Elings Park partners with PeerBuddies

Children with special needs – ages four to seventeen – will have the opportunity to fully integrate into Elings Park summer camp activities with support from same-aged Peer Buddy volunteers and supervision from trained UCSB and Westmont students.

Inclusion Camp runs from July 9th-13th and July 23rd-27th, Monday-Friday, from 1:00-4:00pm. Elings Summer Camp activities range from hikes to group games to special presentations to team sports, and Inclusion Campers are included in it all. Peer Buddy volunteers – children ages eight to eighteen – provide 1:1 social support to each camper, and every dyad is overseen by a UCSB or Westmont Facilitator trained by PeerBuddies Director, Elika Shahrestani.

PeerBuddies, launched in July 2011, is a local organization that pairs individuals with special needs (Autism, Asperger Syndrome, Down Syndrome, or individuals who are simply “shy”) with typically developing and highly motivated peer buddies who teach them social skills in community-based settings. The program is supervised by Elika Shahrestani, a Board Certified Behavior Analyst.

“We are so excited for this opportunity to work with Elings and integrate our campers,” stated Elika Shahrestani, Executive Director.

Elings Park is the largest privately funded park in America. Stated Predrag Novakovic, Senior Director of Operations at Elings, “We are very proud to offer our Inclusion Camp Program in partnership with PeerBuddies, fulfilling a need for programs such as this one in our community.”

If you’d like more information about this topic, or to schedule an interview, please call PeerBuddies at 805-620-7337 (or email at Elika@peerbuddies.com) or Elings Park at 805-569-5611 (or email at pnovakovic@elingspark.org).


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