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A ray of sunshine: Katie Sciarrino

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Every once in a while, you meet a child that melts your heart and makes you smile. That can be said for New Avenues Summer Camp and Swim, Gym & More participant, Katie Sciarrino. Katie, a ten year old girl with Down Syndrome, has been participating in New Avenues programs since she was three years old. She started attending New Avenues Summer Camp, an Extended School Year and recreational program, when she was three and quickly became a favorite among campers and staff.  Katie, with her quick smile and sometimes shy nature, has a very loving and engaging personality. 

Throughout her time at Summer Camp, Katie has enjoyed participating in many of the camp activities. Some of her favorite activities include swimming, arts & crafts, music, and activities in the gym. This past summer, Katie’s mom said that she especially enjoyed the Camp Carnival that was held during the third week of camp. The carnival had games set up for the kids to play, lots of prizes to choose from, and a Bounce House—which was a big hit!  Katie absolutely loved the Bounce House, which looked like a castle complete with a slide and a basketball hoop. She had a great time playing in it with the other children in her class.

When Katie was six, she started attending New Avenues Swim, Gym & More, a recreational program held on Saturday afternoons at Broadmoor School in Mentor. It includes an hour each of swimming, arts and crafts, and activities in the gym—all of Katie’s favorite things! When Katie started attending Swim, Gym & More, she attended every other week, as did all of the participants. Last year Katie’s mom asked if it would be possible for Katie to attend Swim, Gym & More every week, since she enjoyed the program so much. We were able to accommodate her wish, and both last year and this year Katie has attended and will be attending Swim, Gym & More every Saturday from the end of October until the beginning of May. The option of attending every week was extended to everyone, and now quite a few participants have joined Katie in coming to Swim, Gym & More every Saturday rather than every other.

Along with having fun while participating in New Avenues Children’s Programs, Katie has also had the opportunity to work on some of her goals, which include communication and socialization. It has been exciting to see her growth in communicating her wants and needs, along with making friends and interacting with the other children. Katie has been a pleasure to work with these past seven years, and we hope that she will continue to participate in New Avenue’s Children’s Programs for many more years to come!