Walking, running for early intervention program

Darrell
Darrell Cole
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Charity event to support SMILE

The fifth SMILE walk and run is set for Saturday in Sackville. It's in support of Cumberland early intervention's SMILE program.

Amherst Rotary Club president Paul Calder (left) and Rotarian Bob Janes speak to Erin Perry of the Cumberland Early Intervention Program. CEIP is hosting its annual SMILE walk/run on Saturday at the Wallace McCain Student Centre at Mount Allison University.

AMHERST – For several years, volunteers from Mount Allison University and the Cumberland Early Intervention Program have joined forces to bring smiles to developmentally challenged children at the Cumberland YMCA.

The SMILE program has touched dozens of CEIP clients over the years and is hosting its fifth annual walk and run on Saturday at the Wallace McCain Student Centre at Mount Allison University in Sackville, N.B.

The event begins with registration at 9 a.m. followed by the walk and run at 10 a.m.

There’s a $10 registration fee with 1, five and 1-kilometer routes available.

All proceeds will be used to support CEIP and SMILE.

“SMILE has really made a difference in a lot of children’s lives in 16 years,” Erin Perry of CEIP told members of the Amherst Rotary Club. “It’s a recreational swim program for children ages three to 21 with special needs.”

Perry said the program offers two hours of gym and pool time on Saturday mornings at the Cumberland YMCA. There’s also one-on-one interaction with student volunteers from Mount Allison.

“SMILE promotes growth and skill development in a fun and safe atmosphere and it’s the only recreational swim program for children intellectual and physical disabilities in Cumberland County,” Perry said.

She said program offers a social opportunity for clients and is provides respite to parents and caregivers.

Perry said the CEIP program is a non-profit organization with charity status. The program started in 1990 and is governed by a board of directors.

It serves all of Cumberland County and provides programs to more than 100 families at any given time with four full-time staff and 70 volunteers.

She said the program is important for families with children from birth to school entry with special needs, developmental delays or are at risk for delays.

CEIP, she said, offers home and community visits, family support, education on child development, information on children’s diagnosis, assessments of children’s development, referrals to other specialists, the creation of family service plans and encourages family and children’s skills through modeling home routine-based activities.

Perry said CEIP support workers will set up and attend clinic visits, attend doctors appointments, access funding for respite care and equipment, arrange preschool/daycare visits and help with transition planning for school.

It also offers a resource lending library and organizes family events, recreational opportunities and summer respite.

Besides SMILE, Perry said, CEIP offers the Parenting Journey Program (for families of children ages three to 16), and the SHINE (Support Health Independence Nurture Empowerment) Program that aims to increase self-esteem, encourage social skills, promote independence and teamwork skills.

For information the walk and run, go to Cumberlandeip.ca or call 667-8244.

darrell.cole@tc.tc

Twitter: ADNdarrell

Organizations: Mount Allison University, Wallace McCain Student Centre, Amherst Rotary Club

Geographic location: Cumberland County, Sackville

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