Brooklyn, NY, October 07, 2018 — Every summer, OHEL Children’s Home and Family Services provides a breadth of summer programs for hundreds of individuals.

These camps and retreats allow adults with mental illness and developmental disabilities to relax and enjoy an array of retreat activities, and enable children challenged with developmental disabilities to thrive, while their parents enjoy much needed respite.

This year, summer ended with a flurry of activity with the annual Adult Mental Health Retreat at Camp Zeke and the Annual End of Summer Program in Camp Kaylie and Camp Nageela.

The Adult Mental Health Retreat provides three days of all inclusive fun and activities for over 125 adults with mental illness from the Rieder Mental Health Services Center in the Jaffa Family Campus and OHEL residences.

This year, attendees enjoyed action packed days with yoga, culinary arts, sports trivia, dance classes, art classes, water aerobics, swimming, ballet, nature hikes, board games, paddle boarding, make overs and more. With awesome activities came delicious food including a large BBQ, Hawaiian themed dinner, a Rosh HaShanah themed lunch and more.

Said Yitz Elman, Director of the Rieder Center for Mental Health Services, “Seeing the excitement and joy from the moment individuals got off the bus was infectious. At the retreat, individuals are immersed in the fun and have a chance to truly relax.”

Many of these activities, in addition to being extremely fun, are also designed to help people learn valuable skills to continue to foster key goals of independent living and socialization.

For example, cooking activities include lessons and tips on nutrition and healthy diet, while yoga classes helped people learn valuable mindfulness skills and coping mechanisms for new situations. A highlight this year was the popular art therapy, led by OHEL’s Adina Druxman.

One individual said, “Without OHEL, I don’t know where I would be. This trip is the highlight of my year and I look forward to it every year!”

OHEL’s End of Summer program is a week long summer program for over 120 children with developmental disabilities, physical disabilities, and significant medical or communication challenges.

Accompanied by over 200 dedicated staff, the children who are in two separate camp locations, Camp Kaylie for girls and Camp Nageela for boys, enjoy the very best of what camp has to offer in a safe, nurturing, and fun environment, while their families are given much welcome respite.

Said Hillary Zimmern, Area Coordinator, “This is a labor of love, where devoted staff give 100% of their attention 100% of the time, allowing a vital respite for families and providing the summer experience often denied to children who need it most.”

Special thanks to Mrs. Rose Pollak and Mr. and Mrs. Bert Gross. Their constant devotion to the continuation of this trip ensures everyone is able to have an amazing summer for their children. Mr. Gross remarked, “OHEL is a Bracha, and we know from personal experience how important this trip is to our children.” Mrs. Pollak added, “We are proud to do our part and help raise the funds required to make this trip a success. These giants, along with hundreds of other donors big and small, helps enrich the lives of OHEL’s individuals and lead them to live their best lives.”

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