RESPITE DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE AND PROGRAMS
Parents and advocates at the CAC have formed a group to help find or create more respite options. This group meets each month. In between meetings, members of this committee work on various projects. This page will be updated as new programs are developed or identified.
Existing Respite Programs:
Parents’ Night Out – Coordinator: Melissa Bennett (See sign up link at bottom of page)
Program Parent’s Night Out at Hixson YMCA
Our next PNO to be held Friday, April 3, 6pm to 10pm at the Hixson YMCA. Register online: Click this link to sign your kids up:
Cost is YMCA members $10/child; $15/child for non-YMCA members, and you can pay when you arrive. Parents can drop their kids off while Martine Powe will be in charge of child care along with the YMCA staff. Contact Jacinta McGavock:firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions.
Respite Programs in Development:
McCants – Camp Inspire – This weekend camp is an opportunity for children with disabilities and their siblings to attend a weekend camp (Spring 2016). Children will participate in activities, such as: camping, making s’mores, taking nature walks, playing sports, watching karate demos, watching movies, attending children’s church, making arts ‘n crafts, etc. Parents will receive a well-deserved and needed weekend respite. Camp Directors: Jacinta McGavock and Julia Hill. To help with this program, feel free to email a camp director at: email@example.com.
Babysitter Co-Op – Program for helping child-care providers get additional training. Program will then work on listing contact info of these sitters so parents have access. Coordinators: April Sumner and Katie Broom.
Parent Childcare Timebank – Creating a system to help parents help one another with childcare.
Childcare Volunteer Development – Collect and manage contact information for people who wish to volunteer as childcare helpers at various respite programs (like Parents’ Night Out). Coordinator of these volunteers will help run background checks and help line up volunteers with upcoming events and programs. Coordinator: Jacinta McGavock. To join the Respite Committee, feel free to email the coordinator at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Interested in volunteering in some of our programs or events? We’d love your support. It is very easy to become a Volunteer…. just 3 easy steps:
Step 1 – Register…. complete this form to be added to our list. Once we receive your registration, we will contact you. The Parent Volunteer Coordinator’s name is Jacinta McGavock.
Step 2 – Attend A Training…. you will receive an invitation to attend one of our volunteer training sessions. The presenters are: Alyce Benson and Karen Weigle. This required training will help your volunteering experience be a positive one and the most productive for all participants.
Step 3 – Begin Volunteering…. you will create your desired days, times, and locations for your volunteer schedule. You can now start to volunteer with our programs. Students will are happy to document your volunteer hours and submit them to your school.
How to Become a Volunteer:
Some Programs That Need Volunteers:
1. PARENTS NIGHT OUT (PNO) – The Chattanooga Autism Center hosts Parents Night Out (PNO) for area families who have children with disabilities. The PNO’s give caregivers the needed release time to run errands, relax without children, have some down time to themselves, have a date night, etc. We hosts these events at various places such as: Downtown YMCA, North River YMCA, CAC building, etc. These events are usually Friday evenings from 6pm – 10pm or Saturdays from 11am – 2pm. The PNO’s are led by our PNO coordinator, Melissa Bennett. The events are supervised by the organizations’ staff members. As volunteers, you will simply assist with making the event fun for the children and less stressful for the organizers. Some typical volunteer duties would be: helping a child play basketball, play soccer, and/or swim; escorting a child to the restroom or water fountain; and helping a child during snack time. Volunteers usually work one-on-one with children or may work with a couple of children at a time. If you are available on Friday evenings and/or Saturdays, please sign up.
2. WEEKEND RESPITE CAMP – The Chattanooga Autism Center has developed a weekend camp for children with disabilities and their siblings. Children aged 6 – 12 will arrive at camp on a Friday afternoon and stay until the following Sunday afternoon. The children will participate in a variety of activities, such as: camping, making s’mores, taking nature walks, playing sports, watching karate demos, watching movies, attending children’s church, making arts ‘n crafts, etc. Each child will be paired with a camp counselor who will escort each child to activities throughout the weekend. There will be 24 hour staff: camp administrators, nurses, security guards, and camp counselors. If you are interested in participating in this wonderful experience, please sign up.
3. SUMMER CAMPS – The Chattanooga Autism Center has partnered with Signal Centers to provide a Summer Camp program for children with disabilities. The Summer Camp program runs 6 – 8 weeks in the summer from approximately 9am – 3pm with possible before-care and after-care hours. The camp is housed at Signal Centers, 1911 North Germantown Road, Chattanooga, TN 37411. This program offers children with disabilities and their siblings an opportunity to participate in various activities, such as: Art, Movement, Music, Crafts, Indoor/Outdoor Recreation Sports, Woodworking, Re-purposing, Inter-generational Activities, Water play, Games, Singing, Dancing, Cooking, Cheering, Drama, Science, and Technology. The Summer Camp is led by Signal Centers Children’s Director, Pamela Hudson. The staff of teachers are certified special education teachers who supervise and monitor the children in the program. As volunteers, you will simply assist with making the event fun for the children and less stressful for the organizers. Some typical volunteer duties would be: organizing materials for class, helping with the day’s activities, escorting a child to the restroom or water fountain, etc. Volunteers usually work one-on-one with children or may work with a couple of children at a time. If you are available to work during summer vacation, please sign up to volunteer in the Signal Centers Summer Camp program.
4. BEFORE-SCHOOL / AFTER-SCHOOL CHILD CARE – The Chattanooga Autism Center has partnered with Hamilton County Schools to assist with the Hamilton County Department of Education’s School Aged Child Care (HCDE-SACC) program. This program is housed in several Hamilton County Elementary Schools throughout the county. HCDE-SACC provides child care to HCDE students before and after school from approximately 7am – 9am and 3pm – 6pm, Monday – Friday, throughout the school year. The HCDE-SACC also provides childcare for HCDE students during non-school days from 7am – 6pm. Typically, these programs have between 20 – 30 children at a time with possibly 2 – 3 children with disabilities in each school’s program. The HCDE-SACC Site Directors are the school-based administrators of this program. The HCDE-SACC teachers monitor and supervise the students in the program. As volunteers, you will assist the teachers by helping to entertain the children with disabilities in the program. Some typical volunteer duties would be: escorting a child to the restroom or water fountain, helping a child play or make crafts, playing board games with a child, etc. Volunteers usually work one-on-one with children or may work with a couple of children at a time. To become a volunteer in this program, you must pass a background check, be fingerprinted and cleared, and provide a letter of recommendation from a creditable reference (Principal, College Advisor/Professor, Employer, etc.) If you are available weekdays between the hours of 7am – 9am or 3pm – 6pm or during non-school days from 7am – 6pm, please sign up to volunteer with CAC’s & HCDE-SACC’s program.
5. OTHER OPPORTUNITIES – The Chattanooga Autism Center partners with several organizations to provide various opportunities for children with disabilities to enjoy life and have fun. Periodically, we will sponsor child-focused activities when we need volunteers for child-care, teacher’s helpers, babysitters, and event assistants. If you would like to volunteer in any of our programs or events, please register to become a volunteer. We will email you our weekly newsletter. You can then volunteer for any of the activities that work with your schedule. Even if you only volunteer once a year, it will bring a smile to a child’s face and a caregiver’s face to know that you cared enough to help. If you would like more information on how to volunteer, please feel free to contact us at your earliest convenience.