“I just want my baby to be happy.”
April is a UCP of Long Island “parent”, whose daughter, Ashley – her “princess” –graduated from the Children’s Center in June. Ashley, now 21, was born with Cerebral Palsy; her graduation was joyously celebrated by her entire family.
“My father flew in from Trinidad for Ashley,” April shares, her pride in her daughter overflowing.
“Her happiness is all we want.”
Isn’t that what we all want for our children?
Parents of a child with a disability have to work hard to find the support and services that will help ensure their child’s safety, learning, and yes – happiness. April recalls her diligent search, nearly 20 years ago, to select a school for Ashley. She visited many different schools before deciding The Children’s Center was the perfect match for her then 2-year-old daughter.
“Really, it’s just a happy, warm place.” April shares, thinking back. “And Ashley loved that school from day one. I remember, on her first days of school, waiting for the bus – she was so tiny but so excited! I was nervous, but she was super excited to go.”
Ashley grew up at The Children’s Center, making friends and receiving the personalized care and support she needed to learn, grow, and thrive. Those were happy years.
Fast forward nineteen years to graduation day: Ashley is beaming, alongside family, friends and staff.
Mom April, Ashley’s sister, Ariel – and UCP of Long Island – are by Ashley’s side as she transitions from The Children’s Center to the next, adult chapter of her life.
So, Ashley is 21. An adult. Now what?
Last spring, Ashley was one of 250+ students with a disability to graduate from Long Island schools and transition to adult programs.
Once again, April searched to find the best program for Ashley, one that would meet her on-going adult needs. Fortunately, April has always been focused on transition services. In the years leading to Ashley’s graduation, April researched adult day habilitation programs that were person-centered, that provided opportunities for recreation and socialization, and that would help Ashley become more independent. Most importantly, the program would need to incorporate the things Ashley loved, such as music and crafts.
Once again, after visiting other programs, April decided that UCP of Long Island offered a full range of Adults Services that proved to be the best match for Ashley. This August, Ashley enrolled in UCP’s Adult Day Habilitation Programs.
These months have been an adjustment for the whole family. Ashley – always social – has made friends and is getting used to her new schedule and her surroundings. April and Ashley are working with staff to select services that reflect Ashley’s needs and interests. As an adult, there are many choices available to her. Ashley’s program day will include on-site and community-based learning to increase her independence, build her social and communication skills, and enable her to pursue her interests and hobbies.
“UCP is so important to us….” April shares. “It is so good to know your kids can go somewhere where they are happy and accepted.”
For 70 years, UCP of Long Island has been a trusted and supportive resource.
Thankfully, we ensure that moms like April, and all families with a loved one with a disability, aren’t alone. We provide the compassionate care and individualized programs for children and adults that help each individual we serve live a Life Without Limits.
Each year the gap between what government funding covers and what it doesn’t grows and our need for donations from our supporters increases. Yet because of people like you – who support our programs that help people with disabilities work, live in beautiful residential homes, pursue competitive employment, enjoy fulfilling personal relationships, and achieve their highest levels of independence – our important work continues.
Which is good news. Because parents like April just want their kids to be happy. And so do we.
Please click here and make your donation today!
You may also mail your donation to:
UCP of Long Island
250 Marcus Blvd.
Hauppauge, NY 11788
Thank you for remembering the adults and children with disabilities served by UCP of Long Island this holiday season.
We hope you and your loved ones enjoy a happy and healthy holiday season and a peaceful 2020!
Camille S. Schramm
Director of Development & Public Relations