Nov 3 2016

"I Wanted To Help People"

JFCS's Camp Mariposa Volunteer Barry Josephson

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Two years ago, Barry Josephson retired from corporate America, and while some individuals may struggle to find meaning and direction in their lives upon retirement, Barry knew exactly what he wanted to do, help people!  After only one visit to JFCS’s Camp Mariposa, a prevention and mentoring program for youth (ages 8-12) who have been impacted by addiction and abuse in their families, Barry knew he had found his calling.

“The first time I visited the camp I stayed a few hours, the next time an entire day, now I proudly climb in my bunk bed and call Camp Mariposa my home for the entire three day duration,” explains Barry.  His heart-felt dedication becomes even more apparent as he talks about the kids, “Their faces express the look of most children; that of happiness, curiosity, and a sense of wonder.  Their reality is one of abandonment, parents struggling with addiction, and abuse.”

JFCS’s Camp Mariposa combines traditional summer camp activities with education and support exercises led by mental health professionals and trained mentors, allowing children a chance to laugh, play, and make friends in a safe, fun and supportive environment critical to help break the cycle of addiction

“Barry has formed an extremely positive mentor-mentee relationship with the children” explains Jeanette Altman, Director of Camp Mariposa.  “When youth are able to express their emotions, fears and hopes to a trusted adult such as Barry they begin to break the cycle of unhealthy coping mechanisms. These skills go with them into family, with friends and into their schools. His help has quite simply been invaluable.”

And what is valuable to Barry Josephson? It’s the trust the children have for him, it’s the smiles on their faces, and it’s a card a little girl made for him that simply reads, ‘thank you for everything you have given me.’

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