IMPROVING THE LIVES OF MANY
Evan’s Destination Day Camp (EDDC) was established in August 2017 to support the Highlands Hospital Regional Center for Autism (HHRCA). The program’s purpose is to provide recreational and educational opportunities to the center’s students. EDDC’s financial support was founded by a family gift from John and Diane Carom, Evan’s parents. Further support is provided by Highlands Hospital, the center’s staff and donations from the community in Evan’s memory.
"EVERYTHING THAT IS DONE IN THE WORLD IS DONE BY HOPE."
- Martin Luther
First two in-house programs presented by Museums on the Move
The Afterlife Can Do Good For Those
We Leave Behind
An amazing thing happened recently following the launch of Evan's Destination Day Camp in August.
A customer and friend of Abby's Gold and Gems in Uniontown came to me and made an amazing pledge.
This customer stated that while thinking about her affairs, as she approached retirement age, she decided that she wanted to help out with a donation of her fine jewelry to the effort to provide educational and recreational opportunities to the kids served by the Highlands Hospital Regional Center for Autism.
She intends on putting her wishes in her last Will and Testament.
To me, this gift of the heart is an amazing testament to the inherent goodness in people. It testifies to the human desire to help others, to leave the world a better place by your actions and it can give us all another reason to realize that we can enjoy the material things in life but that it's really people that are most important.
- John Carom
The origin of Evan’s Destination Day Camp Program
All people are complex and multifaceted. Evan Carom was no different. He was quiet, kind and hopeful for his future. He loved his family and was loved in return by family and friends.
He was only 27 years when he died unexpectedly at home. Most people who knew him didn’t know that one passion of his life was working with kids who lived with some degree of autism spectrum disorder.
Evan was introduced to Autistic kids through his cousins who worked in the summer at camp S.P.E.A.K. in Pittsburgh. He started out as a volunteer, completing his senior project while still at Laurel Highlands High School and continued to work the next 10 summers as a paid teacher assistant. Evan especially liked and excelled at helping to teach kids about how to navigate the world, on field trips, to Mcdonald’s even to a public restroom.
Few people in his life know of this passion. When he died that passion to help died with him.
But his parents realized that he wouldn’t have wanted the helping to end. And so they contacted Highland Hospital’s Regional Center for Autism to find out how they could help continuing with Evan’s passion. They know that if asked, Evan would have said, “yes, help them”.
Evan’s life, terribly, did not have enough time to live fully. He never had the chance to marry and to have children. He will have missed many of the joys and triumphs most of us experience in a long life, among the troubles and disappointments that accompany all the good things.
But because of his joy in working with kids, he has inspired some of us to look beyond ourselves and to offer up our time, our money and our compassion for children who live with some pretty difficult challenges.
Maybe then, with whatever good Evan’s Destination Day can do for many kids over the years, we who support the program can make our own lives a little fuller.
Why the unusual panda?
Though the program bears Evan's name the website, artwork and logos and the program itself were created by others.
The donor family wanted a small personal touch associated with Evan's Destination Day Camp and this uniquely drawn bear is Evan's own artwork, done at Touchstone Center for Crafts in 1996 when he was 8 years old.
The bear has a gentle nature as did Evan. His small smile reminds us of Evan's smile every time we look at this little bear.
Funding for the Students
Contributing time and money to the Highlands Hospital Regional Center for Autism is not difficult. Contact
Vicki Meier or Jordan Morran by at Highlands Hospital or the Highlands Hospital Regional Center for Autism.
For community members who want to help long-term and may consider setting up a special effort, John and Diane Carom are available to share their experiences. You may contact them by emailing John at firstname.lastname@example.org
Join us for EDDC's 2nd fundraising event! This non-competitive 5K Walk/Run is open to anyone interested in supporting our efforts to help fund social outings for the students at Highlands Hospital Regional Center for Autism.
We're looking forward to seeing you there!
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