Thursday, March 22, 2012


For those of you that have followed our journey you are very well aware of the fact that the last two years I was completely frustrated at home with Cruz trying to work through the ins and outs of day to day with a very frustrated and anxious 2 year old that didn't know how to communicate. My only break came when I would go to the gym for some alone on the eliptical to try to work on choreography in my head. Mind you these trips took a good hour or two ahead of time to dress both kids, pack up, get them in the car, drive out, unload and get both across a large parking lot, checked in, taken to the childcare area and then after a grueling work out do it all in reverse again. It was the only time I knew Cruz would be forced to interact with other children, most of whom he didn't know. I would anxiously linger by the window after dropping him off and picking him up only to find him sitting in the corner by himself and not interacting with anyone. I was desperate to find anything at all I could take him to that could possibly provide therapy or at the least give him a guided chance to be with others his age. I would have literally just handed my check book over to someplace that could give me the opportunity to meet other moms whose kids had similar issues. I knew nobody. Some of you were very kind to put me in touch with other people whose kids were special needs but most of you live in other states. Fortunately, via family friends I got in touch with Deb Fusek. Deb started The Reach Effect Foundation (, an organization that helps connect parents of special needs to local resources. Deb agreed to meet with me for coffee and I felt like I had finally found another mom that had been through some of the same scenarios as us. It gave me a touch of hope. We continued with our weekly therapy for Cruz last summer and I decided I was finally ready to get back into business. I had been freelancing choreography for the last three years but realized it was time to have my own space. We opened POINT Performing Arts (, offering ballet, jazz, lyrical, contemporary and hip hop for all ages. Long before the doors had opened I noticed Cruz's love of music. He is always humming, singing, and drawn to music. I knew that as soon as we got our feet on the ground we would need to provide some type of setting for special needs kids. For months Jason and I talked, prayed, planned, and tried to come up with the right scenario for a special needs class. In January I contacted 417 magazine about advertising. They were getting ready to run their Summer Camps issue and I had only a few days to submit before the deadline. They sent me the link from last years magazine and I was shocked to find that in the Special Needs section there was only 2 camps listed. Camp Barnabas, and The Red Cross had a diabetes awareness program. Stepping out in blind faith I went ahead and advertised for a summer day camp and we threw in a tid bit about special needs as well. I wasn't sure what exactly it would look like but I knew that we were going to do something. I called Deb that week and arranged a meeting at the studio. I layed out my vision and my desire to see something that kids could come do and something that parents could connect during. We talked about several different scenarios and I asked Deb if she had any interest in being involved in this program in any way. Thankfully, she was interested and we agreed that we needed to find someone amazing to either create a program or run it. I knew that this had to be a licensed person to make it legitimate. We both began contacting everyone we knew. Deb hit the jackpot. Brooke Allen, BCBA, LBA, had already been contacted by parents interested in a social skills class and had created a curriculum for a summer program. All this said, the "SUPERSTARS" summer special needs program has been created. Our tagline is "REACH.CONNECT.POINT"! Through this 18 session program will help prepare kids for the class room and focus on social skills. We will even incorporate some movement and music/dance breaks. It has been amazing to see how quickly all of this has come to fruition. Brooke already has families lined up ready for the program. We will "REACH" our little Superstars! We will "CONNECT" our Superstars with eachother! We will "POINT" them towards a brighter future! We are working around the clock now to finalize our plans for our fundraiser on May 3 at Highland Springs. We will have a sit down dinner, live dancing, silent auction, and inspirational program allowing people to make donations through The Reach Effect Foundation. Our goal is to raise enough money so that we can lower the cost to families. Most insurance companies won't cover these types of classes and out of pocket therapy usually ranges from $70/hour to $200/hour. Our goal is to bring that cost down to around $10-15/hour. We are looking for businesses that are interested in being corporate sponsors and donating financially or that are willing to donate items or services to our silent auction. We have an amazing committee that has been formed to help make this whole thing happen and I feel so blessed to be working alongside people like Deb and Brooke. As soon as we knew that Cruz had special needs, we knew we wanted to do more to get involved in the community. We weren't exactly sure what that looked like but we knew God had big plans for the little guy. You can read more about that in other blogs, like "I know that I know that I know" and "Superman". We felt immediately that we were given this little guy to learn from him and in turn help others. It's amazing to think of all of the times Cruz has pushed my buttons, how drained I felt, and how I longed for some type of program that might help him. It's amazing to see how God stirred it in our hearts and immediately brought people into our lives like Deb and Brooke. Its amazing to see how doors keep opening left and right to get this thing ready for this summer. And its amazing to think of how many families are going to be blessed, how many kids, siblings, and parents are going to be able to grow and connect. If you are interested in being involved or donating, please contact me! We'll keep you posted...

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