VIRGINIA BEACH (WAVY) — This year SEALKIDS celebrates 10 years supporting the children and families of Navy SEALs.
Among other services, SEALKIDS helps the children of those in the Naval Special Warfare community overcome academic challenges.
SEALKIDS reached out to 10 On Your Side to bring attention to an important way you can help this vitally important support program.
The SEALKIDS promotional video features children helped by the programs offered by SEALKIDS.
“Our real specialty is that we do targeted intervention, to help learn a child’s learning disability we get customized tutoring specialized to the needs of those children.”
Virginia Beach resident Jen Van Horn’s son, Harper, is one of 920 children assisted by SEALKIDS over the last 10 years. 40% live in Hampton Roads.
“Our son is 12, he is beautiful, he is full of light and love, but he needs extra help … Harper has autism, and he also has Kleefstra genetic syndrome, which is a sensory processing disorder.”
TRICARE insurance did not cover all of Harper’s therapy,
“That’s where the SEALKIDS come in. They are angels. They help filling in all the blanks and that’s where the funds are needed … the bridge, the financial gaps.”
SEALKIDS executive Director Dr. Gretchen McIntosh flew in from Columbus, Ohio, where SEALKIDS is headquartered.
“We know we should be serving about 580 kids, but we have funds to provide services for just over 300 children.”
On Monday, June 28, there’s a fundraiser at Ballyhoos raising money to provide more expert tutoring, more therapies and more services for SEALKIDS.
McIntosh adds, “We are giving parents one less thing to worry about. We are making sure that their children have lifelong academic success.”
SEALKIDS East Coast family advocate Lori Camper, who works here in Hampton Roads, says COVID-19 has been a real issue where more tutoring is needed.
“With the in-home schooling online, there are a lot of children who are struggling, especially children with special needs. They may not be getting the special education services they get in school.”
Which brings us back to Jen Van Horn.
“I get a little emotional about it,” she said. “Without SEALKIDS we would be looking at a different child.”
- Monday, June 28 at Ballyhoos in Virginia Beach
- 2865 Lynnhaven Drive
- 4-9 p.m.
- 100% of the proceeds go to SEALKIDS