UPDATED March 2017: A guide to after-school classes and programs for kids in Rockland County, NY, including sports and fitness classes, dance and music classes, gymnastics, performing arts, marrial arts, and academic programs in and near New City, Nyack, Orangeburg, Piermont, Airmont, Pomona, Spring Valley, Suffern, Haverstraw, Pearl River, Stony Point, Tappan, Valley Cottage, Blauvelt, and beyond.
We are also blessed to have NY Police Detective Steven McDonald traveling with us most years. He serves as ASCPG’s “good will ambassador” and truly inspires all who are in his presence.
The Lourdes Kids of Rockland was organized by Ed O'Dea, who now serves as the local contact of this non-profit dedicated to providing beautiful benefit to the youth of our community. Ed is a Pearl River resident, a well-known and highly respected father of three, a children's services advocate, a children’s' recreational sports organizer, a retired New York City Police Detective, and is currently employed as the Director of Security at a private School in Manhattan. He is the perfect choice for our purposes.
Hon. Denis Troy of Orangetown is another local notable donating his time to help organize these efforts. Denis is the longest serving member of the Town Board/Council, father of three sons and a daughter and grandfather of five granddaughters and one grandson. He is also a long term Coach and Referee of Youth Recreational Sports and a member of the Board of Directors of Camp Venture. Denis is responsible for recruiting the "Pilgrims" the young people with special needs for whom we exist to serve.
Ed has recruited Joan Moore and Maureen McEnroe, mother of a special needs young adult, to Chair the Nurse's Committee; Quinton Van Wynan, Operations Director of the Pearl River School District to serve as the Treasurer; Kerry Beckman of the Orangetown Mighty Midgets Soccer League to Chair the Volunteers & Youth Committees; the men of the Hibernian House in Pearl River to Chair the Fundraising Committee; and John Murphy of Camp Venture and Bill Schule, also of Camp Venture and of WebPilot are Co-Cordinators of Communications, as well as Sean Quinn serving as the Principal Rockland Consultant. Sean has made the pilgrimage himself and was so moved that he recommended Ed bring it to Rockland.
LIFE IN ROCKLAND
Each year, Lourdes Kids of Rockland plans to send a number of "pilgrims", children and young adults with special physical and developmental needs, to travel to Lourdes with ASCPG. In 2014 we currently plan to send 2 pilgrims, 2 nurses, and 4 helpers. There they join with 2,000 special needs pilgrims for a truly life-changing experience. What makes the pilgrimage unique is that the young people travel with without their parents; instead, caring volunteers from all walks of life — doctors, nurses, priests, professionals, retirees, teachers, carpenters, students – travel with and care for them in a family-type atmosphere. These helpers pay part of their own way and work tirelessly to raise the funds for every special pilgrim to experience Lourdes free-of-charge.
Every Easter, the beautiful and holy city of Lourdes (France) opens its arms ~ and streets, hotels and restaurants ~ to thousands of special needs youngsters and volunteer helpers who literally descend upon the town as part of a unique international pilgrimage program. Since the 1950s groups have been arriving from Great Britain, Ireland, Eastern Europe, the West Indies and since 1998…the USA! Founded in 1995 as the American “arm” of HCPT-The Pilgrimage Trust (based in England), the American Special Children’s Pilgrimage Group (ASCPG) is a non-profit organization that sponsors the annual Easter trip specifically for the US youth. Lourdes Kids of Rockland (LKR) (known as Group 602 in the ASCPG family) is the Rockland County arm of ASCPG and is also a non-profit and works closely with the parent group to coordinate and administrate these trips.