New summer program in Cenla focuses on students with special needs

PINEVILLE, La. (KALB) - While it is hard for working parents to find the perfect summer program for their student, it is even harder for those who have children with special needs.

Aside from Buddy Camp, there is a new summer program in town that still has available slots.

As the school ended two J.I. Barron special education teachers said they realized a need for special education summer camps in Central Louisiana.

"These kids they want to be like everybody else," said program co-founder Amy Porche. "They want to participate, they want to make friends and they want to have things that they can do. However, they do require structure."

Immediately they started putting together the 'Here We Grow Summer Reading Program'.

Porche said after calling many locations the First United Methodist Church in Pineville was happy to provide the space.

"I literally said I want to do a reading camp for children with special needs and she said I am on board, you tell me what you need," Porche said.

The six-week program isn't all work.

"We make our crafts, we have our snacks, we dance, we laugh, we play," Porche said.

However, it's main purpose is to continue progress teachers built with students during the year.

"We work so hard from August to May to really accomplish so many goals," Porche said. "Then they come back in August and it is almost like it is starting all over again."

However, it is progress that rewards the teachers too.

"It's the little things, you know," said program co-founder Laurie Shelton. "It's those little moments where you can see that light bulb go off."

With spaces still available, both teachers hope they can help more kids celebrate those little victories.

"If we could fill it up that is our goal," Porche said. "That is our goal, is to provide a space for every child that needs to be here."

The program runs Monday through Wednesday from 8:30 to 11:30. Students with special needs must be entering grades first through eighth and have an individualized education program to attend. IEPs are usually provided by their school.

For more information, click on the attached link.

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