A New York native, Camille discovered her passion at age 15 while volunteering with special needs individuals at the Marian Center in Miami. As an obese teenager, she felt she could relate to the ridicule and rejection suffered by these individuals and spent all of her free time with them.
She attended Barry College and went on to work as a licensed nurse at Miami Children’s Hospital. It was there that she met her husband Michael, a pediatrician. They shared a tremendous love for children and Camille’s dream to provide a loving, nurturing home for the severely disabled soon became Michael’s dream too. They married, dancing to the song “The Impossible Dream.” A few years later, after giving birth to two healthy children of their own, they adopted their first special needs child—a deaf, mute and profoundly mentally retarded infant named Darlene, showing that they could help the less fortunate live “the Possible Dream.”
In addition to running the Possible Dream Foundation, Camille travels around the world, training both renowned medical specialists and affected families in the areas of nursing, rehabilitation and special education. Despite being recognized with numerous awards throughout the years, one of Camille’s greatest successes has been training the mentally handicapped adults who live with her to care for her younger children, from the simple everyday tasks like bathing, to advanced medical necessities like Nebulizer respiratory treatments. She also takes great pride in teaching her children to become certified dog trainers, a skill that gives them confidence and helps others in the community.
A pediatrician from Long Island, N.Y., Michael earned his undergraduate degree at St. John’s University, then studied in Italy for a few years before returning to the States to study medicine at New York University and Columbia University. He completed his studies in 1973, earning his M.D. at Meharry Medical College in Nashville.
He met Camille while working at Miami Children’s Hospital and fell in love with the young woman who, night after night, could be found reading to critically ill, abandoned children. They married in 1975 and had two children, Renae and Jaclyn, both integral parts of the Foundation today. In addition to caring for all of his own children—22 adopted and 22 others for whom he and Camille are the legal guardians—Michael works full-time and provides pro bono medical services for any mentally, physically or developmentally challenged child who needs it.
Michael also serves as the pro bono physician for the Warriors baseball team and the Children’s Home Society. He is a mentor and preceptor for the Dade County Academic Incentive Program, Barry University’s Nurse Practitioner Program and Florida International University’s Nurse Practitioner Program. But above all, he is a father and a founder of the Possible Dream Foundation.