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SOAR Special Needs looking for summer camp volunteers, shares important message on fatherhood

Posted at 10:51 PM, Jun 18, 2023

LENEXA, KS — One local non-profit, SOAR, which stands for Special Opportunities Abilities and Relationships, said its looking for volunteers to help with one or both of its summer day camps.

SOAR is a group that offers support and resources to families who have loved ones with special needs.

Its day camps offer an array of activities for all participants ages 3–58. Some campers are even older, but founder and executive director Stephen “Doc” Hunsley said they need a full medical and full behavior team to handle anything that may arise.

“We have one requirement for you to be able to serve with us: Can you be a friend? ” Hunsley said, “If you can be a friend, you can do it, you don’t need any experience we can teach you that, come be a friend, and I promise you, you will be blessed beyond measure.”

However, SOAR does much more for families who have loved ones living with special needs, including Brent Green and his son 17-year-old Bojidar Green.

Bojidar Green, or Boji, said he always likes to dance.

Boji, who was adopted from Bulgaria in 2012 by Brent Green and his wife, also likes to spend time with his dad, who is always by his side.

“Bojidar means 'Gift from God,” Brent Green said. ”Being a father to Boji has helped stretch me and grow me. It has helped grow my faith in God and I learn a lot about people and God from Boji.”

Brent Green said Boji lives with autism, ADHD, anxiety and learning disorders, but those things don’t define his son. He also said SOAR has helped his son grow.

“We get to connect with other people going through some of the same issues that we go through,” Brent Green said.

Brent Green is now on the board of directors for SOAR and was able to connect with founder and executive director Stephen “Doc” Hunsley, who was also the father of a child with Dravet Syndrome.

Hunsley’s son Mark died 12 years ago at the young age of 5.

“My son passed away in his sleep - he took a nap in the afternoon after coming home from his autistic kindergarten class and he never woke up,” Hunsley said.

Hunsley described his son's death as the hardest day of his life, but 10 months later, he decided to help parents like Brent Green and others by giving them the resources and support they need to help them soar.

“I spent every waking breath I have to help transform the lives of families and help them realize how much of a blessing they are,” Hunsley said. “I think being a father of a child with special needs has made me more of a man.”

Both Brent Green and Hunsley say it is a pleasure holding the title of dad, but even better to be the father of a child with special needs.

“Together we learn what it means to love and serve kids with needs, individuals with needs,” Brent Green said.

“He’s always in my heart and what that little boy taught me and opened my heart to individuals with special needs and disabilities, I can never repay him for,” Hunsley said.