Counselor Megan H., Edith Stevenson, Camper Pei Lin S., and Counselor Alexis K. (Left to Right) at morning check-in (Photo courtesy Club Moia)
Counselor Natalia M. and Camper Rosella R. (Left to Right) in Polytechnic Pool - (Photo courtesy Club Moia)
Camper Joshua L. throwing paper airplane with Edith Stevenson during Olympic Day - (Photo courtesy Club Moia)
Camper Sara K. with Counselor Maddie G. (Left to Right) painting Color Me Mine mugs - (Photo courtesy Club Moia)
Drama and Movement Class at Polytechnic School led by Tiffany LaBarbara-Palmer and Brady Frome with Camper Rosella R., Camper Sara K., and Camper Joshua A. (Left to Right) - (Photo courtesy Club Moia)
Hug in Garfield with Camper Darren T., Counselor Alexis K., and Camper Patrick N. (Left to Right) - (Photo courtesy Club Moia)
Polytechnic Pool - (Photo courtesy Club Moia)
High-Five during Olympic-inspired competition with Counselor Alexis K. and Camper Yuki C. - (Photo courtesy Club Moia)
Group Photo at Huntington Gardens - (Photo courtesy Club Moia)
In the summer of 2019, Luke Aloe realized that his older brother, Dominic who has autism, was deprived of opportunities to make friends and experience a life normal teenagers experience.
This has motivated him to create Club Moai, a social group for special needs teens. Since its creation in 2019, the club has been hosting monthly events to create and maintain friendships among teens.
Recently, the Club announced that it was able to successfully host a summer camp for over 30 special needs teens from July 26 to July 30 through the $5,000 grant it received from the Dragon Kim Foundation.
The Club decided to host a summer camp after Luke, along with other Club officials, realized that Dominic, and many other teens with disabilities have not yet experienced summer camping.
“It made me so happy getting to see so many new teens with special needs really just have so much fun and connect with the high school counselors and participate in the fun activities,” Luke told Pasadena Now.
During the five-day event, Luke and the organizers took camping participants and their parent chaperones to various locations in Pasadena including Bowlero, Huntington Gardens and Handel’s Ice Cream.
According to Edith Stevenson, Head of Social Media and Outreach of Club Moai, the teens participated in various art related activities including tie dyeing shirts, making friendship bracelets and painting mugs.
The club has also hosted a dance party for them during the camping, according to Edith.
“In the future, we’d love to host camp Moai again, since all the kids had a really great time,” Edith said.
Ziko Elkobaitry, Treasurer of Club Moai said the club will be hosting more activities in the future for teenagers with special needs so Dominic and the other kids with special needs will experience what high schoolers like him have experienced.
“We wanted to get him (Dominic) and really every other special needs teenager in our area, the same experience that we received and the same opportunities.”
“Those opportunities like making friends, having social encounters, but also just going out and having a normal summer camp experience,” said Ziko.
Ziko said the club is now trying to get grants and donations for the holding of its summer camp next year.
For more information about the club, visit www.clubmoai.org