Helping Dream Oaks Dream Further–students help special needs camp

Ten Manatee Technical Institute student volunteers from the Network Support Services class spent a day last week cleaning up Dream Oaks Special Needs Camp. The students, who are all members of SkillsUSA, were taking part in Manatee County United Way’s “Hands On Manatee” volunteer initiative.

Class instructor Joel Hall said, “I was looking for a way to help the class bond with each other and inspire them to volunteer in the community. It’s a great feeling when the work is completed and you really feel good about helping someone.” Several of the students had personal connections with or interest in the camp. One student had attended the camp when he was younger.

Dream Oaks executive director Susannah Cripe stated that there are “lots of little projects around the camp the need to be completed to get ready for camp this summer.” Dream Oaks Camp is a nonprofit organization that provides therapeutic camping programs for children ages 7-17 with special needs and chronic/terminal illnesses. The camp is located in Bradenton on the Manatee River.

For more information on how you can help Dream Oaks, please contact Ms. Cripe at (941) 284-4235.


MTI student and former Dreams Oaks attendant Joel Ibarra said, “The camp did so much for me. I love feeling this atmosphere again. It reminds me of all the hard work and dedication I put into this camp previously. It’s exciting to be able to give back to the community.”

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