Rising Treetops Helps: Elijah & Amadaeuz
This month’s story is about two brothers, 17-year-old Elijah and 13-year-old Amadaeuz, who live in The Bronx with their family, and are both diagnosed with autism. Elijah first came to Rising Treetops in 2018 and has since attended both summer camp and overnight respite sessions. In 2023 he was joined at a summer camp session for the first time by his brother Amadaeuz.
Our camp counselors reported that Amadaeuz had a great time attending camp with his brother, and that both brothers especially liked the iPad media arts activity. Elijah also enjoyed his time playing games in the gym, time with friends on the swings and was always willing to try new activities. Amadaeuz was very interested in anything technology-related, was a quick learner, and was always friendly to other campers and staff.
We recently spoke to their mother, Gabriella, about her sons experiences at Rising Treetops. She told us that Elijah has always enjoyed coming to Rising Treetops, has made many friends and has kept up those friendships, and loves it at “Treetops”. Gabriella told us that she feels both boys are growing, learning to explore more things, and having the space to learn for themselves, they are more independent.
Gabriella also reported that Amadaeuz was very happy to be able to go to Rising Treetops with his brother last summer and that they both really enjoyed their time at the camp. Gabriella also remarked that both boys loved the pool and the animals they got to see at the petting zoo during our summer carnival, and they were especially happy to tell their mom all about the “house” they stayed in and that they were able to cook and bake together and make friends with others their age. They were referring to our newly renovated and redesigned Pines Cabin, our first ever self-contained residence that contains a full kitchen, living room and laundry machines, and their participation in our Practical Life Skills (PLuS) Program.
Gabriella took a tour of the camp when Elijah came to us for services for the first time in 2018. She was happy she got to meet our staff and see some of the places Elijah would be spending time. Being on the camp made her feel like she knew he would be safe and “in good hands”. She also said that the staff and nurses over the years always make her feel her sons are safe and happy, and gave the examples that she appreciates the calls she receives to verify the medications are being given correctly, and that there is always someone she can talk to who will let her know how and what they are doing, even if she can’t talk to her sons herself.
Gabriella also told us how nice it is for her and her husband to spend time together, make appointments for themselves and take a small vacation. Gabriella ended the call by stating: “Treetops is a big blessing for me, my family and my children” and Rising Treetops has been “another home for Elijah”.
We look forward to seeing campers like Elijah and Amadaeuz continue to grow and become more independent. We hope to see both brothers and all of our amazing campers back in Oakhurst next summer, if not at a respite session sooner!
About Rising Treetops at Oakhurst
Just a mile from the Atlantic Ocean is a beautiful 15-acre wooded environment where people with special needs can have fun, be cared for, and learn new ways to grow and become more independent. At Rising Treetops at Oakhurst, we have trained, attentive staff that provide full personal care and reside in our modern cabins with clients. Our team knows how to meet the needs of every client that come to Rising Treetops, both children and adults, with a broad range of special needs, including autism.