A home away from home for children with medical complexities

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WATCH ABOVE: For children with medical complexities, The Darling Home for Kids has become an extension of their family. Susan Hay has the story.

Is there anything better than hearing laughter from children simply having fun?

Located in Milton, summer camp at The Darling Home for Kids is a place of comfort and joy for children with complex medical needs.

“These are children that need 24-7 care by nurses and personal support workers for their survival,” said Kristin Horrell, CEO of The Darling Home for Kids.

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And because of that, summer camp at the home means fun with respite care seven days a week.

“During summer when kids are out of school, there is a huge demand for care for these families. They are doing it on a 24-7 basis and they need a break, and our summer camp program provides families with that break,” Horrell said. “While kids are at The Darling Home, they get to have unique experiences they couldn’t do other places.”

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Summer camp at the home runs through July and August, and whether it’s water play, blowing bubbles, face painting or having fun outdoors – The Darling Home allows kids to be kids.

“It’s important the children we serve are allowed to be kids,” said Sarah Bourbonniere, a recreation therapist at The Darling Home.

“Sometimes it requires a little extra support and we make that happen.”

“My job as recreation therapist is really about quality of life,” said Bourbonniere. “We use recreation programs to work on therapeutic goals that will have a positive impact on the child’s physical, cognitive, social and emotional well-being.”

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“We see tons of growth in our children,” said Horrell. “Fine motor, gross motor, their ability to express themselves and be more outgoing as a result of Bourbonniere and her team.”

It’s a home-away-from-home for children ranging from 0 to 19 years of age.

“They’re used to a home environment, but we provide that,” said Bourbonniere. “And I think it’s important for kids and families to know they’re not just cared for wonderfully medically, but also they’re busy, they’re happy and they’re doing their own thing while mom and dad are off having a break too.”