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The E.P.I.C Program: An Update from a Community Grant Recipient

Here is an update from one of last year’s Community Grants recipients!

Through a grant provided by Autism Speaks, Eastern Panhandle Indigo Children in Charlestown, West Virginia, partnered with Jefferson County (WV) Parks and Recreation Commission to implement the Blue Ribbon Recreation Program (BRRP). The program is designed for persons of all ages and abilities on the autism spectrum. The partnership allowed individuals with autism to enjoy a successful summer camp and other recreational activities in an inclusive setting with (trained) one-on-one aides.

EPIC staff worked diligently to make every penny from the Autism Speaks grant count toward helping persons on the spectrum. 

The monies were used primarily to pay for one-on-one aides.  These aides were carefully selected and most are professional autism aides from Jefferson County Public Schools.  

All aides received standardized training from Ms. Bonnie Zampino, an ABA trained instructor.  She specializes in autism empathy and sympathy training. Ms. Zampino designed a specific training course for the BRRP aides and Jefferson County Parks and Recreation staff.  

The Blue Ribbon Recreation Program enables persons on the spectrum to enjoy the same opportunities that any typical person does with appropriate and effective assimilation and inclusion support. Trained one-on-one aides are the key to this support. The Blue Ribbon Recreation Program is an historic opportunity for persons in this underserved region’s autism community.

Check out some pictures of the program in action and visit EPIC’s website ( if you’re in the area!


You can learn more about our Community Grant Recipients here


The Autism Speaks blog features opinions from people throughout the autism community. Each blog represents the point of view of the author and does not necessarily reflect Autism Speaks' beliefs or point of view.