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John’s Story

Community Recreation Program

John, age 12, moved into the Seneca County area in the middle of 2013. He was not connected to the school yet and didn’t have any young people to play with in the Interlaken countryside. His mother was worried about starting over in a new place. John had poor communication skills and he is socially awkward, more so than the average child. Very concerned about being targeted and bullied because of his disabilities, John’s mother talked to a local librarian who directed her to ARC.

John’s family connected with Seneca Cayuga ARC and the first service we they offered was Children’s Community Recreation. Because of United Way funding, there was no red tape. Because John, had a documented disability and lived in Seneca County it was all that was needed to start.

Within two weeks of contact, John joined two other boys his age on a trip to the Ithaca Science Center. One of the boys had wanted to go “forever” and had saved his allowance to make the trip. The plan was for them to spend two hours in Ithaca and to get a bite to eat on the way home. By the time the second hour approached, the boys were so engaged in the activities and each other, the staff knew they would find it hard to leave.

A call was made to the office to see if they could use more time. Calls were made to parents and they were thrilled to know the boys were getting along. John’s mother was especially grateful that her son had found some friends. After their busy day in Ithaca, the boys were all delivered home safe and exhausted.

Before the staff person made it back to the office, she received a call from John’s mother. She and John wanted to know when the next activity was scheduled and could he go? John has also has been connected to other services to assist him in becoming more social and learning independent living skills. His mother tells us that she now sees a future for him separate from her.

When John started school he already knew a few of the other children he had met from the recreation program. They have introduced him to their friends and so on and so on. Upon visiting the school, his ARC worker noted that you wouldn’t know he is “the new kid.” Mom reports, John is “blossoming.”


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