Meet Olivia and Wayde NWSRA Summer day campers

From NWSRA parent Lisa Fields-Hester: Our children, Olivia and Wayde have Developmental Disabilities as well as Autism. In Summer 2016, my husband Brandon and I signed them up for the NWSRA Little Sprouts Day Camp. Before their participation in NWSRA, we had tried play groups and a preschool program. The play groups were okay, but it worked mainly because I was there to help push the interaction with others. At the preschool program, Olivia would sit and cry, wouldn’t move from the door, would sit under tables and hide. At some points she would hold my leg so tightly that I would lose a shoe trying to leave the classroom.

When we started NWSRA it opened a whole new world to them. They felt like there were others they could relate to. During the first week of Summer Day Camp, we noticed the change. In the past we have always had the screaming, crying, throwing themselves on the ground type of experiences in anything we did with the kids. After the first week, we all were walking into camp and Wayde saw one of his favorite counselors, Ms. Katie. Wayde literally went running to see Ms. Katie and began hugging her. Brandon and I just stood there in the hallway in amazement. In that same week, Olivia did the same thing. She went into camp, gave kisses and let us go without any tears, no leg hugging and was often times sad when camp ended.

From the trips, to learning independence, the transformation was simply amazing. Something so simple as taking them to the grocery, to the car wash, to visit family during my father’s funeral, I can honestly say NWSRA played a major part in how our lives have run smoother.

It is so mind blowing how they improved their interaction with others due to NWSRA programs. Wayde and Olivia would run from others and were afraid because they didn’t know how to respond or react. Even when others have not been so nice because they don’t understand what makes them a little different, our kids have learned to brush it off and exude that confidence that they did not have before. When we do activities outside the home, such as going to the aquatic park, they now go full speed ahead.

The experience this organization has given our children literally has brought me to tears. To see their faces light up when we say “We’re thinking of sending you back, do you want to go?” is purely priceless. The staff and volunteers are amazing, and we look forward to what this summer will bring and what new little person will transform before our very eyes. NWSRA is like no organization I have ever seen. I have worked with children and adults with special needs throughout my life and I truly think that what NWSRA and their staff does ensure that families like mine can give our children opportunities that they otherwise would not have had. NWSRA has brought out the very best, most beautiful things in our children and we are blessed beyond measure. We truly do think the world of NWSRA, and I wish that everyone has the opportunity to have this same experience.

NWSRA Day Camps provide children with special needs opportunities to have fun, make friends, go new places, learn new things, be included and celebrate their lives. However, even though NWSRA keeps costs as affordable as possible, it is still out of reach for some families. SLSF, the fundraising arm of NWSRA, provides scholarships to those in need. Be a part of a child’s amazing day camp experience by donating to the scholarship fund.

  • $25 will send a child to camp for 1 day
  • $125 will send a child to camp for 1 week
  • $500 will send a child to camp for 1 month
  • $1000 will send a child to camp for the summer

If you wish to be a part of a child’s ability to grow, learn and develop this summer, please join our mission by making a donation today.

If you wish to restrict your donation toward scholarships, please select "Scholarships" in the dropdown box under "Program" on the donation page.

Thank you.

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