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The Healing Notes Foundation Announces $100,000 Commitment to North Star Reach

The Healing Notes Foundation recently announced its $100,000 commitment to North Star Reach, the medical specialty camp for children with serious illnesses and their family members outside of Ann Arbor. The gift supports an exciting new music and drama program, with a focus on harnessing the power of music and drama to help children cope with the challenges of living with a serious medical condition and to discover new possibilities about themselves.

“Our mission is to provide comfort, hope and inspiration for children and families dealing with serious illnesses,” says Mark McManus, Jr., Founder of The Healing Notes Foundation. “We are thrilled to provide support that will allow even more opportunities for North Star Reach to offer positive experiences to kids and families in need.”

“We are tremendously honored to collaborate with The Healing Notes Foundation to help to grow our creative programming,” says North Star Reach’s Outreach and Family Liaison Specialist Jessica Doletzky, a Certified Child Life Specialist and Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist. “Music and drama are central to the traditional camp experiences we offer kids living with serious and chronic illnesses. This partnership will allow us to offer these programs in exciting new and inclusive ways.”

“It is our goal that our gift serves to expand upon existing programming, and to grow and inspire new music and drama programming for years to come,” says Jessica G. Persichini, Director of The Healing Notes Foundation. “We hope that as campers grow and move throughout their lives, that the songs created and sung around NSR campfires will leave lasting impressions of healing, hope, triumph, and inspiration.”

Opened in the summer of 2016, North Star Reach is the only camp of its kind serving children with a diverse range of complex medical needs and their families in the Great Lakes Region, all at no charge. During the Covid-19 pandemic, the camp has continued to provide innovative, cost-free virtual programs to campers and their families during a time when they are especially isolated and in need of community and connection.

Ali with Jacob, a NSR camper

Two summers ago, Detroit-born artist Ali McManus performed during a North Star Reach session for teen campers. During that event, she talked about her lifelong passion for music and the release of her debut album “Unbreakable” in 2018, which features lyrics informed by a lifetime of facing significant health challenges. “Music has been my greatest healer,” says Ali. “I hope that my songs and my message will help campers to adopt a spirit that can’t be broken.”

In 2021, North Star Reach will offer an exciting lineup of virtual programming, including new arts and drama activities, with on-site programs beginning as soon as it is safe to bring campers back to the Pinckney campus. We hope you enjoy this short video about the inspiration behind our exciting new partnership.

New Fall Support Programs for Families

We are tremendously proud to announce a series of new online programs for campers and their families, all offered free of charge.

From bi-weekly support groups and meetups to a virtual conference dedicated to parents and caregivers, we have created these programs in response to the urgent and unique needs families caring for children with serious illnesses face during this health care crisis. One of our guiding values as an organization is to reach high, and go beyond.

These programs allow us all to find new opportunities to grow together, supporting one another with respect and kindness along the way.

Parent/Caregiver Support Groups: These virtual support groups are open to any parent or caregiver of a child with a serious medical diagnosis. Gatherings are small and meet under the guidance of a trained facilitator. Visit our Camp-At-Home website to register today.

Camper Meetups: An extension of our summer camp-at-home programming, these virtual gatherings give campers and their siblings a chance to connect regularly with their friends. Invitations are exclusively for children and teens who have previously attended a North Star Reach summer or family camp. Visit our Camp-At-Home website to register today.

Family Care Conference: This two-day virtual conference, held Oct. 7 & 8, will offer caregivers a thoughtfully-crafted program of presentations by leading medical and mental health professionals. The program will also include breakout sessions, small group workshops, and fun activities such as social mixers and music events, giving attendees a chance for informal conversation and connection. All are welcome. For the program schedule and to register, visit our Care Conference Page.