Caribbean cruise fundraiser to benefit local special needs nonprofit

Joel Begg and his mother Tot Begg.

Joel Begg and his mother Tot Begg.

Contributed photo

Tot Begg, founder of OMG Travel, has arranged for a percentage of each ticket sold, on a 7-night cruise package to the Caribbean she developed, to go to Milestones Behavioral Services, a special needs school, clinic and outreach not-for-profit. As the mother of five young adults, one of whom is severely impacted by autism, she realized that there were other families like hers that could use a vacation with support.

“So often families with a special need child do not travel — they need unique help and don’t realize it is available,” said Begg. An advocate for the importance of seeing the world through different perspectives, Begg knows that many individuals with special needs can learn from and enjoy travel. She believes that by being out in the world these special people are teaching others that a disability might not be as limiting as it first appears.

A resident of Stamford for 13 years, Begg’s sson, Joel has been a student at Milestones for the past four years. Milestones educates and supports individuals from 12-months to adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The majority of the students, at the Milford and Orange based school, are from Fairfield and New Haven counties with some children coming from Hartford, Litchfield and Middlesex counties.

More than 20 years ago, Milestones started the first school in the state based on Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) strategies. ABA is the only treatment for Autism Spectrum Disorder that is endorsed by both the American Academy of Pediatrics and the U.S. Surgeon General. Milestones grew its school, expanded services to include other intellectual and developmental disabilities, added clinics in Early Intervention and Advanced Intervention, outreach into homes and schools across the state, US and internationally, and an Adult Day Program serving individuals in Connecticut.

The Milestones cruise package, Aug. 9-16 on the Royal Caribbean luxury Oasis of the Seas will depart from New Jersey and visit Orlando, Fla., Coco Cay and Nassau, Bahamas. Prices start at $1,290; additional fees provide the support of Autism of the Seas which is the leading developmental disability service supplier to the cruise industry. For more information on the cruise visit, email or call 203-818-3174.