GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Our next finalist for the Connecting with Community Awards is the Comprehensive Therapy Center.

Comprehensive Therapy Center was started in 1982, and works with children to help them through their developmental disabilities. They offer educational as well as therapeutic programs to help children walk, talk, learn, and play.

It started with a summer camp called Therapy and Fun, which meets three times a week during the summer, from June to August. This camp model allows therapists and volunteers to come together to provide dance, music, and reading to the children in the camp. Volunteers for the summer camp can be children as young as 5th graders. The camp recruits their volunteers from area middle and high schools, such as Kent Intermediate School District. They also have partnered with GVSU speech pathology graduate students, Davenport occupational program students, and the GRCC OT program to gain volunteers that can invest in their children.

Macie Zack, a senior at East Grand Rapids High School and a six year volunteer, says she’s learned a lot about the kids and how to interact with them through the summer camp.

“There are a couple of kids that have come every single year I’ve been there and you can just see them getting older and definitely progressing.”

Macie also is on the Youth Grant Committee with the Grand Rapids Community Foundation, which has supported the Comprehensive Therapy Foundation through giving them grants.

Therapy and Fun has provided parents with peace of mind as well, working with their children to maintain the education they gained during the school year. Comprehensive Therapy is able to do this because of their certified speech and language pathologists on staff that help to oversee the summer program. At the end of the summer camp, each parent receives documentation of their child’s progress.

“He was very delayed in his speech and motor skills and he actually for the first three summers he was here, made more progress in the nine weeks than he did in the rest of the school year,” says Ryan Tubbs, mother of one of the children in Therapy and Fun. She is thrilled with the program and has been sending her son there for five years. “The nice thing about Therapy and Fun is that they really are able to work with children, help them determine what will work for them, adapt their plans, and give them such targeted therapy that really is not available anywhere else.”

Brittany Fischer, another mom with a child in the program, finds Comprehensive Therapy to be a program that gives her support. “It’s just the feeling of relief to suddenly as a parent who has had these children who have struggled for so long, and we as parents who have struggled, to have that support and have that community that we didn’t even know was out there is such a wonderful thing for all of us.”

Therapy and Fun runs from June 26th thru August 10th and is always looking for volunteers. We will have more Connecting with Community finalist stories every Friday evening until May. Check back each week so you don’t miss any! The Connecting with Community Awards show will be aired in May, where we will announce our winner.