ALECIA DIMAR 0000-00-00 00:00:00
Since Kelsey was born in 1992, Dave Ring has led the life of a special needs parent. He wakes up early to bathe, dress and feed his daughter, now 17, before he gets himself ready and off to work. The day-today needs of caring for his daughter can be wearing. However, Ring has found a renewed sense of hope through Eden Wood Center’s respite care program, which gives him an occasional break and sense of normalcy. “What I love is that the staff knows this is a break for me and do not call unless there is an urgent need! The staff at Camp Eden Wood are trained well, have processes in place, and a fairly extensive history on my child–all before we show up,” says Ring. “They know how to react to emergencies and they do call, but they take the necessary actions as needed. This is tremendous peace of mind for me as a parent.” Through support from Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF) and local Lions, Eden Wood Center is able to host up to 30 special needs participants for overnight weekend stays and serves up to 900 campers annually. Eden Wood Center, established in 1925 in a southwest suburb of Minneapolis, Minnesota, serves children and adults who have mental or developmental disabilities because of autism, cerebral palsy, brain injury, Down’s syndrome, Tourette’s syndrome and other medical conditions. The camp is appreciated not only by caretakers but also by the campers, of course. Eden Wood gives the special needs participants a fun-filled weekend away from home. Campers enjoy high-ropes courses, take nature walks, and create arts and crafts, in addition to many other activities. The recently renovated dormitory at the camp was funded through an LCIF grant. The dormitory had been inaccessible to people in wheelchairs and had no disabled-accessible restrooms. “Before the dormitory was remodeled, with the help of LCIF, it was difficult to provide enough year-round housing and programs for people with disabilities,” Ring says. “Now I need not have concern about having room for Kelsey in their program on weekends and at camp.” Eden Wood Center is part of the larger organization, Friendship Ventures, which has two other camps in the central Minnesota area that serve people with disabilities, Camp Friendship and Camp Hope. Friendship Ventures has a long history of support from LCIF, having received four grants totaling $275,000 to support growth and expansion in the past decade. Together, LCIF and local Lions are combating disability through continued support of Eden Wood Center and Friendship Ventures.
Published by International Association of Lions Clubs . View All Articles.