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WALMART FOUNDATION PROVIDES $50,000 GRANT TO SPECIAL NEEDS NETWORK FOR SUMMER CAMP PROGRAM
Grant will help keep needed services for more than 200 children in underserved communities in South Los Angeles
LOS ANGELES, June 24, 2011- Today, the Walmart Foundation announced a $50,000 grant to the Special Needs Network, Inc., an organization dedicated to serving children in underserved communities who are impacted by developmental disabilities, such as autism. The grant will be used to fund the salaries of youth employed during Camp JPAC (Justin Patton Academy).
Camp JPAC is the only free summer enrichment program for children with disabilities, their siblings, and peers in the Los Angeles area. Children ages 5 through 17 are offered courses in math, science, technology, art, drama, dance, music, and life skills. It also provides the opportunity to learn new skills from special guest instructors.
“Camp JPAC could not provide a quality program if the Walmart Foundation had not stepped in as a major partner,” said Areva Martin, Esq., Special Needs Network chair. “Hundreds of children with disabilities, as well as at-risk youth would have lost a significant program that undoubtedly would impact their lives. Their commitment will provide an invaluable solution to a community project and I am deeply grateful.”
Special Needs Network has witnessed dramatic cuts in recreational and enrichment programs, whose funding was recently reduced by $500 million by the California Department of Developmental Services, at a time when applications to the camp have increased significantly.
Funding from the Walmart Foundation ensures Camp JPAC will continue to provide much needed services to the community by creating 40 paid camp counselor positions for at-risk youth from various neighborhoods in South Los Angeles. During the summer employment, the young adults will work with special education teachers, social workers, and other professionals to receive exposure to careers in social service and education, job readiness skills, and early childhood development.
“The Camp JPAC summer youth employment program is consistent with Walmart’s goal of providing jobs and professional skills training in inner-city and underserved communities,” said Javier Angulo, director of community affairs for Walmart. “Walmart is committed to partnering with organizations such as Special Needs Network to continue making Los Angeles a better place to work and live.”
The Walmart Foundation has been recognized as the Signature Sponsor of the program, along with the honorary chair of the camp, the Honorable Supervisor, Mark Ridley-Thomas. In addition, local elected officials, State Senator Curren Price, Jr., Assemblymembers Holly Mitchell (D-47) Steven Bradford (D-51), and Mike Davis (D-48), signed on as Honorary Chairpersons for the program. State Senator Curren Price, Jr. is the Chair for the California Black Caucus and in his second year, he serves as the only Senator from South Los Angeles on the Senate Select Committee on Autism. The committee was assembled by statute to continue the work of the State’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Autism, which addresses the gaps in services for individuals with Autism.