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To all Mothers,
On behalf of everyone at Special Kids Special Families, we'd like to take a moment to congratulate and honor you on Mother's Day.  Juggling work, home, and family is really hard, and you deserve major kudos for ALL you do.  Caring for a child or adult with special needs takes great strength, tenacity and resourcefulness.   You may feel frazzled, overwhelmed, pulled in a million directions with not enough of you to go around.  It's difficult and exhausting - but please know you are not alone.  We're here for you when you need a break or for just someone to listen. And one thing's for sure... you are appreciated and respected!
Enjoy this very SPECIAL day, dedicated just to you!  Happy Mother's Day!

SKSF Executive Director
RECOGNIZING NATIONAL FOSTER CARE MONTH

Thanks to Brenda Schneider and Laurie Vallejo for speaking before the county commissioners about their experience of being foster parents and the support they receive from SKSF. 

The Board of El Paso County Commissioners at its regular meeting Tuesday, May 2, recognized May 2017 as National Foster Care Month, and thanked foster families for opening their hearts and homes to children in need.

"All children deserve and benefit from enduring, positive relationships with caring adults, especially when their own families are in crisis and unable to provide for their essential well-being," said Commissioner Longinos Gonzalez, Jr., as he read the Proclamation into the record. "The immeasurable and ongoing gifts of time and caring given by foster families in El Paso County are greatly appreciated and deserve public thanks."

On any given day, 675 children on average are living in foster care and kinship care in El Paso County.

"Children in foster care require secure, stable places to call home until they can either safely reunite with their parents or establish other lifelong family relationships," said Julie Krow, executive director of DHS. "I want to thank El Paso County staff for all the great work they do to keep children safe. Foster families bring in children at all hours of the night, in all kinds of circumstances. They deserve our greatest respect."  Read more of the article here...

Various foster families in El Paso County, Colorado receiving thanks from the County Commissioners

The 2nd annual Cases of Love event took place on April 23, 2017 in which the founder, Becky Wyzykowski found herself surrounded with over 4,000 suitcases, back packs, totes, and duffle bags, versus the 200 she received in 2016!  Cases of Love is a nonprofit organization that receives donations of suitcases, back packs, duffle bags, etc.,  from all over El Paso and Teller County, with hopes of providing every child in the foster system in El Paso and Teller county with the biggest necessity for moving... a  suitcase.


It is too often a child is moving from place to place without anything but a large black trash bag full of their belongings. The goal with this organizati on is to minimize the trash bags and maximize the use of suitcases.


This event took place at the downtown Pikes Peak YMCA and many organizations showed their support by dropping off donations.  Some of those organizations included the Police/Sheriff's Department, USA Volleyball, and many other organizations. Families from the community even showed their support with donations as well.

Special Kids Special Families was very fortunate to be part of this event in which we received over 50 back packs, suitcases, and countless duffle bags for the children associated with the company.   SKSF also received numerous hygiene products for children who have entered the system without any of the important things.

THANKS FOR THE GENEROUS SUPPORT OF OUR COMMUNITY!
 
VOLUNTEER HIGHLIGHTS
VOLUNTEER SPOTLIGHT

SKSF Volunteer, D ona Bear, comes in every morning to Adult Services and greets our clients at the door.  She has been there since March 28th.

Dona is a retired nurse.  She said she loves volunteering at Adult Services and starting her day with the clients.  It gets her morning started right! 
 
Joni Edmisten, ICAN Coordinator at SKSF Adult Services says, "Dona is a great help to Adult Services.  She helps with unloading our clients from the buses, greets them by name with a smile and stays until they reach their destinations. She is very much appreciated!"

THANK YOU DONA FOR GOING ABOVE & BEYOND! 
INTERESTED IN VOLUNTEERING?

We are looking for volunteers to 
join our 6th Annual NIGHT OF COMEDY fundraising committee. We need help in various areas like planning, organizing, decorating, auction items & help with gathering sponsors. Please consider joining! Meetings will be held monthly up until the event date - 10/28/17.

Contact Linda at LEllegard@sksfcolorado.org or Theresa Jordan at tjordan@sksfcolorado.org to be added to the committee  or call (719) 447-8983.  Thank you! 


SKSF NEWS - GRANTS RECEIVED
Ent Grant Youth Endowment Series recipients

Special Kids Special Families  would like to thank  Ent Credit Union  for selecting SKSF/Zach's Place as a recipient (1 of 18 with over 160 applicants!) of the YES (Youth Endowment Series) Grant for 2017! The $2500 grant will help fund respite services for lower income families using the ability to pay scale.  Zach's Place Director, Andrea Sedgley  attended the grant reception ceremony at ENT Credit Union.  Our families appreciate your support!

SKSF Zach's Place program has received a grant for $600 from Alliance for Kids (http://www.allianceforkids.org/) to be used toward Early Childhood toys and materials.  Zach's Place Director, Andrea Sedgley, met with the AFK Coach recently to develop Quality Improvement Goals to justify this spending. SKSF is currently shopping for items and will be making the purchases soon & will introduce these toys/materials to our kiddos! How exciting - thanks so much!


 

COMMUNITY DONATIONS
PIKES PEAK URBAN GARDENS


Thank you  Pikes Peak Urban Gardens  for your generous donation of vegetable and flower seeds to our Adult Program! Adult program participants started an array of seedlings indoors and depending on the weather, we are looking forward to planting flowers outside very soon! Your donation is appreciated!  http://www.ppugardens.org/

  

LOCAL BUSINESSES GIVE

Thank you  Williams-Sonoma at the Promenade Shops in Briargate and  Avenue Hotel Bed and Breakfast in Manitou Springs for your donations to our employee gift baskets! 
We received spices, cookware, kitchen gadgets, cupcake pans, cupcake mix, cookie mix, bakeware, & so much more from PLUS the wonderful cookbooks donated by Gwenn David, owner of Avenue Hotel Bed & Breakfast. Thanks Jenny Butts for your hand in this!!
 
IN THE COMMUNITY

Representatives from Zach's Place attended the YMCA Healthy Kids Fair recently. At the SKSF, 
Zach's Place booth, we played an interactive 
exercise game with the children, where we tossed them a large beach ball with a variety of exercises written on it. When they caught the ball, we completed the exercise(s) written where their hands landed. We also asked them for their ideas on "Why Do We Exercise" and had them write responses on a whiteboard.  What great fun everyone had!


  


A number of representatives from SKSF took turns manning our booth at the Pikes Peak Interagency Transition Fair. We had at least a dozen families stop by our booth to ask about our services. Area agencies, businesses, and providers to come together and provide information on services for individuals with all types of disabilities.  Thank you Pikes Peak Interagency Trasition Team for giving us this opportunity to spread the word about our valuable services!

UPCOMING SKSF EVENTS

THE NETWORK: MEDICAID BENEFITS FOR YOUR CHILD
Understanding Medicaid buy-in & waiver programs
Friday, May 19th , 2017
6:00pm - 7:30pm
 
Are you raising a child with special needs and would like to learn more about Medicaid benefits?

Please JOIN US for a free informational presentation hosted by Zach's Place and meet presenter Kathy  Ciano-McGee, RN, BSN. Kathy has been administering the Children's - Home and Community Based Children's (C-HCBS) waiver for over 12 years and will be able to answer any questions you may have regarding this important topic. Refreshments will be provided.  Childcare is available.

To print a flyer & more information visit:  http://sksfcolorado.org/event/the-network/  

OTHER AREA EVENTS

Autism Aspergers Connections
Autism Social/Walk
America the Beautiful Park
26 Cimino Drive,  Colorado Springs, CO

SATURDAY, MAY 20TH, 2017
10AM - 2PM

Autism and Asperger Connections is hosting their 3rd Annual walk.  It will simply be a FUN event - No fundraising or costs.  AAC is paying for everything!  Bring a picnic lunch and enjoy a day at the park! Click here to print a flyer...

Treena White
Direct Care Provider
Zach's Place Program
Sarah Valerio
Adult Mentor
ICAN Program
Berna Keatingto
Adult Mentor
Joey's Place Program

Ashley Vargas
Home Supervisor
CPA/Foster Program
Treena White
Direct Care Provider
Zach's Place Program
Abigail Reynolds
Direct Care Provider
Zach's Place Program



Colorado Springs Business Journal Best in Business is in progress! Please vote for Special Kids Special Families as your favorite in the "non-profit organization" category. We appreciate your vote and supporting our organization!  http://www.csbj.com/vote


Would you consider donating to support our programs
for children and adults with disabilities?

Many low income families that utilize our programs for their loved ones are enrolled in our "ability to pay" program. Your donation helps these families with respite and daycare & YOU cover the deficit!

Place a recurring donation (deducted from your credit card or bank account monthly, quarterly or yearly) OR a one-time donation. Thank you for your generosity!