Olivia Beckerman, alumni student
It was a great opportunity to come back to volunteer at a place where I was 15 years ago. Being around eager, young learners and giving back to the Cheerful Helpers community provided me with valuable learning moments. It was fun to see that Cheerful Helpers’ school still carries on certain traditions like singing the hello/goodbye song each day. They still utilize effectives strategies and tactics 15 years later as they continue their focus on developing fine motor skills, learning how to play together and sharing ideas with others. Those were things I struggled with at that age, and assisting those who are going through the same challenges I experienced is something I want to continue to do. I feel that because I was in their shoes not too long ago, I am equipped with some helpful tools to guide them on the right path to success. I feel that I have sufficient knowledge of the challenges that young and neurodivergent kids have in the areas of communication and social skills. Occasionally, I did find it a little bit challenging to understand the specific needs of a student. In those instances, observing the faculty as they guided the student with how to express their feelings and needs provided me with valuable teaching and learning strategies. The meetings we had before Family Camp helped me gauge and assess the individual kids’ and families’ situations and find ways in which I could support them. We discussed plans for the day and the individual needs for each child and how to approach their needs. Just like what we teach the kids: sharing ideas with others is important in any type of group setting involving problem-solving and strategy-building.
I am a psychology major at American University in Washington DC and I am considering a minor in early education. My time as a volunteer at Cheerful Helpers gave me a wonderful glimpse inside a career working with children with the same needs I had very early in life. I hope to continue my education in early childhood development.
For over 65 years, Cheerful Helpers has collaborated with parents to support children experiencing developmental challenges. Our interventions include an immersive parent component which allows the parents to be part of their child’s growth. Recognizing that this piece can pose a treatment barrier for parents during the work week, we are excited to begin offering Saturday programming here at Cheerful Helpers.
We will start with a community social skills group where children will be able to play, connect, and practice expressing emotions in a safe environment. This program will be coordinated by Sam Zarate. In addition, we will be offering play therapy and other parenting groups including a father and child group, led by Richard A. Vieville Jr., LMFT. The goal of the Father and Me group is to support play and relationship building in an enriching environment. The group builds on Richard’s past work experience with fathers. Through modeling and narration Richard, has helped fathers develop their authentic voice creating an opportunity for a richer connection with their children. For more information about any of our Saturday programs click here or email Sam Zarate at firstname.lastname@example.org or Richard Vieville Jr. at Richard.email@example.com.
Cheerful Helpers' parents April and Dylan Budd have come up with a unique fundraiser in support of Cheerful Helpers.
Sign up to become a monthly donor and, in recognition of your support, you will receive a Cheerful Helpers' t - shirt or hoodie designed by Las Vegas artist, Freddie Galvan. Click this link for all of the details!