Neighbors For Kids has embarked on a new pilot program during their summer camp that is the first of its kind on the coast, with the launch of a program designed to support children who have special, individualized needs. This important and much-needed program is being developed at the Kids Zone in memory of Gail Glickman, who dedicated her life and career to serving children in need of special education services and those in need of individualized curriculum to support their personal, academic and social growth, in order to help them achieve their full potential.
Inspired by Gail’s passionate work with children with special needs and with the help of a highly qualified and experienced teaching specialist and an assistant, Neighbors for Kids began laying the framework and foundation during an 8-week pilot program that began in June. One of these local school teachers has spent time on site to conduct observations and assessments of operations, and was able to outline detailed proposals for NFK to adopt, so the organization can begin making ground-level, organization-wide changes to provide additional support for students. The long-term goal is to make the program a sustainable and integral part of the year-round Kids Zone after-school and summer programs.
Having these new teachers on site has already had a positive effect on the students at the Kids Zone and has greatly supported the team of staff at Neighbors For Kids. In year one, one of the primary goals is to use the summer experience to develop and implement a Universal Behavioral Management System which will help NFK put in place the consistency and positive reinforcement plans needed for ongoing special education services. Putting a system in place that applies techniques commonly used and proven to be successful in local schools will greatly enhance the structure and programming at the Kids Zone and it will help all students have access to the dynamic programming at the Kids Zone, such as the visual arts, science, computer technology, reading, math, science, gardening and sports activities.
NFK will receive consultation over the year and their teaching staff will be trained and mentored by the teaching specialists who have been working during the summer with the next goal of transitioning their techniques into the after-school program. As this new program becomes more fully developed over time it will offer a critical resource to children and families within the community, therefore enabling NFK to be as inclusive as possible in the future as the organization responds to the needs of students during the out-of-school-time hours and on non-school days.
Thanks to a generous donation from a local community member the Gail Glickman Program will become part of the Kids Zone’s mission and will be able to serve students in need of specialized support and programming. NFK is very honored to help Gail’s vision of serving children with special needs live on, and is excited about the potential of this new effort as it benefits children in the Lincoln County region.