101 Success Stories
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Success Story 1
“I have a 7 year old son with cerebral palsy. Raising a child with special health care needs can be very isolating. Since connecting with Parent to Parent (organization connecting Families of children and adults with disabilities or special care needs), I feel a part of something larger, and my base of support has grown significantly. While I have wonderful friends and a loving family, members of Parent to Parent truly understand the daily struggles of raising a child with a significant disability and the challenges we face with the various systems our kids are involved in. Parent to Parent has enriched my son’s life, as I know that on any given day, I can post a question about diapers, therapeutic needs, and behaviors (the list is endless) and receive helpful and reliable information. In addition to being a great resource for specific disability related needs, P2P has evolved into an entity that encourages parents to step into the world of advocacy, as this organization informs us of important health care and policy issues that impact our kids. Parent to Parent is a vital tool that I know I can rely upon every day of my child’s life.”
Success Story 2
“As a single mom, I cannot even tell you what that means to me, to have my daughter and myself embraced by our community. I will be a member of Parent to Parent for a very long time.”
Success Story 3
Sean*, a man in his mid-fifties, began to lose his sight some years ago, due to a degenerative eye disease. He sought out training to help him adjust to his pending total loss of sight. As a result, Sean was trained through EMPLOYMENT WORKS in a comprehensive program in mobility, assistive technology, food preparation and other aspects of daily living that he would be facing if he were totally blind.
Since Sean had received his degree in computer science and information technology, he wanted to pursue work in this field. Barriers he faced were an economy in crisis, employers choosing not to hire someone with a disability due to unfounded fears and Sean’s uncertainty about how employment would impact his Social Security Disability Insurance. After a consultation with Employment Works, Sean’s fears about losing benefits subsided and his job pursuit began.
However, because of Sean’s knowledge of the IT field, the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation readily interviewed and hired him as a full time Assistive Technology Specialist. Not only is he successful in this new position, but he also helps others with vision losses to cope and learn new technological skills, thus increasing their potential for independence and self-sufficiency.
Though loss of sight is a life-altering and challenging situation, Sean has more than compensated for this loss through his incredible strength and heart, when facing down the odds that could have easily defeated him. *Name has been changed.
Success Story 4
The Importance of Dental Health was realized when four year-old Terry*, while at Creative Options Early Education Center, was screened for oral health and it was discovered that he had a severe dental condition and needed treatment. Dental disease can cause children to feel sick, have nasal congestion leading to ear infections and hearing difficulties. Some children may not pass their hearing screening, due to dental issues. Terry’s oral health definitely impeded his ability to learn and participate actively in school. His family had no dental insurance or ability to pay any amount of the cost of the dental treatment needed for their son.
Recognizing the health severity of this child’s dental situation, his family service worker immediately went to work to seek funding for all the procedures he desperately needed. An application was submitted through the Colorado Indigent Care Program (CICP) and obtained for the family. However, this program required the family to pay something, and the father was adamant that he could not pay and seemed to have a lot of fear around incurring debts he could not pay.
Staff then contacted the National Foundation of Dentistry for the Handicapped who works with impoverished individuals, qualifying them to receive benefits. The foundation arranged for a local dentist to do the work in kind and contacted Children’s Hospital, where an operating room and an anesthesiologist needed to be negotiated. Because Terry needed the treatment so badly, Ability Connection Colorado guaranteed payment. Eventually, Terry was able to get all the work done that he so desperately needed. He received fillings, extractions, crowns and baby root canals. Terry’s transformation was like night and day…he became eager to learn and participate with classmates and teachers. HE BECAME A HEALTHY LEARNER!
Success Story 5
Our goals at HEADSTART are to promote Kindergarten readiness skills to all of the children with whom we work and to encourage parents to participate and advocate so their children can succeed as they move through the educational system. One of our families has a daughter who is Kindergarten bound. Her mother worked very hard alongside the teachers to have her daughter excel in her academics and become Kindergarten ready. This child did so well, that she actually has just been accepted at Aurora Qwest, a very competitive school for the gifted and talented. The staff is very proud of the child’s efforts and so inspired by her mother, who gave her child such support and empowerment, resulting in such an incredible opportunity.
Success Story 6
“It can be very difficult to have a child with special needs let alone have one whose needs are from an unknown origin. To the general public it is just not something that people can grasp. If you are sick, you are supposed to go to the doctor and they are supposed to figure out what is wrong. Most people don’t seem to understand that sometimes it does not happen. Thanks to everyone who has responded to me, you have truly made me feel not so all alone.”
Success Story 7
When Lizzy* first began attending Creative Options; the teaching team noticed her high energy level and impulsive nature. She struggled with participation at center circle time. At first, we attributed her characteristics to age by convincing ourselves she was just young and needed some time and support. But after a few months, we had ongoing concerns and began to address the possibility of a need for a Behavior Support Plan. Then results of a vision screen sent up a red flag that this child had failed totally. Shortly thereafter, a re-screen was performed and Lizzy failed again. The family was referred to have Lizzy checked by an ophthalmologist, where it was discovered that she desperately needed glasses. Within the next few months, after wearing her new glasses, Lizzy has blossomed. She is able to participate in all activities; her attention span has grown and she has become a role model for the other children. Her parents are so thankful and very pleased to see such wonderful progress and growth in her attitude and learning abilities.
Success Story 8
Stephen* has been a mentor for CP’s Ready to Achieve Mentoring Program (RAMP) for three years. He has worked with a wide variety of youth with diverse backgrounds, experiences and disabilities. “”When I made the commitment, I did not consider the impact the kids would have on me. If I can improve their lives a tenth as much as they have improved mine, I say well done.”
Success Story 9
You dear parents are so incredible. I am so grateful to be able to read and share in your challenges and joys. I feel like for the first time in 15 years that I am not alone as a parent of a child with special needs. I too have and do feel all the emotions that you are sharing. I know the feelings of exhaustion of being overwhelmed. I have to continually rethink my priorities and dreams for my child. I have 5 children and though we know that they are all special, there is a big difference between “normal” siblings going through stages and moving on and a child who even at 15 years is completely dependent on mom for everything from cathing to eating to getting out of bed. Some days I do much better than others. One thing my daughter said to me when she was only 3 years old and I believe it was from God, “We are going to do the best we can, that’s all we can do.” Then she said “Mommy, give yourself a break.” I hold on to that advice like gold. So, Mommies and daddies, give yourself a break. You are doing the best you can and it’s good enough. Much love, computer toddler and mom of 5, youngest is 15, born with Spina Bifida and C.P.
Success Story 10
Max* is a 27 yr old, who suffers from scoliosis and a secondary learning disability. Although this is a challenge in his life, Max has always persevered and refuses to be defeated, despite this hardship. His perseverance and family support have allowed this young man to continue to overcome his life challenges.
Acknowledging a strong need for self sufficiency, Max came to Employment Works for a chance to successfully find stable employment. With the assistance of his employment counselor, he interviewed for a position with Safeway Stores, which he readily obtained. Max felt he could benefit by this position, both financially and from a self satisfaction perspective.
His current position at Safeway near his home, as a part time clerk, has greatly increased his sense of independence and self esteem. He is enjoys his life and has informed his employment counselor the best part of this position is the generosity of his co-workers and supervisor, who are very kind and supportive. He also cherishes the ongoing support from his family and the community. As a result, Max finds his work becomes easier as time goes on.
In terms of future goals, Max wishes for advancement. He has already discussed this with his supervisor and will transfer to another department as time permits. Max’s hopes are to be promoted within the organization and to become successful in his endeavors.
Max has always been grateful for Employment Works and the assistance from his employment counselor in obtaining work. With the ongoing job leads and interview skills provided from his counselor he was able to have the confidence and motivation to successfully obtain employment at Safeway. Max is a shy young man; however, he has excelled with his talents and has overcome his shyness with his new position at Safeway. Currently he continues to keep in contact with his employment counselor from time to time.
Success Story 11
“There are times I would have pulled my hair out if it weren’t for this Parent to Parent list. Even the times that all of the replies are ‘my child did that too, and we don’t have an answer for how to fix it’- it’s still helpful, even without an answer, to know that someone else went through it and hasn’t gone crazy yet.”
Success Story 12
Chrissie* is the single parent of one child. She had been receiving TANF for over six years. Having very limited work history, Chrissie was in need of training. Prior to being referred to the Employment Works Program (EW), Chrissie completed Medical Assistant Training. Then she was referred to EW. During her first several months with Employment Works, Chrissie struggled, losing her job. During this time, she carried on. In continuing to strive towards self-sufficiency, Chrissie pursued a position at a local hospital. With assistance from her Case Manager, she was hired. Chrissie has been working there for over a year now and receives raises every six months. Though Employment Works’ staff still support Chrissie through rough times, she continues to grow and succeed at being self-sufficient. Chrissie has demonstrated that sometimes we need a helping hand, but with hard work and perseverance, we can succeed. *Name has been changed.
Success Story 13
“I would urge all parents interested in keeping their child in the classroom to look at the Parent to Parent website. I continue to be so grateful to P2P for all of the great information I have received on this listserv to help my son. I don’t know where I’d be without it!!!! Thanks again. Parent to Parent is without a doubt my most valuable resource. “
Success Story 14
“I am a proud mother of two wonderful boys. My youngest son is two years old, and my oldest son is five. My oldest son Jason*was in Head Start last year. My son is currently in Kindergarten. Just recently I was invited to my son’s school to watch him go up on stage to receive an award and certificate for academics. This was one of the most proud days of my life. I owe this all to Head Start, and Ms. Carolyn. When my son entered Head Start, he couldn’t speak English. He also had an IEP. Well, no more! At his first conference, I was informed he no longer required services. I want to thank Cerebral Palsy, Creative Options, the A-Team (especially Ms. Terry, and Ms. Betty for the help in getting CCAP and the college information for me. (I’m also in college now working on an early childhood degree). Ms. Carolyn, I cannot thank you enough for putting up with my son’s behavior, and giving me all the ideas and helping me understand my child. With the help and encouragement from this program, I learned to be a better mother and understand my children. The best thing that happened to me is my self esteem has grown a lot. Thank all of you for helping us succeed in life! *Name has been changed.
Success Story 15
Jerry* is a 17 year old boy who has a learning disability and attends a Denver Public School. Throughout the past several years, he has struggled to remove himself from gang affiliations. After joining the EMPLOYMENT WORKS RAMP Program last year, he has identified a career path, improved his once spotty attendance, is excelling academically, has improved his family relationships and has cut ties with an earlier lifestyle leading him away from the path of success. Jerry is currently attending CEC Middle College in the mornings where he learns skills such as baking, quantity food preparation, customer service, banquet and catering operations and restaurant management. If he continues to excel in these classes, he will be eligible for an apprenticeship with a chef working in one of the Denver metro areas top restaurants. His comments follow:
“This program is fun! You get to learn about jobs and you get to interact with other people. In most classes you don’t get to do that. For me, that’s important because I work better as a team than by myself and you get to practice scenarios that could happen in real world experiences, like at a job. As a chef, which is what I want to be, you have to be able to work well with other people, so RAMP has been great for teaching me how to have the people skills I need!!”
Success Story 16
“This Parent to Parent listserv is just so amazingly helpful to us. I feel bad sometimes that I always have SO many questions and things we haven’t figured out. I guess I just like to hope that it is because we have one of the youngest children on the list, and that when he gets older we’ll feel smarter and be better at all of this stuff… it has to get easier… right? 😉 Until then, we really appreciate your help!”
Success Story 17
“I love reading about everyone else’s life experiences with their children. I am going to print out some of the stories and responses, frame them and hang them on my wall! Thanks for the inspiration!”
Success Story 18
Dora* came to Ability Connection Colorado as a referral from one of our community partners, the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation. She was just a year out of high school. Because of her Leaning Disability and ADD, she was not successful at finding a job on her own. “Thank you for all your help at finding the exact job I wanted. Thanks for all the time you spent with me getting through the two day orientation. I know without your help I would not have gotten the job.”
Success Story 19
“Our son got a g-tube in November and we have been using the Kangaroo Pet pump for his feeds. At our December GI appointment, the doctor suggested a different pump -the Zevex because it is more accurate, smaller, longer battery life and does not need to be upright to function. He said it would be tougher to get because it is newer and more expensive than the Kangaroo Pet so many of the supply companies have a limited number on hand. Of course, our supply company is telling us all the reasons why the Kangaroo Pet is the best one. I would love some feedback from anyone who may have experience with the Zevex pump – especially in comparison to other pumps. Also, our current supply company is Option One Nutrition. In the short time we have been working with them, I have already had a few issues. I would love recommendations on supply companies as well. This is my first time to make a post. I have enjoyed the information I have gotten from being in this group and know it will continue to be a great resource. (follow-up post) I got the Zevex pump on Wednesday (after my post on Friday) – in addition to having my “issues” with them quickly resolved. Talk about results I was not expecting to get?!? Amazing!”
Success Story 20
“Last September, we had a new child start at Creative Options Center for Early Learning. His mother came to us weeks before in distress regarding the anger and stress she found for her son.
We were unsure of how to best help this little boy. He frequently threw toys and was displaying violent behavior. The Education Director came to assist in re-arranging the child’s classroom to provide an environment in which he could succeed. The Family Services Worker continued to work with the mom, and was able to refer her to our Early Childhood Specialist. She began to provide play therapy sessions and a team provided services necessary for his developmental growth. Over 7 months, he became very verbal, and was smiling, laughing and playing appropriately with his friends. We can hardly believe this is the same child. Thanks to our teachers who provide love and compassion.”
Success Story 21
“I felt absolutely lost before being able to talk with other parents dealing with the same issues. You think you are completely alone… It is not only debilitating for the child, but the parent as well. When your child has 250+ seizures a day, you are practically hostage at home…I know others are doing it or they have done it too, and then I know I can make it and thrive not just survive this!! There is something comforting about talking with parents who have been through it and understand!!”
Success Story 22
The Family Service Worker (FSW) completed a home visit on a family returning to Creative Options. Both parents were present and they appeared to be very happy. Mom was talking to FSW first, since dad went to pick up the children from school. Mom stated that things were going very well with her husband. Last year, they were having many problems and she wanted to separate. FSW referred mom to see a Parent Educator to help her with family issues and also referred them to the weekend workshop of Healthy Relationships for couples. Mom was very eager to attend. Dad not quite as much, but attended anyway. Mom said they both learned a lot and it had a huge impact on their relationship. Mom attended fall and spring parenting classes. As she stated, “Our future looks much brighter now”.
Success Story 23
Dale* is 34 years old and lost an eye as a teenager. He also developed a mental disability. Because of these two conditions, he received government benefits and visited Employment Works, afraid, if employed, he would lose his benefits. Once he heard about all the work incentives for people with disabilities and how to achieve self-sufficiency, Bill became eager to find work.
“You guys turned my life around! I did not know anything about these work incentives and lived scared all my life. I feel that I have lost precious years of my life, and now that I am getting older, I was afraid of my future. When I get my job, I will use (the information you gave me)…a Plan to Achieve Self Sufficiency account to further my education. I will also use an Individual Development Account to buy my own home. I am afraid that this decrepit little house where I pay $300 rent is going to collapse on me anytime. Thank you for letting me call and visit when I or my friends need it.”
Success Story 24
“The Guardianship Alliance is a great resource for struggling families like ours…”
“The unique services provided by The Guardianship Alliance of Colorado represent a valuable and irreplaceable resource to Colorado’s citizens and to the courts.”
Success Story 25
Karen is a veteran, special education teacher working within a Denver Public School. She works with youth involved with or at risk of involvement with the juvenile justice center. Her classes typically focus on work experience studies. After implementing the Ready to Achieve Mentoring Program (RAMP) with many of her students, this is what she has to say:“Ability Connection Colorado’s Ready to Achieve Mentoring Program in our school has been a tremendous asset to our students.
As a multi-intensive center program teacher, I have seen tremendous positive growth in my students. Many at-risk youth with disabilities find themselves at a crossroads as they begin to define their lives. RAMP helps them make career choices that supports, motivates and encourages their career readiness decisions. Students who were not motivated to come to school are now showing growth and an enthusiasm for learning and for their future that they did not have before they started attending the RAMP program.
One of the reasons I support Ability Connection Colorado’s Ready to Achieve Mentoring Program, is because it is a valuable community resource and a proactive plan of study. This program has given my students hands-on, career readiness abilities, which they can apply toward their futures. With these workplace skills they are learning to be a productive population, contributing to our society. Other students who are not in the RAMP program wish they were enrolled, as they watch their peers participate in career related field trips and other hands-on learning experiences.
I am excited and look forward to the continued partnership between RAMP and our students, as it has made a significant difference in the lives of our students. As a department, we are making plans on how we can reach more students and provide more support for this very effective program. RAMP provides teachers and administrators with additional tools and resources to help our at-risk students.
Success Story 26
Thanks to all who referred a neuro specialist. The little one that my friend adopted has had a really rough start. Hopefully, this can help her get off to a better one. I am so happy to have found this group, and all of you. You all have offered a wealth of information to many scared parents. Thank you again, Heather
Success Story 27
This success story is a story that has been in the works for years. We have a family that has enrolled all three of her children in Creative Options. The oldest is now moving on to middle school, the middle just completed kindergarten and the last is moving up to kindergarten. The Mom has been very involved at parent meetings, parenting classes, and other school activities and is sad to see her last child leave Creative Options.
Success Story 28
Eddie* is 51, fighting throat cancer and struggled to find a challenging job that could accommodate his health issues. He found that job through CP’s Employment Works Program and was promoted to management within 90 days of his placement. “If it wasn’t for your help, who knows what I might be doing right now? You stayed in touch . . . talked me through the rough days . . . and always gave me advice that was in my best interest.”
Success Story 29
”I’m fairly new to this group also. It’s one of the best things that ever happened to me. Hang in there. Help is coming—this group knows a lot! I learned about Parent to Parent from a family who came to speak in one of my graduate courses at the University of Denver. They reported participating in the Parent to Parent network and shared many of the benefits the organization provided for them. Unfortunately, I do not recall the name of the family, but I assure you they had only wonderful things to say!”
Success Story 30
Ronnie* is 35 years old and injured his back five years ago, while on the job. With help from Employment Works, he joined a solar power company based in Germany, earning a competitive salary with full benefits and a trip to Europe within days of hire. “I am grateful to know that I can visit CP any time and as many times as I wish. I am so inspired to break free of government benefits.”
Success Story 31
“I have been a long time reader and supporter of P2P. Thank you all so much for the information you are willing to share and giving me a place to turn to when it feels like there is no other. It has taken me 4 years to come on here and I am glad I am here.” Lisa S
Success Story 32
Sherrie* is 36 years old and suffers from painful tendonitis. She needed work in an extremely competitive sales/administrative job market. Her persistence and partnership with the employment team earned her a role with a small wire and cable company, where they quickly made her Office Manager, Customer Service Rep and Marketing Director all in one. “I want to thank Ability Connection Colorado for helping me through the process . . . a huge challenge. I greatly appreciate your patience and professionalism.”
Success Story 33
“As a group, you’ll find ALL kinds of support and information. My daughter was diagnosed with Asberger’s Syndrome at 6. It’s a diagnosis on the Autism Spectrum. I wish I had found this group sooner but I’m grateful that I have it now. Looking forward to hearing from you again soon.” Wendy
Success Story 34
” I love the “wisdom” list on the P2P website. These are awesome topics and very helpful. Thanks so much for your work in compiling them. I know I’ll be using that in my Parent Advising Role at PEAK! Thank you for your responses. I don’t think there is any question that cannot be answered on this Listserv. Wayla M, PEAK Parent Center Parent Advisor
Success Story 35
Geraldo* came to CP to learn how he could stay productive in employment while receiving Social Security Disability Benefits. As a Ticket to Work provider, CP was able to help him find a job without jeopardizing his healthcare benefits, creating an incentive to work where many are discouraged. “I deeply appreciated your patience, sensitivity and understanding with regard to my personal disability circumstances.”
Success Story 36
Our success story is about a child in our preschool program, who is on a Behavior Support Plan. The teacher reports that the child has done very well this month and had only one incident regarding behavior in the entire month, which is significantly less than the previous month. Mom has been very involved in his school performance and has participated in the fall Parenting Classes. Although Mom is going through financial hardships, Mom has persevered to ensure that her family is successful. Mom feels free to confide in our team when she needs some assistance. Mom also reports that her older son, who attended the Jamaica site last school year, is doing very well in Kindergarten. The teachers say that he is a very bright child and that he exceeds in his Kindergarten class. Mom has been very thankful to her Family Service Worker/Parent Educator and has received a lot of positive support through our program.
Success Story 37
This organization is invaluable and I have referred many parents to it. Is it a national org? If not, it should be. Thanks for everything, Heather Hyatt
Success Story 38
Katherine* is a 53 year old Nurse Assistant who has helped hundreds of patients during her career in hospital settings and at people’s homes. She is very determined person, full of energy, with an elevated spirituality and kindness and respect for others. Think for a moment what a nurse assistant does: taking blood pressure, giving medication to patients, help people to move around during their convalescent days, assist with patient’s comfort, etc.
Katherine is blind and with orthopedic impediments, as well and, besides taking care of others, she has been independent all her life. Katie moved to her current apartment two years ago to be closer to her family and to her younger, also challenged, sister. One day, on her way to work, Katie was hit by a car and was badly injured in her legs. Katie managed to pay her rent and other expenses through her SSDI and unemployment checks. After losing her unemployment, Katie’s condition worsened both financially and physically, and she was facing eviction. Employment Works Benefits Planner intervened on Katie’s behalf to secure emergency funding though Human Services to stop her imminent eviction. Katie will undergo leg surgery once more this Fall. She is highly confident she will be working again soon!
Success Story 39
“At the Office of Special Education meeting discussing the new IDEA regulations last week in Arvada, there was parent after parent standing up during the Q & A sharing one train wreck story after another. I knew that picking up those pieces after the meeting would be the experienced parents among all of us who will just listen, and/or look for opportunities to improve a situation, share information, hook parents up with others, and give the been-there-done-that confidence to others just starting this path or finding themselves in an unexpected place. I applaud our organizations for getting real support out to families. So on that note, I share about this listserv and many other resources every chance I get! Namaste, all of you.” From a mom of four
Success Story 40
Mike* was referred to us through the State Department of Vocational Rehabilitation. His type of disability centered on severe chemical dependency. Mike came to us for services while working at a construction company. His job required the building of heavy roof trusses.. The heavy physical work combined with his advanced age and disability, set the tone to find an employment goal suitable to his current needs. His background included warehouse, production, assembly as well as quality control experience.
The initial meeting with him indicated that he was stressed, confused and without direction. We immediately interviewed him to determine his employment history. This gave us the in depth information to develop a contemporary resume. The interview uncovered the type of work that would be a good fit for him. Once a direction was determined, frequent communication was initiated to establish trust and participation. Through our continuous efforts with business, we were able to send his resume to a credible staffing agency located near his place of residence. An interview was arranged with the lead recruiter, he presented himself very well after several mock interviews at our agency. Today, he is working for a truck accessory manufacturer, responsible for a finishing operation. This job turned into a permanent position. His disability as well as work life stresses are under control. He has the peace of mind of realizing that post employment supports are only a phone call away.
Success Story 41
HCP Family Consultant/Hands & Voices *Helen is a woman in her early 30’s and was born with Cerebral Palsy. While encouraging her to do anything and everything she could, her parents honestly never expected her to find meaningful employment. She tried sheltered workshops, but, as her mother said, “busy work is not her thing. Then it happened. Helen had an opportunity to do a job trial at the Denver Public Library. All of our lives changed overnight. Helen loves to work.”
Success Story 42
“My name is Tommy* and I am 28 years old. I had been unemployed for several years. Even though I have a master’s degree, it was very difficult to find employment in my area of expertise — history. I had been working with employment placement agencies much of the time I had been unemployed, but no agency had been able to help me find as many job openings as Employment Works! I would like to especially thank my counselor, Jerry Phillips. He was relentless is helping me search for job openings that would suit me. He also provided me with encouragement every step of the way! All the while, he was very affable and showed the utmost professionalism! Words cannot express how grateful I am to Jerry Phillips and Employment Works for all the help they provided me during my time of need. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
Success Story 43
“Thank you all for such terrific support, certainly don’t feel so alone now! I’m actually starting to apply some of your suggestions and I feel so much better tonight! On my way to a PEP Conference tomorrow in Breckenridge, will post when I get back! Big hugs to you all out there and thanks again, I needed it!”
Success Story 44
Mickey* is 26 years old and coped with Cerebral Palsy her entire life. As a kid with physical disabilities, she felt stereotyped by others, who simply assumed she had a cognitive impairment. Eleven years after starting her first job at Ability Connection Colorado, she is now pursuing her Master’s degree in Early Education. “With the help of Ability Connection Colorado, my friends and family, I have been able to overcome the stigma of my physical challenges, and hope to pass that hope on to others.”
Success Story 45
“I have very much enjoyed the P2P-CO during our time here in CO. It was one of the most beneficial forums that we found for any question or venting. I only hope that we can find a similar listserv in TX that will be as helpful, friendly, and informative. Thank you”
Success Story 46
Caroline* is in her mid-60’s and found herself in a bind after returning from years in France, with her husband. Upon his passing, she found she had no survivor benefits in either country. She needed additional resources, like food and housing assistance to survive. “Thank you so much for your precious advice, your helpfulness and your compassion.”
Success Story 47
“I usually do the “just the facts” kind of posting, but I feel compelled to say “thank you” to Parent 2 Parent and Peak Parent and many other parent organizations for the daily, relevant, practical assistance and inspiration they/we give to our Colorado and beyond families.”
Success Story 48
A Creative Options parent experienced a crisis in which her children were taken by Child Protective Services. One of her older children reported that their stepfather had been abusing them. Unfortunately, this was not the first time Child Protective Services had been called on this family, and so the children were taken from the home and placed into foster care with a woman in Colorado Springs. Mom would call and let us know how the situation progressed. Mom was able to make weekly visits to see her children and was also able to call her children regularly. Obviously, this was very hard for her and her children as they were all adjusting to such a big change. As it became clear what Mom needed to do to get her kids back, she began calling us asking for domestic violence & therapy resources, restraining order information, and housing information. She informed us that she would be required to take domestic violence classes and get a restraining order against her husband. She would also be required to find new housing. This mom worked extremely hard and made difficult decisions to ensure that she could get her kids back and provide a safe living environment for them. She got the restraining order she needed. She found domestic violence classes and parenting classes that fit her schedule and her budget with our help. Also, she was able to find safe and affordable housing. Finally, we helped hook her up with Aurora Mental Health for family and individual counseling for herself and her children. Although not an entirely smooth road, she was awarded custody of her kids in a few months, and her child, who attends our program, was back in school.
Success Story 49
“I am so amazed with the members on this listserv. Everyone is so insightful, caring and intelligent.”
Success Story 50
“Having raised my two sons with special needs in an era when there was very little help available to any parent, I can vouch for the support that I know this listserv to be. If something of this sort had been available 30 years ago it would have saved me countless hours of frustration in searching for resources.
Success Story 51
A woman was referred to us through the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation. She has a learning disability combined with short term memory loss. Her goal was to find a full time clerical, office support, administrative type position. We immediately worked on developing her resume, as well as enhancing her interview skills. We also worked on various techniques to improve her organizational skills in the work place, thus lessening the stress of the effects of her short term memory loss. We discussed how important it is to network and how to do this effectively.
After all job development elements were in place, her overall confidence and self esteem increased. Job leads were identified. Strategies for obtaining interviews were discussed. Soon after, she had an interview with Aerotek Staffing Services, a member of our Business Advisory Council. The results from the preparation were very successful. She was hired by Buyer’s Peak Medical Supplies. She became successful in her position at this company. As her confidence grew, she networked her way to a permanent position with the Bureau of Land Management as a receptionist. Now she is very satisfied with her current position and is looking forward to enjoying her benefits and a long career with this organization.
Success Story 52
We were really happy with the Teachers/service received, meeting, everything, staff! Good learning activities, all staff, safety, child’s education, teachers, talk time, individual attention for each child, FCP staff, everything, location and school hours. Teachers, FSW, hv, administration and staff, school and education, professionalism, parenting classes, support. Family services, safety, field trips, dentist, support, medical.
Success Story 53
“I’m going to put my two cents on this since I highly value this listserv. One thing I really like about this listserv is we all come from different backgrounds and on this listserv we all have a voice. In real life not all of us may always have the courage to use our voice or would be able to have someone listen to us. On this listserv no one has any color or economic standing. There is no black or white or rich and poor. We are all equal. While we may not always agree because we do come from different backgrounds, it is a great way for us to come together for the one thing we all have in common: our wonderful children! This has been a wonderful resource for me in knowing I am not alone and I am not the only one who goes through the frustration and joys of having a special needs child. It has also been good for me in knowing my rights with dealing with the people who are supposed to help me with my child. (e.g. the school district and social security) I know I can be a little hot headed and long winded at times, but I want all of you to know just how much I appreciate that there is a service like this available for parents like me. Personally I think I would probably be lost in the world of disability without this service and I want to thank all of you for your help and your support.”
Success Story 54
I am pleased to share a brief story about a young woman who has been a participant in the Ready to Achieve Mentoring Program (RAMP) since April 2010. Since this period, her parents, her teachers, the RAMP team, and herself have observed her growing into a confident and optimistic young woman. Upon her enrollment in the program, her parents and teachers expressed a deep concern from recent, negative behavioral issues, both at home and school. Throughout the program, with the help of her peers and taking a deeper look at herself, she was able to identify that she has natural leadership abilities. After making this discovery, she recognized she is capable of having a very positive impact both among her peers and in her own life by using her leadership qualities in a more constructive way. During her months of participation in the program, we have all watched, as she has become a great example and peer mentor to her friends.
We recently received an email from one of her teachers stating that he has “enjoyed seeing the positive changes [she] has undergone.” Due to her extreme growth and outstanding leadership in the program, she was chosen to represent the Colorado RAMP site at the annual, national RAMP conference, has recently joined her school track team and is currently running for a student government position, where she hopes to apply and continue to develop her leadership skills. We are proud to see that RAMP is making a difference in the lives of our youth.
Success Story 55
“It’s always nice to hear some positive feedback. I would have to agree. The list serv is just incredible. I have been using it extensively the last couple of months and I have learned so much!! I would have had to pay hundreds of dollars to attend a multitude of trainings just to get the information I have picked up on the list serv. You do a great job of running it and we have some truly awesome parents who are a part of it. I am going to be spreading some of this knowledge that I have gained to my families with my newsletters. I really appreciated P2P and the work you guys do. Thanks again.”
Success Story 56
Arapahoe/Douglas Works! (ADW) serves as an excellent example of how the one stop process should work. A few weeks ago, a student in the GED program at ADW referred her mother to the ADW One Stop for services. The mother was receiving Social Security benefits and wanted to find work in Aurora. She was concerned about losing her benefits. After meeting with her, staff was able to illustrate several strategies that would allow her to work and retain her Medicaid benefits. In the course of their meeting, he also determined that she had not found affordable housing, help with training or finding work, and she was going to need access to mental health counseling. When they finished with their benefits consultation, staff walked the consumer over 10 feet and introduced her to a representative from Aurora Housing. She was able to meet with him immediately and received information on affordable housing in the areas where she wanted to live. Then they walked 10 more feet to Aurora Mental Health where she was able to make an appointment to meet with a counselor. In the next cubicle, she met with a representative from Vocational Rehabilitation who was able to sit down and meet with her.
As a result of the referral, the mother was able to access and receive a wide variety of services in less than 3 hours. She now has her own apartment, is receiving needed counseling and medications, and is in the process of beginning a retraining program that will have her employed within 6 months!
Success Story 57
“You’re welcome to use my name. I have no bones about letting people know when something has impacted me and made a difference. Quite frankly, I was added to the list this weekend and 48 hours later have made personal contact with not one, but two moms that live close by who are also dealing with similar speech issues. For months I’ve been alone and in the dark about this stuff and with the flick of a wand, you and your organization have given me access to more resources that I would have ever found on my own. Again, my thanks.”
Success Story 58
A young girl came to us in the beginning of this school year. This little girl began the year with a bit of difficulty. Her behavior included kicking, screaming, biting, swearing, pulling hair and sometimes even hurting animals. These outbursts sometimes lasted upwards of 20 to 30 minutes, leaving her exhausted. This behavior continued for months and sometimes consisted of several violent episodes in the same day. Many meetings were held with her Grandmother and other members of our developmental services team. Within weeks, she received help from ECCOS Family Center and later received services from Aurora Mental Health. Her Grandmother was given assistance with obtaining Medicaid and her father was also contacted in Philadelphia.
Since then, we have seen a significant change in her behavior. There have not been any violent episodes in approximately 2 months. Her Father has been here to Colorado two times to visit her and even made a special trip to celebrate her birthday. Her Grandmother reports that her behavior at home has improved and that her Medicaid application was approved, as well, so she will be able to continue with services for her at Aurora Mental Health as long as necessary.
The family is extremely grateful that Creative Options professionals recognized the seriousness of this little girl’s behavior and were able to refer her for comprehensive mental health services, while also assisting them with accessing the resources to pay for it.
Success Story 59
“A child in our preschool program started calling names and repeating a lot of other inappropriate words in the classroom. The teacher talked to mom, asking her what she does or how she disciplines the child. Mom stated that she spanks him. The teacher very calmly, started talking about this situation, instructing mom that spanking is not necessary and it’s not the solution. Instead, she should sit with the child, teaching him that these words are not proper or she should play some children’s videos, or even cartoon tapes and read books that contain examples that teach the children good manners and behavior. The mom took the teacher’s advice and in two weeks, the child never said any of those words again and it seems like he really learned how to respect people.”
Success Story 60
The note below is from a Client, who had been involved in an automobile accident and was left with severe leg and back injuries…..injuries so severe that she applied for, and was granted Social Security Disability Insurance. Before the accident, she had an established career, and the “good life”. She was now suddenly disabled without a job. A few months after the auto accident, her husband divorced her and she was left with a child to raise. With the help and encouragement of Ability Connection Colorado’s Job Developer, she was able to find a part time job. She is now working towards getting a needed certificate to get back into her former career. She has had many, sleepless nights worrying about not only her own survival, but, more importantly, her daughter’s. With her “never give up” attitude, she can see the light at the end of the tunnel and has great hopes of providing a loving/caring environment for her daughter. The note below was an email written to her Job Developer, after she had been working for a few months and was getting ready to move into a new apartment.
“What a beautiful morning it is! For the first time in so many years, I’m actually excited to start the day. Because of you I’m going to be able to put a deposit down on that apartment and buy groceries that may even include a treat like ice-cream,(butter pecan is my favorite)! ”
Success Story 61
When my friend had a problem about a guide dog she called me to see if I had any ideas, and I told her that I belonged to this really neat group and we ask just about anything and people come up with some great answers.
My friend liked the idea since we are from a small area and not a lot of people know where to turn to. I told her that this group has helped me out on all kinds of different things, and there are times where we just send emails telling about how rough things can get raising a special needs child and we get a “cyber hug.”
I am thankful for being part of this great group, without it when there are questions that someone around here can’t answer, I know that someone on Parent 2 Parent can at least lead me in the right direction or even come up with an answer.
Whoever it was that came up with this group needs a “cyber hug” and a huge THANK YOU.
Mother of child with (TBI, Non-Verbal, Seizure Disorder)
Success Story 62
This is the story of a young man, who has secured a position with Wal-Mart with help from Employment Works. He is a clerk, who retrieves carts, greets customers, as well as other duties. He has cerebral palsy and has a difficult time focusing. However, he has turned this around with the early intervention assistance of his employment consultant, and job coaching has indeed also been a success.
Prior to finding this job, he was feeling depressed and not knowing what his future would hold. His level of encouragement was low and motivation was bleak. Within 2 months, he went for an interview at this store and was hired. He called his Employment Works consultant and said he wanted to thank her over and over again for getting him a job.
This young man has proven to himself, his family and the community that there is a second chance in someone’s life to explore talents, experience successes and to commit to achieving goals. As he continues to happily work at Wal-Mart, he stays in touch and always says he loves his job.
Success Story 63
Actually I’m not sure how I got on p2p list in the first place, but I was glad to receive the email and to hear from other parents who have children with disabilities. It helps to know that you are not alone. Thank you very much for developing this site where parents can get advice and comfort from others in similar circumstances. It is certainly a “life line” for many of us.
Success Story 64
I have been a mentor with RAMP for two, going on three years. I have worked with a wide variety of youth in the program including youth from different schools coming from various backgrounds, experiences and disabilities.
I came to RAMP as a mentor for media arts. I was hoping to simply teach some kids about telecommunications and learn a bit more about telecommunications myself. When I made the commitment I did not consider the impact that the kids would have on me. Being involved with the kids in the RAMP program changed my life. Their optimism, openness and support of each other is nothing short of inspiring. I know we make a difference in their lives with skills planning and goal setting and healthy living. But they make a difference in my life too. I view and experience things with a new sense of wonder, and I am much less quick to judge. If I can improve their lives a tenth as much as they’ve improved mine, I’d say well done.
Success Story 65
At Creative Options Creative Learning Center, we have a family that persevered after a tragic situation. Three of the older boys were involved in an automobile accident. One walked away shocked, but fine, another was in the hospital for less than a week and the last unfortunately was in the hospital for quite a long time. This was a very hard situation for everyone, but Mom was strong and at the side of her son throughout the whole experience.
Through the weeks of the child’s hospitalization, the bond between the family and staff became tighter. Mom said that she was encouraged by all the people who had been supportive to her and gained more hope that her son would make it through. After six weeks of being at Children’s Hospital and having various therapies, the child was released. He is now talking, walking, and attending school half day. The family is happy to be reunited with their son and attributes much of his success in recovery to the support and strength of the staff at Creative Options.
Success Story 66
A veteran Special Education teacher working in Denver Public Schools works with students that are involved—or at risk for involvement—in the juvenile justice system. She recently implemented CP’s Ready to Achieve mentoring Program (RAMP), and appreciates the program’s hands-on approach. “Many at-risk youth with disabilities find themselves at the crossroads as they begin to define their lives. Many RAMP participant s who were not motivated to come to school are now showing growth and an enthusiasm to learn.”
Success Story 67
I really do appreciate the information and support we get! We’ve been checking the listserv regularly over the past week to monitor the Medicaid stuff.
Success Story 68
A guardian of two youth in the Ready to Achieve Mentoring Program was greatly disappointed after the school where her two youth participated in RAMP was closed, so she personally contacted their new school to encourage them to implement RAMP so that her youth could continue to be a part of the program. She has also made it her mission to contact other schools in the Denver area to encourage them to look into RAMP as well. This is what she has to say about RAMP:
”This program should be in every school! When they first started, I didn’t really know what the program was about, but after they had the chance to get involved I learned what a big deal it is. My kids have had the chance to learn about careers and industries they would never have had the exposure to otherwise. They have had the opportunity to work with their peers, mentors and other caring adults in various industries to teach them about the different kinds of careers that are out there and to even have hands on experiences with some of them. I’ve seen my kids begin to set and accomplish goals which is something I didn’t see them doing before RAMP. This is why I am making sure that RAMP is going to be a part of their new school’s programming! “
Success Story 69
A 9th grader and has participated in RAMP for the past two years and has experienced some great success. Over the course of two years, she was able to overcome many social barriers and really integrated into the group where she became a real leader within the program.
“I wish we had this class more often! I love that we get to eat food and that we get to learn about different careers. Our mentors are awesome and we keep coming back because they make us feel special. They have taught us how to work with each other, how to interview for a job and how we need to act once we do have a job. Thanks RAMP!”
Success Story 70
Thanks to everyone who responded to my question about the feeding clinic. I really appreciate all the information and encouragement I received. I am so thankful to all the parents on this list who share their knowledge and support with me and others who are new to this journey.
Success Story 71
This is from a 35 year old who suffered severe back injuries at work when he was 30 and lived on government benefits. With help from Employment Works, he obtained a job with a German solar power company, which offered him a very competitive salary with full benefits. Five days after he was hired, he was sent to Germany for a month to receive training on the company’s products. His comments follow:
“I am grateful to know that I can visit CP any time and as many times as I wish and I am inspired to break free of government benefits.”
He called CP two days before his departure for Germany and would not stop thanking everyone and saying that CP had brought him so much luck and inspiration and promised to contact CP again upon his return.
He promised that since he will be eventually training new hires in the Denver area, he would let CP know as soon as possible of open positions within his company. He believes that other individuals facing his same situation also deserve a chance.
Success Story 72
I am writing this letter on behalf of the Head Start Program to tell you of my view of the wonderful people and the outstanding program they have to offer.
When our oldest daughter started at their new center, we found it wasn’t just about someone watching her for a few hours a day; it was about learning and growing. It wasn’t just about playing, singing and dancing; it was about doing things together. It wasn’t about coloring, cutting and gluing; it was about creativity and the pride of accomplishment. It wasn’t about the trips to the park and all the neat field trips; it was about getting out in the world and experiencing new things, and going new places. It wasn’t just about meeting a dentist for the first time or talking with the nice nurse; it was about learning to take care of an important person. This fantastic guidance has not only supplied our daughter with the knowledge of her letters, numbers and colors; it has shown her that when all these things are used together, they can learn and grow in her daily life.
Head Start has not only taught our daughter a thing or two, but our whole family has learned how to grow together, help out, be of service to our community, take pride in our work, share what we can, give even if it hurts, and become involved in things we never even thought of.
We are so pleased and grateful to the Head Start Program that we have enrolled our second daughter in the 2001-2002 school year.
I myself used to be just one of the crowd, and have now found that I can take the lead and show leadership. With the support of the terrific people in this program, I know now that with them teaching myself and my child, that when it is time for us to move on, we will take with us something that will last a life time. I will be able to take the skills they have given me and continue to show my children that if you apply yourself and use kindness; anything is possible.
If it weren’t for sensational teachers and staff along with this incredible program at Head Start, our family would have probably never learned a thing!
Thanks for getting us involved and all of your caring. We very much appreciate it.
Success Story 73
I have gained so much valuable information from the parents on the list serv.
Success Story 74
A 36 year old woman with a disability of severe tendonitis referred to us by the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation, one of our community partners. She wanted to find employment. She was exceptionally reliable and cooperative— she followed up on every lead and stayed in touch with us regarding her progress during the process. She wanted a job in sales and her persistence paid off. She was eventually hired in as a sales development representative with a small wire and cable company. She had to be very flexible in this job, as she also became the Office Manager, the Customer Service Representative and the Marketing Director after her first 90 days. Her comments follow:
“I want to thank you for helping me through the process of finding employment. I understood the huge challenge of competing for an administrative/sales position here in the Denver Metro area. You helped me with sources of open positions, from the application process to interview techniques. You even provided post employment support to help me through the probation period. I greatly appreciate your patience and professionalism. Thanks again.”
Success Story 75
A woman started with Employment Works as an unemployed individual, who had trouble obtaining and retaining a job because of a lack of job skills, training and emotional and social challenges. (She was also plagued by a learning disability that was only discovered late in life.)
With the support of her job coach, she received an assessment and training, so she could set choice-driven goals and could begin planning how to get the skills to get there. Her job developer then negotiated and coordinated a paid 6 month internship with a federal agency for her. During her internship, she was taught the work skills she desired and needed.
During her first 6 months, she not only advanced her initial entry level skills, but also incorporated skill sets to include those that the federal agency needed. As a result, with ongoing job coaching and communication with her employer by her job developer, She was offered a full time position and has now been successful in her position for nearly one year and is going strong. Her job developer is still on the job to assist with post employment challenges and other changes in her life.
Success Story 76
First I want to say THANK YOU to everyone for all the information and support. I was able to attend the Fort Collins meeting last night (we had 5 people) which was great – lots of info, support, and clarity.
I’m really in a more peaceful, capable-feeling place today. What I realized last night is that there is no magic bullet, and this is just going to be hard, but that is what it is and we will get through. It was a revelation for me. I think it helped to know that it could be a lot worse and those moms are still here, getting through like we all are; I think part of the panic I was feeling was the unknown and not knowing how and if I would handle it, which seems silly this morning.
I believe part of what I was feeling was that I wanted something that would make him “normal” – and didn’t feel the supplements were doing
that even though they were helping a lot (he’s been off of them because of illness and then because they would muddy the waters for a
test we’re having done (no pun originally intended even though it is a urine test…haha). Now I realize that there is no magic bullet;
meds would be a struggle to get everything right too so there is no need to jump to them quite yet. This realization helped me switch
from a “panic, fix it now” mode to looking at this in terms of the long haul and taking it day by day.
As for practical issues, I’ve decided to continue to pursue functional medicine testing, and then as soon as possible get him
back on all the nutritional supplements he was taking until we get more concrete info from the functional testing. A couple of the
women at the meeting last night had good experiences with the EMPower that he has been on, so that gave me more faith to stick with
it. I’d like to get myself to start tracking and journaling too, though that is really hard for me to keep up with for some
reason. We are also going to pursue therapy for him, and at some point I probably will get a plan in place at school.
Then in the meantime, I want to just accept him as he is, and really celebrate the wonderful things together so that we get through this
current difficult spot.
I have more questions to discuss but wanted to say thank you and let you know I read everything even though I don’t always respond.
Success Story 77
A 55 year old man who came to Employment Works to learn about his Social Security Disability benefits and the work incentives offered by the government to help him make a decision about getting a job had been offered a Ticket to Work, which incentivized him to learn more about what would happen to his benefits if he got a job. His comments follow:
“I truly appreciate your personal contribution to my future work search action plan and your dedication.
“Thank you for information regarding Ticket to Work. I deeply appreciated your patience, sensitivity and understanding with regard to my personal disability circumstances…”
A 30 year old woman with a Master’s Degree in Counseling, who has suffered a stroke resulting in some cognitive challenges, came to Employment Works seeking more information regarding her Medicare and Social Security Disability benefits and what the consequences would be to her income if she were to go back to work. Her desires are to counsel youth. Her comments follow:
“Thank you for taking the time out of your schedule to meet with me today and explain my Social Security benefits and Medicare. So much of this stuff is a maze, so thanks for taking the time to explain it all to me-especially the acronyms! “
Success Story 78
We have been lurking since we joined during P2P last spring. Your group is amazing. Every time we need an answer it is here.
Success Story 79
A 30 year old, who is currently employed for Goodwill Industries maintains a position that involves working in a warehouse environment and also as a donations attendant. He informs his employment counselor from Employment Works that he also does other tasks for a variety of Goodwill stores, as well.
Prior to getting this job, he had other positions with various companies, but was unable to stabilize and retain his employment, due to his learning disability of attention deficit disorder. Thus, he kept forgetting his tasks and was not able to retain employment. He spoke about this with his employment counselor and wanted some intervention in terms of keeping to one task and basically trying to get understanding from an employer, who could assist him and acknowledge his disability.
To date, he continues to work for Goodwill Industries, and he informs his employment consultant he is doing very well and that his supervisor and coworkers are supportive.
This young man continues to explore his potential and has been successful in keeping his job at Goodwill.
Success Story 80
A job seeker was referred to us through the State Department of Vocational Rehabilitation. His type of disability centered on severe chemical dependency. He came to us for services while working at a construction company. His job required the building of heavy roof trusses. The heavy physical work combined with his advanced age and disability, set the tone to find an employment goal suitable to his current needs. His background included warehouse experience, production and assembly work, as well as, quality control experience.
The initial meeting with him indicated that he was stressed, confused and without direction. We immediately interviewed him to determine his employment history. This gave us the in depth information to develop a contemporary resume. The interview uncovered the type of work that would be a good fit for him. Once a direction was determined, frequent communication was initiated to establish trust and participation.
Through our continuous efforts with business, we were able to send his resume to a credible staffing agency located near his place of residency. An interview was arranged with the lead recruiter; he presented himself very well after several mock interviews at our agency. Today, he is working for a truck accessory manufacturer, responsible for a finishing operation. This job turned into a permanent position. His disability and work life stresses are under control. He has the peace of mind of realizing that post employment supports are only a phone call away.
Success Story 81
A Family Community Partnership Committee member realized that a blind parent might have been having trouble keeping up with information that was only presented via flyers or memos. She called around for support and this resulted in our Family Community Partnership team being able to call this parent regarding our newsletter and other important information that is presented in writing. We have also been able to translate some of our educational materials into brail! Thank you and our Parent Support Unit!
Success Story 82
One of our families has their two children enrolled in Creative Options. This mother has gone through many difficulties. Her history is hard and she has had many challenges to overcome. One challenge has been mental health. The mother knew of the need to see a Mental Health Provider, but for whatever reason, it had not been possible to make this happen. She recently made the decision to make an appointment and the Family Service Worker attended the first meeting with the parent. Today, the parent had her first appointment and she is very excited to continue her treatment. This mom likes that the therapist would like to see her after a week of their first meeting. Now mom feels that there is finally hope for her to finally feel good and be healthier in order to continue raising her children.
Success Story 83
One child who is enrolled in our program had a tragedy happen to her earlier this school year. At the beginning of the year her biological mom got in a car accident along with her younger brother. The police investigated the case and Mom was taken to jail accused of being at fault for the accident and also for child abuse and neglect for not having her son in a car seat. The mom appointed a friend to become the child’s temporary guardian while she is in jail. In the family there were a total of four children; two of whom stayed in one household and two in another household. The child has been doing mostly well considering her situations, but the teachers have noticed that she does need more social and emotional support. The temporary guardian has helped the child as best as she can. Mom is still in jail and awaiting trial in May; up until this last month the family was separated. Recently, another family friend has stepped in to become the official foster parent for the four children. Last weekend, the four children have been reunited and are very happy. This is a huge success because the children are together and have each other to support one another.
Success Story 84
Recently, one of the families at Florence had a fire in their kitchen. The family lost everything due to smoke damage and was left without their home or possessions. The Family Service Worker worked with the family by calling the Red Cross and they received vouchers for a hotel and the deposit for their new rental duplex. The family also received a lot of assistance gathering food, clothing and furniture. They are trying to put their life back together. The amazing part of this tragedy is the resilience and commitment of the family towards their children’s education. The child who attends school at the Florence site never missed one day of school while this was happening. His parents were very committed to bringing him everyday even when they were staying far away from school. Now, the family is trying to pull all of the pieces together and we are always here to assist them step by step.
Success Story 85
The Kiwanis Club came to our center and presented us with about a thousand books. The children sang beautifully to them. The Kiwanis gave out books to the children and afterwards read a story to the children in their classrooms. Each child received a book to take home. Kiwanis is a global organization of volunteers dedicated to changing the world one child at a time and one community at a time.
Success Story 86
A mother with her son enrolled with us needed some help. She previously attended our program with her older daughter. She works full time in the medical field. During a home visit, she expressed that she would like to own her own home. Ever since she has been in the program, she has lived with her child’s godmother. Mom was given resources for Habitat for Humanity and CHFA for home buying assistance. Mom recently happily reported that with the help of CHFA she has cleaned up her credit and is currently looking to get into a home. She has started looking at houses.
Success Story 87
One of our Head Start goals is to promote Kindergarten readiness skills to all of the children in our program. Another one of our goals is to encourage the parents to participate and advocate so that their children can succeed especially as they move into elementary school. Our success story combines both goals. One of the families in our program has a daughter who is Kindergarten bound. This year the mom has worked very hard alongside the teachers to have her daughter excel in her academic goals and gain more skills to become Kindergarten ready. Her child recently got accepted to a very elite Kindergarten, Aurora Quest. Aurora Quest is a school for very gifted children and is very competitive. We are very proud of the family and all of the work that mom has done to give her daughter such a great opportunity!
Success Story 88
A child in the Head Start Program and Preschool 1 failed her hearing four times since August 2011. The Audiologist would refer the child for a medical evaluation and twice Mom took the child to the Salud Clinic and the doctor would say that the child is fine. Mom was becoming frustrated so the Audiologist would say that she would test the child again and when the Audiologist did, the child failed again. The Audiologist collected all of the screening reports and gathered it together for Mom. The Parent Coordinator explained to Mom to take her to an ENT for an evaluation. When Mom did, the child had some hearing loss and will be getting tubes. In the end, Mom was so thankful that the staff continued to check the child’s ears. She expressed concern as to why the doctor never caught this and was happy that the staff did.
Success Story 89
This family has been participating in the program for three years, Her FPA goal at one time was to attend college, but she changed her goal along the way. PIA continued to encourage her to think about going to college, because she had the advantage of being a resident of the US. In November while setting a goal with mom, the PIA encouraged her one more time. The parent decided to meet with an advisor, then she got an appointment for financial aid. The parent shared with the PIA that she qualified for financial aid and she will receive help with $2,000 to help her with one year of college courses. Mother will start taking classes.
Success Story 90
“The Lorax” Literacy Event was a success in the month of March. Family Service Workers and Parent Involvement Aides dressed up as The Cat in the Hat and Thing One and Thing Two. Children were read The Cat in the Hat book. Also, children and their parents did a Cat in the Hat activity. Each child received a book at the end of the event. Parents were grateful as many of them thanked us for the fun event that was planned for the families.
Success Story 91
Ironton had a wonderful Community Resource Fair for their families. That had great participation from the community. These agencies participated and brought resources for families: Wells Fargo Bank, Colorado Bright Beginnings, Kid’s Choice Vision and Dental. Rights for all Peoples, Aurora Mental Health, Centro San Juan Diego, Parents as Teachers, Latino Psychotherapy, Developmental Services, Clinica Teppayacm and Aurora Community Connections. This fair was enjoyed by the community agencies, families and staff.
Success Story 92
One of the goals at Creative Options is that we aim to create partnerships with families. We encourage families to be self-reliant and help to create goals to improve their lives. One of our family’s goals was to get a well paying job with benefits. One single mom in particular has two children and the youngest is in our EHS program. She applied for several jobs while working cleaning offices on her own. Ability Connection Colorado hired this parent in April as a Kitchen Assistant. Mom stated that she feels more satisfied and accomplished and she sees a better future for her family. She continues going to school for ESL classes and attending therapy once a week. She smiles more often and feels more in control of her own life.
Success Story 93
We recently had a great Male Event. It was a bingo and reading night for males. Parents donated canned goods and other food items to make beautiful baskets for prizes. First, fathers and grandfathers read a story to their child. After the reading was over, we played fun educational bingo. Prizes were given to all parents because everyone was a winner. After bingo everyone had ice cream cones served by volunteer moms. The night was enjoyed by all.
Success Story 94
Our winter festival sponsor really came through again even with a very difficult economy. Western Summit has been working with Creative Options for the last ten years. They received an award from Judy Ham last year for their ongoing contributions, several years ago; they even helped with concrete at the Jamaica site playground.
This year the numbers have greatly increased at the Jamaica site that now serves three sessions of Family Enrichment along with three morning and afternoon session half day preschool classrooms. That’s a total of 130 families. They provided a clothing item as well as a toy for each child. They had a whole truck load as well as one car filled to the brim with presents. Beautiful songs were sung to the sponsors from the various classrooms as well as colorful hand-made cards that were made for the sponsors. The parents in Family Enrichment took a lot of pride in the art work that was created and the sponsors took a lot of pride in seeing all of the smiling and welcoming faces. It is truly a season of giving.
Success Story 95
The staff recently had an awesome low cost Male Event. King Soopers discounted dozens of donuts, juice was provided, and each family received a couple sheets of paper and crayons to use.
Families made paper airplanes to celebrate Leap Year with their children. Because it was Leap Year, everyone was technically much younger and this allowed everyone to relax and act like a child again! Male figures wrote special notes to their children inside the airplanes and those will be displayed along with beautiful family pictures on our Male Board. This was a very inexpensive and well attended event and the smiles went for miles. It was awesome to see all of the families sharing so much love and laughter together.
Success Story 96
The Infantile Scoliosis Outreach Program (ISOP) was contacted by a family, who had 2 children with progressive infantile scoliosis. This family had received multiple medical opinions on the best plan of care to treat their children and were not comfortable with the advice they were given. They were told to “wait and watch” their children’s scoliotic curves increase, until they grew to age 3, when they could undergo invasive, surgical spinal fusion and possible growing rods.
Dissatisfied with these invasive options, this family began researching their children’s progressive condition. They found the Infantile Scoliosis Outreach Program (ISOP) on line www.abilityconnectioncolorado.org/newsite/infantilescoliosis, to learn more information about this devastating condition. The website, and many phone calls to ISOP, provided the family with the education and information they desperately needed to pursue a timely, gentle, non-surgical, corrective treatment for their children. The family was referred by ISOP to the Shriners Centers of Excellence in Salt Lake City, where physicians and techs have been properly trained in the principles and methods of early treatment.
As a result, both children were placed in a series of specialized casts, and their organ crushing curves have decreased significantly. The eldest child was initially diagnosed with a dangerous curve of 86 degrees. (Scoliosis is considered anything above 7 degrees.) Approximately one and half years later, this child’s curve has decreased to 35 degrees, and he is in his last series of casts. The younger child was initially diagnosed with a 40 degree spinal curvature. His current measurement is 8 degrees. By not waiting, this child is a few months away from complete correction.
Success Story 97
My name is *Brittany and I’m 10 years old. I was at the Erie Shriners Hospital today and got my first cast. I did not get sedated or have any pain meds. At first I was scared, but then it was fun.
My curve was at 82 degrees on the lumbar curve. On the top I was at 62. My doctor did my casting and we all thought he was wonderful. He got my curve down to 40 on the lumbar! I think that it could even be tighter. He said that no one ever said that before he wants me back in 2 months but I think I’m going to have to go back sooner. My dad took pictures during the casting and we will try to post them this week. Thank you Heather & Olivia, I wouldn’t be in a cast getting correction right now if it wasn’t for you guys!!!
Success Story 98
I was given an update on you when I submitted a request to rejoin Empower. My thoughts are with you and I will hold you in my mind as healed. I can’t thank you enough for the strength and conviction you’ve contributed to other family healings-like mine.
Empower was a god-send when I was going through many crisis with my adopted son. Through Empower I learned strategies and had support from other families in similar situations. Thank you again for your support and know you have a huge community to support you in your time of need.
Success Story 99
Thank you for a delightful note. I would like to thank you for supporting military patients, families, and other beneficiaries during my tenure as Director of the DoD Patient Safety Program. Your support and participation has been invaluable to our sustainment efforts in preserving the wartime fighting force. With your help, we have made numerous accomplishments in preventing harmful events and saving the lives of patients within our medical treatment facilities.
Success Story 100
Thank you so much for being the keynote Presenter at our Patient Safety Forum and for sharing the heart-felt story of your son, Michael. Your presentation on the importance of clear and concise communication between healthcare providers, patents and their families was compelling, timely and critical for the audience to hear and absorb. The message of the video should be heard first-hand by all who work in healthcare so that we may be reminded of the impact a medical error has on both the patient and his/her family.
Your personal story and advocacy for patient safety was the highlight of our Patient Safety Forum; our leadership and staff are still talking about it!
Once again, thank you for working with us. We were honored to have you. I wish you continued success in your endeavors.
Success Story 101
I was one of the many people at the recent Bad Kissingen military medical conference who heard your story and was so moved. I came up to speak to you at the end but had so much and so little (what words are there to say at that moment?) to say that I could only muster a thank you for turning those events in your lives around to something positive for all of humanity.
I want to tell you that I am so so so sorry that you and your family had to endure this horrible trauma. No words can ever make that ok nor provide any solace.
I do, though, also want to thank you so very very much for not allowing this to cripple you but allowing this unbelievable tragedy to not remain just that. Nothing can ever balance your losses but by coming out “punching” you have been so instrumental in helping to prevent these events from happening to other families and individuals. I cannot begin to understand the depths of your loss but thank God or whomever that you were able to rally some inner resources and be a trailblazer for patient safety.
The loss of your son and the events leading up to it will never be “acceptable” but at least we can feel that yours and his pain, suffering and loss were not completely in vain. Don’t misunderstand: noone should ever have to make that sort of sacrifice, but using it to improve things for other patients and families is an enormous contribution. You are an incredible woman.
I also want you to know that many of us in the medical community ( I work as a physician assistant) try to be very vigilant about situations that seem “not right” and try ourselves to watch out for our patients. Some of us do care very deeply for those entrusted to our care. The details are unimportant and the consequences far below what your family encountered, but I did, as a provider, find myself in a situation where I watched a medical professional act in a manner I thought not the most appropriate. I want you to know that I did NOT stand by and allow that situation to spiral uncontrolled but involved many resources to ensure the patient in that situation received the best possible and appropriate care. I am sure you have since encountered many caring dedicated medical professionals and I just want you to feel comforted that many of us ARE out there!!
Have a success story to share? We would love to hear from you.
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