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Attendees comments from Community Conversations:

“I just wanted to thank you that was a wonderful meeting and I am very excited as to the potential of work that will be done.”

“Thank you for taking the lead in our community to bring everyone together and to conduct a community wide needs assessment.  I thought today went very well.  The day was well-organized, Betsey did a great job of moderating and there was a room full of committed individuals.  Thank you!  Nice job!  I was thrilled to be able to participate.”

Thanks again for your efforts regarding our “community conversations.” I have found both meetings to be productive and actually made a new connection at each one.

“I want to thank you for putting together the wonderful community meeting that took place today. You are making the things I have only dreamed of happen. You are amazing! I am honored to be a part of such a life-changing project.”


Jack Scott, FAU CARD

Sharon Alexander and Unicorn Foundation have really done some great work in getting the attention of some major foundations and even Children’s Services Council and United Way to  take a very serious look at special needs issues in Palm Beach County.  This Community Conversation is a key part of the overall process.  In addition,  Unicorn is spearheading  a major very professional and expensive study of disability needs, gaps, services etc. country-wide.   The products of this study  will serve as the  basis for public policy change and action.  It will have real data, the kind of information that county commissioners,  school board members, CSC board members and others need to make changes when changes are warranted. 

Most of us know that a very similar effort in Broward now almost 10 years ago brought about huge changes in the coordination of disability services with a heavy focus on services for children and youth with disabilities.    It also brought dramatic increases in funding.  And maybe more importantly, it raised the profile of disability needs within the funding community and with elected official and other key decision makers.

We should be looking  to these Community Conversations as an essential change mechanism.  Our own separate meeting may be best put on hold while this process plays out.  And once the study is completed and ready to be shared we re- ignite and see what can happen.

Again, I want to thank Sharon Alexander and the Unicorn Board for helping to do what has been needed here in Palm Beach County for probably 20 years.  


I'm very excited to become part of your family. Thank you again for taking the time to meet with me. Not only are you a delight but the thought of being able to change people's lives is invigorating.  What really pulls me into your Foundation is all of the suffering I've had to endure my entire life......If only you were there for me.  I'm honored that you are welcoming me .
Gail W


 
 








 




 


 





 

 







 



On behalf of two sons with “Autistic Spectrum Disorders / Special Needs” I would like to let the Unicorn Children’s Foundation know how grateful we are for all the work you have done and continue to do.  Hopefully one day there will be a cure for autism and related learning disabilities.  Thank God for people like you

As well, thanks for the Mother’s Day greeting.

All the best,

Adele R


 

From Dr. Herm Fishbein, Executive Director of Renaissance Learning Academy:

Thanks so much for allowing me to be part of the event.  I, perhaps more than most, appreciate the efforts of the Unicorn Children’s Foundation in being willing to confront the issue of adolescence and young adult issues in youth with disabilities.  Sadly, very few agencies are willing to do this.   I applaud your courage and the courage of your board of Directors!   As I mentioned, I would appreciate the opportunity to continue to work with you and the members of the Unicorn Children's Foundation as they continue to "brave new paths" towards making community inclusion a true reality. 


After a visit to the UM-NSU CARD Mobile Clinic, funded by a grant from The Unicorn Children's Foundation in 2008

“I wanted to thank you all for "The magic bus". Thanks to the accessibility of the van my sister FINALLY took her son in. She went to visit Jennifer on Friday. I can say that if it was not for the van coming my sister might never have received guidance (other than from me). This is a step  in the right direction for my nephew.


Name: Antoine, age 12

Diagnosis: ADD

Areas of Difficulty: failing grade 7

Dear Unicorn Children's Foundation,

As a mother of 5 children and as a full time teacher I was very well aware of my son's difficulty in school. This year particularly was especially hard on the family. My husband was sick and I became the only financial support. The stress affected all of us. My son needed help to succeed and we could not afford outside help..  All my efforts to help my son at home resulted in a negative reaction with him.  The help needed to come from outside of the family.

At the end of the school year the resource teacher from my elementary school told me about Andrea Rich's program.  If it wasn't for the funding from your foundation, I couldn't afford this excellent service.  I am so greatful and I feel priviledged to access such professional help for my son.  After only a few sessions I see my son's attitude change positively and his motivation to work during summer changed drastically after he met Erin for the first time.

Thank you so much for your help. 

Micheline


April 18th, 2009

Greetings,

 

Our son Lionel is 9 years old and he has Down ’s syndrome.  He is an active, curious, creative boy who loves life.  In so many ways his life is what one would call normal.  Lionel attends the local school down the street; he enjoys swimming lessons, teasing his siblings and does not always like homework.  

 Lionel on the left with

his friend from school

 

However, speaking is very hard for Lionel because he also has the diagnosis of Apraxia.   Yet Lionel has always strived to communicate.  His receptive knowledge of English and French is good.  Yet his speaking is very poor.  Lionel strives to make himself understood with words, gestures, sign language.

 

Since Lionel entered public school in Kindergarten five years ago he no longer had access to the speech therapy he so much needs.  The school board is mandated to provide Lionel with speech therapy, but their means to do so are practically non-existent.  As a family with four children we simply did not have the financial means to offer Lionel speech therapy. 

 

 

One month ago Lionel’s school made a recommendation that Lionel change to a special needs school for the simple reason that Lionel would be able to have a more specialized therapy in speech.  On so many levels this is not a good choice for Lionel at this moment.  Lionel learns so much by imitation and needs the model of other children.  His travel time would go from a 10 minute walk, 20 minutes total in the day to over two and a half hours daily hour of bus transport  The social integration of Lionel is a great success and the class is enriched because of Lionel’s presence.  Birthday parties are a great favourite of Lionel and his last birthday he invited his entire class.  All of this would have been taken away from Lionel if we had not found out about the Unicorn Children’s Foundation. 

 

With the support of the Unicorn Children’s Foundation Lionel has started speech therapy.  We are delighted to be guided in helping Lionel speak and his progress is already starting to be seen.   Words like  “boat”   “key”   are simple words but Lionel could not say them intelligibly before.  So with the speech therapist at Rich Rewards and working at home we are working step by step to give Lionel a gift of speech.  We thank the Unicorn Children’s Foundation from my heart for making this possible.

 

 

Sincerely and very gratefully,

 Shelley Craig (mother) and Alex Soudin (father)

 Ps – the photos are from Lionel’s last birthday party.

 


 

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