Nothing gives our organization greater meaning or purpose than the individuals and families we serve. We would like to share a few vignettes of some of our program participants and families.
Laura is an 20-year-old diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Her mother began bringing her to programs at I CAN! Arts & Resource Center in summer 2013 because she was depressed and withdrawn. She had no desire to leave her home, even for a short walk to enjoy the flowers outside.
After months of participating in art, dance and other programs with her peers Laura attended a dance class with a group of younger children where she requested an opportunity to address the children at the conclusion of the class. Laura shared the impact I CAN! of Arkansas programs have had on her life, saying, “I know God helped me and He can help you, too!” When she had finished sharing, the younger children began asking Laura for advice – about schoolwork, about being made fun of, about how to strive for more. This 18-year-old went from being completely withdrawn to mentoring others with special needs in a few short months.
Lisa is the mother of a 16-year-old daughter diagnosed with developmental disabilities, as well as twin 15-year-old boys. When Lisa came to I CAN! Arts & Resource Center she was struggling to advocate for her daughter in school and medical situations. I CAN! of Arkansas staff have helped her access the resources needed to become a stronger advocate for her daughter and her sons.
While relaxing on the back deck at I CAN! Arts & Resource Center, Lisa commented, “I don’t know what we would do without this place. Our day-to-day challenges can sometimes be overwhelming and stressful. We’ve made friends here who understand. The other day I sat on the deck with my son and we just talked. It was quiet and peaceful, relaxing. I don’t feel like we get a lot of that…but we can always find it here.”
Eli & Ashton
Eli is a 10-year-old with dwarfism who has been participating in I CAN! of Arkansas since the Fall of 2012. He loves all the programs, but he really impresses people with his dance and soccer skills.
At 10 years old, Eli had never met another person with dwarfism…until the Spring of 2013 when 8-year-old Ashton, who also has dwarfism, signed up for soccer. It was a heart-touching moment for their mothers when the two saw one another for the first time and exclaimed, “Hey, you’re just like me!” Then they practiced like champs and during their break they flopped into a heap of exhausted giggles in the grass. They have been fast friends ever since!