In this Issue: 
President's Message:  
What are You Thankful For?
Reminder: Open Enrollment Medicare Part D
Are You Planning a Vacation...?
This is Where We Will Be

President's Message:
To all those who have touched my life in the past years, I am so thankful for everything and everyone in my life. I was blessed with a very special sister, Marcia, who had cerebral palsy. It was Marcia who taught me what really matters in life. My siblings taught me to love in spite of, and because of, our differences. My parents taught me that I could make a difference in the world, one person at a time. My friends have taught me how people who are not related to me, can be counted on every day of the week. And my clients taught me that I always need to try to be better than I was the day before. I have been blessed beyond anything I could ever imagine.

I was fortunate enough to spend last weekend at an amazing "women's camp" at the top of a mountain in Malibu, CA, called Campowerment. There I was surrounded by like-minded women, who in their own worlds, make a difference each and every day. I participated in a disco dancing competition, climbed a telephone pole and jumped off onto a trapeze, meditated and experienced mind provoking exercises with professionals from all over the world. I went to Campowerment to rejuvenate, but mostly I went to think about how I could make a bigger difference for the families I serve.  

Over the last year, I have found power in the families I work with. When families are together, ideas flow, energy is enormous, and things get done. I realized I could offer an Empowerment Camp for family members of those with special needs, and bring the same profound experience I had to the families that Protected Tomorrows serves. Imagine, you could build your plan, make sure your legal work was moving forward,  identified new residential and employment opportunities, and finalized your financial plan, all in a safe place, while you had fun! And while doing this, you would meet other families who are in similar situations with similar goals and needs. And, do it in an environment where you were nurtured and pampered, (like the top of a mountain, or a forest, or alongside the ocean). And I thought, "YES, I can do that"! So, as I soon as I got back, I started talking to families about it, and I heard many say "YES, Let's do it". So, STAY TUNED for the details. I know we can make a difference, fifty families at a time!  We ARE going to do this in 2018. 

I walked out of camp not only with energy, but gratitude beyond anything I've ever felt before. I'm so grateful for having the opportunity to work with the families we have helped. My life has been blessed by every one of you. I'm grateful for my team that has been by my side to help me accomplish our mission.

I'll share a few pictures of the wonderful views that helped me find clarity in my life, and I hope you enjoy them as much as I did. 

I look forward to the coming year. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your families. For now, I will leave you with the gratitude and love that I feel for all of you.

Mary Anne Ehlert,
President & Founder


What Are You Thankful For?

Most of us will list off many of the same things when we are asked "What are you thankful for?" Love of family, friends, food, cell phones, etc., but this article takes a look at what a special needs mom is thankful for. Many of the same things, but from a different perspective ... Thank you Bonnie for opening my eyes.

Special Thanks From a Special Needs Mom    (updated Nov. 24, 2016)
By Bonnie Zampino                                                                       Read the full article here
The asked parents with special needs children "what they wish others could understand on Thanksgiving". To help spread some empathy, the article lists 25...

2 5 Truths Special Needs Parents Wish Others Understood This Thanksgiving
By Melissa McGlensey    (Nov. 24, 2016)                                     Read the full article here

Sometimes we forget that the smallest of encounters make the biggest impact in our lives. This article at reminds us to 'cherish what you have'

A Special Needs Thanksgiving:15 Things I Am Thankful For   (November 21, 2012)
By Karen Wang                                                                              Read the full article here


Medicare Part D
Fall Open Enrollment began

October 15, 2017 and ends December 7, 2017

Are You Planning a Vacation Over the Holidays?
                                                                            Spring Break?
                                                                                            Summer Break?

"Taking a family vacation with a child with special needs can be challenging. Thankfully, many hotels and vacation destinations now go out of their way to welcome kids of different abilities, which means there are more options than ever before. The best plan is to take advantage of all the great resources at your disposal." TripSavvy (great name) has great trip insights in this article
"Planning a Family Vacation With a Special Needs Child"
by Teresa Plowright                                                                                Read the full article here

Finding just the right place to go with your family can be challenging. Take a look at a company called Exceptional Vacations. This company provides high quality supervised vacations for individuals with Special Needs. They provide experienced travel escorts that include social workers, teachers, group home and day program counselors. Their trips range from Florida attractions to Las Vegas, Boston, Washington DC, Cedar Point and cruises, including several overseas trips. Exceptional Vacations has a 5 star rating.

Check out Protected Tomorrows website here for more travel agencies specializing in travel for people with special needs and their families.


This is Where We Will Be...

                 Chantilly, VA
                 Hoffman Estates, IL

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