Sunday, April 23, 2023

An Inclusive Impact - Week of Apr. 17th

Cam in 1st grade- R side
of white shirt, Ben
“Each meeting occurs at the precise moment for which it was meant. Usually, when it will have the greatest impact on our lives.” ~Nadia Scrieva

When Cameron attended preschool, we felt protected in a bubble.  The teachers, the therapists and the other parents all felt like one big family.  As kindergarten approached, Chris and Jane were a bit apprehensive.  Cam began his kindergarten year at Meadowbrook Elementary and 
spent his first 5 years of elementary education there.  Cam's parents quickly saw their apprehension and hesitation fade away once their son's formal education began.

During that time, his K-2 teacher, Ms. Barbara, was a founding leader of the LINKS program at the school. LINKS is a peer-to-peer inclusion program where students support a same-aged peer from the cognitively impaired classroom at school. Meadowbrook is also a Unified Champion School.  This is an education and sports-based program that promotes acceptance, respect, and leadership for students of all abilities while creating an inclusive school environment. There are four components: a unified sport, a school-wide campaign to foster diversity and respect for all, a community service project, and a Youth Activation Committee (YAC).

Monday evening, Ms. Barbara asked if our family would attend the Forest Hills School Board meeting at Meadowbrook.  She also requested that Jane say a few words about being a parent of a child who had been a part of the LINKS program.  Even though it had been a long day of work and school and Cam even had swimming and PT, we rallied and made it.  We were so glad we did!  It felt like a reunion seeing former teachers, aides and friends.  Ms. Barbara and the principal gave a short presentation which included quite a few pictures of Cameron and his friends during their time at the elementary school.

Cam was proud to be a part of it all and although his mom could've talked for hours, she only took a few minutes to explain the impact of the program.  Jane also talked about the effect it has had on the community as a whole helping others to understand the importance of inclusion.
Mary Jo, a long time friend and a hang out buddy of Cam's, is now a senior at Grand Valley State University.  We couldn't resist snapping a pic of these two who were all smiles.

Our weather took a cooler turn this week.  At school, Cam and classmates headed to our local minor league baseball game on Wednesday.  One of the teachers sent us the photo of the two mascots hanging out with Cameron.

Ms. Ann has kept up tutoring with Cam, which we are so thankful for.  They also spent extra time together Friday evening so that Chris and Jane could have dinner out. 

The weekend projects were in full force and on Sunday afternoon, we drove north to see our cousins. It had been much too long since we'd seen them and we all agreed that Calla and her baby brother, Arthur, definitely grew in the past few months.  We met their new baby chicks too.
We also brought our leftover Thanksgiving dinner.  We had been attempting to thaw the turkey and all of the fixings a few times before but we'd been delayed for one reason or another.  Our freezer has quite a bit more empty space now. Coco made delicious brownies for dessert and we all agreed that sometimes eating things left over tastes even better than the day you have it.
According to Cam, it is always best to make fresh rolls or biscuits, of course.

We didn't get to see one of those colorful Lake Michigan sunsets, but it's always nice to gaze at the water and dream of summer.

Camology Quotes:

Details are a requirement for Cam as well as advanced planning.  We were talking through one of his upcoming appointments over the weekend.

"O.K. Mom and Dad, let's talk about what our course of action will be."

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