Changing Lives

POISE scholarships change lives. ¬†Take a look at how one recipient’s parents¬†describe the impact on their family:


Dear POISE Donors,


POISE has changed our daughter’s life in the very best possible ways, and the impact on our family has been dramatic. We have endured considerable and prolonged financial hardship, and our daughter, Emily, would not have ever gone to camp without the assistance of POISE.


Emily’s challenges emerged when she was in kindergarten; she refused to color because she was already reading and computing math problems. She’d sit under the tables with her shoes off and refuse to come out. A public school guidance counselor called us to discuss discipline for Emily and told us that we “really can’t expect much from kids like this. Many of them end up in jail or never finish school, so it’s not worth investing much time or effort into them.” Heartbroken and dismayed, our family set out on a journey to help Emily overcome her challenges. The journey has been one of change, growth, and inner work that we never could have imagined.


While we love her dearly, Emily is a challenging child with an Asperger’s perception of the world. Academically brilliant, her communication style is blunt without consideration of the recipient’s point of view or feelings and she can be immovable when she sets her mind on one point of view. She can be very emotionally intense. This produces conflict both at home and in school. We have learned a lot and yet there is still so much more to learn.


Thanks to POISE, Emily has now attended Camp Akeela for three summers. Quite simply, the camp directors and staff “get” her. They model appropriate and healthy boundaries and behaviors. They have mentored and modeled how to live in community and carry a fair share of responsibilities; that cleaning up is being a good friend and not just something arbitrary; that stretching out of one’s comfort zone with physical activity can be safe and enjoyable. The counselors teach how to self-advocate, how to set a boundary in a way that is fair and reasonable, how to care for others, and how to consider the other person’s feelings and point of view.


The camp experience teaches that boys and girls can be friends without drama. It teaches responsibility toward younger campers and that she has to model good behavior for the sake of others. The friendships Emily has made at Akeela endure into the school year. She and her bunkmates talk of going to colleges together and having reunions when they are older.


Going to camp gives Emily the time to work specifically on the issues that she faces so that when she returns to school, she has more tools to help her.


As parents, nothing prepared us for a child like this. We have a team assembled around Emily at school and in therapy, but somehow there’s never time for those professionals to show us exactly how to use the tools and tips they suggest. Camp Akeela teaches us how to be better parents for Emily, in addition to providing us with three weeks of much-needed respite!


We are eternally grateful for Emily’s camp experience and, by extension, for POISE. It’s been humbling to receive such amazing care for our daughter, but for the cost to be within our grasp is truly a gift from God.


You are making an enormous difference in this world.



Emily’s Parents