We stand for helping families with special needs find a place within the world, and that is why we support the Joni and Friends organization. This organization helps families with special needs children by offering resources, assistance, and encouragement. One of the ways in which Joni and Friends helps special needs families is by hosting family retreats. Recently, one of our wonderful CapeAble employees, Karen, attended a retreat with her daughter.
Karen and her daughter loved the experience! “It was awesome!” Karen said. And what’s not to like? These retreats provide a huge variety of activities including: horseback rides, zip lines, rock walls, swimming pools, jet skis, speedboats, pontoons, and more. They also have crafts, dancing, and singing. Karen said,
“The highlight is the talent show, where anybody with any talent they want to share just gets up on stage. And my daughter likes to sing, so she sang.” The retreats are not just about having fun; they are about empowerment.
The retreats are also about providing a break for families and caregivers in a safe, worry-free environment. Each child with special needs is paired with a STM (short-term missionary) who accompanies the child and helps provide for his or her needs. It’s “a breather” and a vacation. What kind of vacation? Karen describes it, saying:
“One of my friends, they said, ‘This is our Walt Disney World,’ because it’s a happy place.”
Children are offered the time of their lives, with or without disabilities, and the caregivers are offered the pampering that they so deserve. Parents can sign up for massages, manicures, and makeovers, and they can enjoy peaceful date nights while their children are under expert care.
We are so glad that Karen and her daughter could experience this retreat which is a time and place, as her daughter describes it, “When world collides, non-disabilities verses disabilities.” We understand the importance of having a community for those with disabilities. Family retreats offer a place where families are not judged or rejected for having a child with special needs behave in any way outside of the norm. Instead, everyone is gracious and understanding.
Joni and Friends knows the meaning of hospitality, and we were happy to have had a part of this experience. At a recent retreat, not only were we happy to send one of our lovely employees with her family, but we were also thrilled to donate a Fidget and a Calming Cover for a drawing.
A caring mother won the Fidget and was excited to give it to her wheelchair bound son, saying, “He’s gonna love this!” The family who won the Calming Cover was so excited to share it with their two daughters in wheelchairs. They told Karen, “It’s not only blessing one child but two.”
We are happy to highlight and support organizations, like Joni and Friends, who make it their mission to serve families with special needs, and we are excited to reach out to more families, providing for their needs and helping them become CapeAble.