ELG’s Summer Program is a wonderful place for children and young adults to both have fun and gain support from therapists, such as Regina Nicolas Schaufelberger, this year’s Summer Program director. Regina is a physical therapist and sensory integration specialist, and has been part of the ELG family for ten years. Although she jokes that she’s from the Jurassic Era, Regina has been such an integral part of our community that it feels as if she really has been here that long.
As program director, Regina has many important roles in the Summer Program. She ensures that everything runs smoothly and provides a bridge of communication between the many teams that allow ELG’s Summer Program to be successful. “One thing that always amazes me is that when the volunteers come, I am always impressed with the amount of knowledge they have. I want to thank the HR staff for having such a good screening process,” Regina shares.
Regina and her team also plan the Summer Program’s weekly activities. For example, Week 3 was superhero-themed, so children and young adults created their own heroes made out of paper, role-played as super humans, and watched Minions and Wreck-It Ralph. They also get to practice cooking; this week, the young adults helped make a yogurt fruit salad, and the younger children made chocolate ice cream. On Wednesday, children and young adults in the Summer Program mixed colors to explore the results of different combinations.
All of these activities have therapeutic benefits. They build children’s speech, fine motor, gross motor skills, as well as provide sensory integration. “They’re really a motivation for them to communicate and to give them opportunities to move,” Regina says of the lessons she plans. “All of the activities that we do are not only facilitated by a special educator, but are also facilitated by someone who is trained to work with children and young adults who have special needs.” Regina also mentors Sophie Rosen and Zach Hill, who lead the brand new Grounds for Growth Garden, along with one of ELG’s current participants from the Summer Program.
ELG is just as important to Regina as she is to us. She says of working here, “I fell in love with the culture and with the family-like feeling of working at ELG. Working here really gives you a chance to think on your own.” Regina is especially thankful for the professional growth she’s gained from working with other specialists, ayis, and everyone in between. “I also particularly enjoy the amount of progress each child demonstrates. It’s not only a summer program that’s fun. It really gives more structure for the children and it really supports them for further learning in their mainstream environment.” Regina, thank you for your inspiring work at ELG!