Feeding a Need: Todd Arky ’98 finds ways in both the for-profit and nonprofit worlds to help children
, which provides free weeklong bereavement camps for kids who have lost a parent, sibling, or primary caregiver.
I got involved with Experience Camps after having watched my mother volunteer at Circle of Tapawingo, a bereavement camp for young girls. When she heard that a boys’ camp (Camp Manitou) was going to start a bereavement program for boys, I called the executive director and offered to help out. I volunteered as a camp counselor at our first program in 2009. We hosted 27 campers, and it was one of the most impactful weeks of my life. I was never someone who talked a lot about my loss, but I found myself talking about it all the time with these kids, answering whatever questions they had. I’ve gone back every summer as a camp counselor. My wife has volunteered as a camp counselor, my sister has volunteered, and I’ve brought lots of friends into the mix. This coming summer, Experience Camps will be hosting over 1,000 campers at our five locations across the country.
Thử kết hợp xổ sốI also started an online resource as an outgrowth of Experience Camps: . Having seen kids confide in each other, learn from each other, and take comfort in knowing they’re not alone, I figured there had to be athletes and celebrities who lost someone when they were young. I’ve interviewed a bunch of folks: Kyrie Irving of the Brooklyn Nets; Freddie Freeman of the Atlanta Braves; Brian Griese, former quarterback of the Denver Broncos; Rohan Marley, Bob Marley’s son, who I happened to have grown up with; Gabrielle Reece, former professional volleyball player and model; Roberto Clemente Jr., whose father is in the National Baseball Hall of Fame; and many others. We’ve made short videos of them talking about their life, their loss, and lessons they have learned, and giving advice and encouragement to kids living through a similar experience. There are a number of clinicians who use it with their kids, especially those kids who aren’t too quick to talk about their experience. I’ve heard some really positive feedback from clinicians and therapists who say that these videos help to open the door to conversation.
My getting involved with both nonprofits and for-profits with important social missions has happened in a very authentic way, and I'm thrilled to be able to work alongside amazing people to help those who need and deserve it.