The women’s advocacy group for Challenged Child has grown from 15 to 100 members during its first four months of existence and is ready to make an impact on the community.
"I think that tells you what this community thinks about Challenged Child — they’re holding it in their hands and their hearts," said Kathy Cook, executive director of Challenged Child.
Challenged Child is a Gainesville preschool center that serves both children with disabilities and children with typical development, ages 6 weeks to 6 years.
"I know that the important place for us to be and spend our money and our time and our energy is with the intervention," Cook said. "I have never seen a center that is more devoted to doing that than Challenged Child, and that’s why I’m here."
On Wednesday, the women gathered for lunch at the home of Lynn and Greg Syfan to talk about the Summer Sensations program. Each attendee donated $100.
"We saw a lot of children who were losing ground over holidays such as Christmas and spring break, and we came up with this idea for them to maintain their abilities," said Toni Smith,
director of Summer Sensations.
Summer Sensations has added a classroom to its program in response to increased applications to the program, Smith said.
Samantha Baumgardner, whose daughter attended the first Summer Sensations held last year, spoke about the impact the program has had on her daughter’s life.
"She made such social improvement," Baumgardner said. "Now she is a very happy little kindergartner and she’s making friends. That’s all I could ask for is that happiness. I know it changed our lives forever."
Smith said the goal of Summer Sensations is to continue the children’s individualized learning experiences from the regular school year. The program will run from 9 a.m. to noon, Tuesday through Thursday, June 17 through July 10.
For more information about Summer Sensations, call Challenged Child at 770 535-8372.