MAYVILLE – A Jamestown physical education teacher walking around Chautauqua Lake to raise money so kids with disabilities can attend a special camp next week kicked off his journey Monday morning.
Patrick Smeraldo is on a three-day trip around the lake, raising money to hold the first annual Kids and Sibs summer camp at Camp Onyahsa.
Smeraldo spoke with WNY News Now eight miles into the trek.
He says he hopes the walk raises awareness to the campaign, which will bring together 60 kids with disabilities and their siblings, aiming to develop mentorship skills within the group.
When asked what pushes him to take on the effort, Smeraldo says, “I’m a kid guy, it’s just something to raise awareness, to help them with the bigger scope of this.”
“This is a small thing somebody can do,” further Smeraldo. “If we rally as a community, behind our kids, that is my drive.”
To put on the camp, the collaborating organizations are renting out the YMCA Camp for three days. Between insurance and the day-to-day operations of the camp, the whole project will cost $10,000.
Smeraldo decided to raise money for the camp by walking 46 miles around Chautauqua Lake and matching any donations he gets up to $3,000.
Donations can be sent to the group via Venmo @ccsolutions716, PayPal email@example.com, or via checks payable to Collaborative Children’s Solutions, PO Box 3641, Jamestown, NY 14702.