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Utah Nonprofits Hoping for Help on #GivingTuesday

Utah nonprofits hoping for help on #GivingTuesday

After a weekend of getting and gifting, Tuesday marks a bit of a kick-off for the giving side of the holiday season.

Giving Tuesday is a national movement that promotes donating to local and national charities. Also known as #GivingTuesday, the day started in 2012 as a way to encourage people to get involved in their local communities and donate time, money or resources.

For the small team behind Kids Who Count, a Salem nonprofit, this is their first year participating in #GivingTuesday. Kids Who Count serves children in the Nebo School District area with early intervention programs for those with developmental disabilities. The organization is new to fundraising, as it has held a federal early intervention grant since 1986, which helps provide the needed services. Because of Utah’s growth in the last few years, though, the organization needs additional funds, says Kelsey Lewis, executive director of Kids Who Count.

“The number of children needing services exceeds our capacity. In the past five years we’ve seen a 40 percent increase in the number of children we’re serving,” she said in a phone interview last week, explaining that the resources from the grant have remained fairly static during that same timeframe. “We’re looking for ways to scale up our program to better match the needs of our community.”

Lewis said they are hoping to raise funds to expand their autism program, offering more therapy for longer periods of time. They have also outgrown their building at 345 N. State Road 198 in Salem, and hope to remodel and expand it.

Lewis said Friday early donations to the Kids Who Count campaign had already hit about $1,000. She is hoping to reach $5,000 by Tuesday.

“But it doesn’t have to happen all on Giving Tuesday. If we can create some awareness in the community with this, that would be good. We need community support for our programs to continue to make it happen,” she said. “It will be fun to see how this first campaign goes.”

 

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Holly BushnellUtah Nonprofits Hoping for Help on #GivingTuesday
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Utah Jazz arena adds ‘sensory room’

Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert joins children and their families in the new Sensory Room designed and built by Vivint Smart Home and the Utah Jazz

Vivint Smart Home Arena can explode with noise when Rudy Gobert slams home a thunderous dunk or when Donovan Mitchell drills a 3-pointer from just short of midcourt.

Those decibel levels can be pretty overwhelming for children who have autism or other neurodiverse conditions. So the arena sponsor’s philanthropic arm, Vivint Gives Back, installed a “sensory room,” where kids and individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities can go to cool off.

“This space is about kids and families,” said Nate Randle, Vivint Smart Home’s chief marketing officer. “To know there’s a spot where it’s quiet, and that Mom or Dad could bring a kid here for 15 to 20 minutes to settle down without having the leave the game, people are excited about that.”

READ THE ARTICLE IN THE SALT LAKE TRIBUNE

 

Holly BushnellUtah Jazz arena adds ‘sensory room’
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JOIN US FOR THE ANNUAL PICNIC

We are so fortunate to work with wonderful children and families. We want to celebrate with all of you. If you are currently receiving services from Kids Who Count, please join us for our annual family picnic at Salem Pond on Monday, August 28th from 6:00 to 7:30 pm. Dinner will be served so you must RSVP. PLEASE CALL 801.423.3000 TO RSVP BY 8/18!

Holly BushnellJOIN US FOR THE ANNUAL PICNIC
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Their Voice: Kids Who Count celebrates 30 years of early intervention

Daily Herald Article:

Last week I received an invitation in the mail to attend the Kids Who Count 30th anniversary celebration Tuesday evening. I have written several times about Kids Who Count, an early intervention program funded by the Health Department and serving the Nebo School District area. Early intervention provides a multitude of services for newborn children through age 3 and their families.

Last week I received an invitation in the mail to attend the Kids Who Count 30th anniversary celebration Tuesday evening. I have written several times about Kids Who Count, an early intervention program funded by the Health Department and serving the Nebo School District area. Early intervention provides a multitude of services for newborn children through age 3 and their families.

As I was driving to the open house I couldn’t help but think that 30 years ago when the Americans with Disabilities Act was still a concept, Susie Parrett was in Salem, Utah, just looking for a way to help her two children who had both experienced a head injury.

“I had no intention to start anything,” reflects Parrett. “I just wanted to get some help for my kids.”

Instead, with prompting from the Health Department, Susie started Kids Who Count in the basement of the San Andres Catholic Church in Payson. The six children who started 30 years ago have now turned into 270 who are currently being served.

“We know there are a lot more who need our services,” says Kelsey Lewis, executive director of Kids Who Count. “We really wish we could reach out to all of them.”

The celebration consisted of bouncy houses, games, pizza, snow cones, popcorn and a lot of great conversation and recollection of wonderful memories. Many of the children in attendance are still in the program, and many more have completed early intervention and progressed to the Special Ed Program through Nebo School District. Some of the children are now adults.

One particular mother who made sure she attended was Cheltsy Moore. Cheltsy’s son, Brody, entered the Kids Who Count program in 2011. Brody was born 10 weeks early and was at Primary Children’s Hospital until October that year. When it was time for Brody to go home, a coordinator from Primary Children’s Hospital set up a conference call with his parents and Mary Walker, a nurse at Kids Who Count.

“When it was finally time to take Brody home, we were both excited and nervous. We had been warned so much about germs and taking him out that we weren’t really sure what to do. He was still connected to a lot of tubes,” Moore recalls.

Luckily for the Moores, nurses from Kids Who Count started coming in to check on him right away. “Brody wasn’t even able to turn his head when he came home,” Moore recalls. “Mary and other therapists were able to teach him to turn his head, sit up and eventually walk in his walker.”

Services through Kids Who Count included physical therapy, swimming (which Brody really loved), speech therapy and weight checks, while they were working with his physicians to get him to eat. Since the Moores’ insurance could only pay for 20 services a year, Kids Who Count was able to bridge the gap and give him the services that he needed.

Additionally, the therapists were able to work with the family and teach them the things they need to know to continue the sessions daily.  It was refreshing for Brody’s parents to work with individuals who were able to fully understand his diagnosis and knew exactly what they were talking about.

Brody finished the Kids Who Count program when he turned three and advanced to the Special Education program. However, for the Moores and other families involved in early intervention, the relationships did not stop.

“The staff at Kids Who Count become like family,” says Moore. “Since they come to your house instead of making you go to them, they get to know everyone. My other children also looked forward to the visits from the therapists and staff.”

Cheltsy might not have realized how close the people from Kids Who Count really were to her family until a year ago, when Brody unexpectedly passed away from complications of his condition.

“They all come to the funeral to show their support and I understood that my loss was also their loss,” Moore says. “Sometimes we will go to the cemetery and find little notes from them on his headstone.”

I imagine that attending the anniversary celebration this week was not easy for Cheltsy, but she went anyway to show her support and appreciation for the program and staff whom she still sees as part of her family.

So it is on behalf of Cheltsy, Brody, and the hundreds of other families who are connected to this program that I congratulate the Kids Who Count program on all of their successes. From Susie Parrett to the current organization, I hope that you are always able to continue the support that you provide for our small community.

Holly BushnellTheir Voice: Kids Who Count celebrates 30 years of early intervention
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Their Voice: Understanding early intervention programs in Utah Valley

BY MONICA VILLAR RISE

Brenda Winegar and Karen Hahne probably didn’t set out to change the world, but in 1983, they did just that. Each a mother of a young child with a developmental disability, they were looking for resources that would help them create an environment to help their children be successful.

What resulted was far beyond what either expected — the creation of “Kids on the Move Early Intervention.”

Winegar recalled, “It was about potential, determination, experience and the willpower to build something that seemed impossible. It was also about heavenly help when we became discouraged.”

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