Project CHILDD is a community-based outreach program for children and teens with developmental disabilities. Children and teens are given the chance to socialize and to use art to express themselves creatively. Professional art instruction supports therapeutic expression and builds self-esteem. Activities may include creative art therapy, music and movement sessions, and interactive storytelling. Teen Project CHILDD hosts movie and pizza nights providing socialization opportunities with other teen peers and mentors.
A dedicated group of teen volunteers act as mentors, providing guidance and friendship. The program is managed by a registered professional nurse, social worker and community volunteers. Families of the children receive “a gift of time” designed to give them a brief respite from caregiving. The positive impact this program has on our participants and families is immeasurable. One of our participant’s parents shares how meaningful Project CHILDD has been in her life:
“My autistic daughter Diane has had the good fortune to be a Project CHILDD participant for many years. For her, this has meant new friends, loving care by nurses, creative art projects, exercise, yummy treats, parties, smiles and laughs, and meaningful relationships with neurotypical teen mentors. For me and my husband, because we know she’s in capable hands having fun, this has meant peace of mind and 2 and 1/2 hour periods to go on dates, meet up with friends, and spend uninterrupted time with each other and our neurotypical son. Priceless! And in our own town and free to boot! It is this unparalleled program that motivated me to join the Board of Project Community in gratitude. Thank you Pelham Project CHILDD!” – Susan Deland
The program is held at two locations:
Pelham Art Center 155 Fifth Avenue, Pelham, NY 10803
The Children’s Hospital at Montefiore 3415 Bainbridge Avenue, Bronx, NY 10467.
Please fill out a registration form prior to attending: PROJECT CHILDD Registration and Emergency/Medical Form
Become a Teen Mentor!
Project CHILDD provides teen mentors with an opportunity to volunteer, to increase their social sensitivity, and to make new, differently-abled friends. Our teen mentoring program is a wonderfully enriching experience where youth learn firsthand how to help their community and see the child beyond the special need. One of our dedicated teen mentors recently shared the following experience for his college application essay:
“Being a teen mentor at Project CHILDD is the activity which holds the most personal value to me. Project CHILDD is a program where I guide developmentally disabled and autistic children through therapeutic art and movement activities. My favorite part of Project CHILDD is the connections that I have made with the children over the last four years. I watch their smiles grow with excitement every time I walk into the room. I have gotten to learn small details of their lives, and have gained greater insight into the struggles that they face daily. Sometimes I will see them in the hallway at school and give them a fist-bump, and then watch them run away to tell their teacher that they just saw their “out of school friend” at school. Small moments like these are invaluable, because it shows me the impact that I have on their lives.” – Justin O’Beirne, Teen Mentor
If you are interested in becoming a teen mentor, please review and complete an application: Volunteer Teen Packet
To find out more about Project CHILDD, and the program’s tremendous impact on the children, families and teen mentors involved, please watch this video: