Testimonials 2018 -
Every year, there is one thing our son Christopher looks forward to more than anything…summer camp. He enjoys it so much that he has created an annual “Countdown to Camp” chart that he proudly displays in his bedroom. Visual charts like these help my son because of the diagnosis he received when he was just a toddler. Christopher is on the autism spectrum.
Each summer, in addition to his extended school year, Christopher participates in a summer camp that is created especially for children with autism. The camp focuses on strengthening social skills and developing the communication deficits that often go hand-in-hand with this diagnosis.
Although my son’s camp had been paid for in previous years through the state, this year the state “could not find” the paperwork we sent them in March and, ultimately, they refused to cover his cost. I was absolutely panic stricken. I knew how much this camp meant to Christopher, and I also knew I could not afford it on my own.
I was sobbing uncontrollably as I called one organization after another, begging for financial assistance to send him to camp. I found nothing. It was June, and financial resources for summer camp had already been distributed earlier in the year.
My son’s case manager told me about Paulie and Pals, so I decided to call. I spoke with the Founder of Paulie and Pals, Ms. Denise Albanese. I told her about the state losing my son’s paperwork. I told her how I have called one organization after another trying to find some financial help for summer camp. I told her that I already work 3 jobs, 7 days a week, since my husband got sick. I was even about to tell her about Christopher’s “Countdown to Camp” chart when she suddenly stopped me. Ms. Albanese calmly asked me how much I needed. When I told her the amount, she simply said to me with comfort and assurance in her voice, “We will help you.” I felt like I could breathe again.
I felt a wave of relief deep in my heart that no words could describe. Paulie and Pals was the light at the end of the tunnel. It was an answered prayer for my family.
As a mom with a child on the spectrum, I am unfortunately used to fighting. Moms are forced to fight for everything amidst already difficult circumstances related to the autism diagnoses of our children. We fight so that our children can receive sufficient services and resources. We fight so that our children can receive appropriate placements in the schools. We fight so that the therapies our children need get proper insurance coverage. We fight for everything, and it is exhausting.
The day I called Paulie and Pals, it was a single beautiful day in which I did not have to fight. Instead, Ms. Albanese and Paulie and Pals gave me a compassionate shoulder to lean on in a time of distress. They gave me peace in a time of chaos. They showed a weary mom like me mercy and hope in a time of desperation.
There are still good people in the world, and Paulie and Pals are among them. I am forever grateful to Ms. Albanese and Paulie and Pals for their kindness, generosity and humanity.