 20-acre campus designed specifically for the center’s programs, where youth can learn, grow, and make friends in a safe environment. Here they do everything from play in the grassy fields to ride horses in the Riding Center’s indoor arena, and it’s all accessible to every visitor. In fact one of the founding principles of The Bridge Center was that no child should be turned away due to financial impediments, and the center strives to provide scholarships whenever the need arises.