Wednesday, August 17, 2011

My New ADVENTURE = New Job

Well as many of you know the past year has been a whirlwind of CHANGE for me. I graduated from college, left for Haiti for almost a month & a half, came home & had 3 weeks to study for my boards, took my boards, 3 days later packed up a U-haul & moved from PA to NV. I moved to NV not knowing anyone, started my first job working at a school district (an area I did not do a clinical rotation in), & well pretty much so started a new life in an unfamiliar place. WHY? Well because God made it clear that He was calling me there.

Well God was MIGHTY GOOD…He provided me with an AMAZING church family, 3 Bible Studies that allowed me to grow spiritually & stay focused on Him, met 2 AMAZING women of God who later became my housemates, made wonderful friends, Worked with an AMAZING staff at the school district & fell in love with the kids I worked with. I learned how to write IEPS, how to treat kids in a school setting, learns tons of new things, got to teach others the skills I had learned in school or acquired on my other adventures. I was HAPPY to say the least. I had no intentions of leaving.

Well…God had other plans. About 8 months ago I got a brochure in the mail about a therapy clinic in Las Vegas. It was an outpatient pediatric clinic. I read the brochure & told myself it was my dream job…BUT I quickly put it away & reminded myself that I am perfectly happy where I am at…I am making a difference…I am growing spiritually…Life is good. I didn’t think much of it after that. I moved out of my apartment into a house with my 2 new roommates, I began helping start a disability ministry at my church, etc.

Well…with all the budget cuts my job at the school district was up in the air. They did not know if they could pay my contract next year. The company I worked for had a couple other pediatric options but all of them involved moving. I began praying hard about what God wanted me to do. God gave me piece that the job would come through at Douglas.

BUT as the time for me to leave for Haiti came nearer I began looking. If I had to move I decided maybe it was God saying that now I could move to Oklahoma to be with No Boundaries International (where I wanted to move last year but God said not now). I thought it must be now. I applied for 6 jobs out there but all fell through or were not what I wanted. The whole time I prayed that God would open doors He wanted open & close doors He wanted closed. Well He closed all those doors.

A nights later God woke me up at 4AM & kept pressing the Las Vegas Job on my heart & how I should apply. I kinda came up with a list of excuses of why I would never get the job & why I didn’t want to apply BUT He wouldn’t let me fall back asleep. I finally got up & wrote an email that basically said that outpatient pediatrics is my ideal treatment setting but because of what I do in Haiti I would need 2 months off so I understand if you are not interested (it was better worded I am sure but that was the gist of it). I got an email back a day or so later that said that they would be stupid to pass up a good therapist just because I would need 2 months off a year. I began talking to them more & even flew down to Vegas for an interview before I left for Haiti. I loved the clinic & thought it would be an amazing place to work. I would be able to offer a lot but at the same time learn a lot. I did not like the city at all…that was my big turnoff…we all know I am a country girl. Born & raised in the country. I left with a lot to think about.

I left for Haiti still not knowing what next year held. I prayed a lot…discerned where God was calling me…selfishly I wanted to stay where I was at…with my church…my friends…my roommates…I wanted nothing to change BUT I am not called to live a comfortable life…often times God calls us out of our comfort zones to grow us & teach us new things…I had to be willing if God called me to move.

Well a few weeks ago God told me to move to Vegas…To take that job. He affirmed it multiple times. So after all that is said I am moving to Vegas & start my new job Aug 31st working for My Left Foot Therapy Clinic. They have agreed to give me 2 months off a year to be in Haiti with my kids & mission family. EVERYTHING is changing again…once again I moving to a new city where I know no one, once again I must find a church, I have to learn a new job, & I am waaaaaaaaaaaay out of my comfort zone.

With all the changes I was brought back to the book that I read 2x last summer as I prepared to move “The Dream Giver” If you have not read this book it is a Fantastic Book & would highly recommend it. It is an easy read but so insightful. I wanted to share a few quotes that have been an encouragement to me….

“Our Heavenly Father never takes anything away from His children unless He means to give them something better.”

“Great things will happen when you put God first and make Him owner of all you care about.”

I feel that God is taking a lot away from me by asking me to move to Vegas & take this new job BUT I believe that He has something even better in store for me!!! I know great things will happen as I keep God first.

“The single best way to develop leaders is to take people out of their safe environment and away from the people they know, and throw them into a new arena they know little about. Way over their head., preferably. In fact, the more demanding their challenges, the more pressure & risk they face, the more likely a dynamic leader will emerge.”

Well…I think this pretty much describes what God just did…I guess He is developing me to be a leader…

“I’ve noticed the bigger the Dream, the longer the time of preparation…But like Joshua, Joseph, & David passed the tests of the wilderness & emerged prepared for their Dreams. You can to.”

God has given me some pretty BIG Dreams for Haiti & for helping disabilities children in general. He has given me a passion for the least of these & a vision for making the Invisible…Visible through Christ, Children, Community.

“Therefore you need to make the decision. Will you give God permission to do His work- for as long as He wants. In the ways that He wants, to change you as deeply as He wants- to prepare you for your BIG Dream?”

My prayer is that God would make me into the person I need to be to do the Dream He has created me to do…NO matter what that will cost me or where it will lead me or what I have to do to get there.

“Looking back now, I see that I was holding far more tightly to the gift of my Dream than to the Dream Giver Himself.”

I find this to be a constant battle…as yes my Dream is mission work & working for God but I must not get so caught up in pursuing my Dream that it affects my relationship & pursuit after knowing God more!

So there you have it. God is calling me onward to the next leg of my adventure to reach my BIG DREAM. I do ask for you prayers as I don’t like change. I ask that you pray that I could find a good church in Vegas, that I could find a good group of friends, that I would quickly learn & excel at my new job, & that I could grow closer to my Savior every step of the way.

Reflection Back Over The Summer

As I tried to figure out how to explain my summer in words…I decided it would be better if I instead made a videos with pictures & video clips from the summer. I have made 2 videos with plans to make 2 more in the coming weeks.

The first video I made was a Thank You video. It is full of pictures of me & the kids. The second (and longer) video is of all the therapy work I did this summer & it explains each piece. These videos don’t go through everything…obviously…since I took over 3,500 pictures & 120 videos but I think they give you a good taste & hopefully a better understanding.

When I left Haiti I felt like I hadn’t accomplished a lot…BUT when I finally sat down & got to reflect on my summer & everything I was able to accomplish I was blown away…I couldn’t believe that it all got done in 2.5 months.

List of what I was able to accomplish this summer
1. Visibility Boxes
2. Wheelchairs
3. Hand Splints
4. Occupational Therapy Evaluations & Treatment Plans
5. Train Naham
6. For Jonathan’s Sake Handout’s & Folders
7. Feeding Schedules & Feeding Plans
8. Helping develop Miriam Home Rotations
9. Introduction & training on how to use assistive technology
10. Positioning picture rings

The question how do I explain all of these projects to you. Well I made an 11 minute video that explains & shows each project. I will post it on youtube as soon as I get fast enough internet & post the link. All my facebook friend I will post it on their as well.

I then decided to list as many fun activities as I could remember doing with the Miriam Home kids. It was a fun exercise that brought back so many wonderful memories.
-Face painting
-train rides
-going to get Sapebones
-Ice Cream
-File Folder Games
-Games (don’t Break The Ice, Elephant game, etc.)
-Trips to the playground
-Wheelchair soccer
-Baking Cookies & Cakes
-Playing guitar for them especially Our God is an Awsome God!
-Shaving Cream
-Singing & Musical Instruments
-Movie Nights
-Saturday Cartoons
-Pretend 4 wheeler rides
-Playing on old Cardboard boxes
-Hammock Time
-IPAD Time
-Puppet Shows
-Going to church
-Night Routine of singing worship songs with my boys & Praying together
-Glow in the dark night

As you can see from the list above I had A LOT of fun with my kids. I have not had a chance to make a Miriam Home video. It will probably be a few weeks since I am back in NV & my computers video making program is not working. I will have to wait till my family comes out to help me move so I can use my mom’s computer.

So as I reflect back over the summer I stand in Awe of my BIG GOD & all the ways He worked in the lives around me as well as in & through me. I am humbled by all that God equipped & allowed me to do (much I did not feel qualified to do & could have only done with his guidance, strength & help). I feel extremely blessed to have had the opportunity to work alongside some of the most AMAZING people. To watch my Haitian staff pour out God’s love over the children. To watch my kids learn new things & just grow. I really do not know how to encompass in words this summer. One thing I know for sure after this summer…NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE FOR GOD! Thank you for all your prayers & support!

What Now...Now that I am back Stateside

This Summer I have committed to being more involved when I am not in Haiti fighting for the kids & helping with things stateside. Last year I took on the roll as Miriam Center Therapy Coordinator. I spent a lot of time last year when I was not in Haiti writing therapy companies for donations, going around speaking & sharing what God was doing in Haiti, creating new evaluation forms to be used this summer Haiti, researching assistive technology, researching how to help our kids more, & raising money to buy supplies to take into Haiti. I will continue to do this from the states again.

I have also decided to take on the role of being in contact with groups before they come to Haiti if they are going to spend anytime at all in the Miriam Center. My plan from the Nevada is to be in contact with every group that plans to visit the Miriam Center & based on how big their group is provide them with a couple specific kids (both higher functioning & lower functioning) that I would encourage them find a few group members from their team to commit to spending 30 minutes at least 1x during their stay at the mission. I would also attach the children’s bios so that they could start praying for the children & have the opportunity to start making a connection with them.
I also want to be able to provide each of the groups with a bunch of different group activities they could do with the kids (shaving cream, cornstarch, face painting, painting, finger painting, wheelchair races, glow in the dark nights, take the kids for ice cream, go to playground, take the kids for sapebones, take the kids to the beach, etc.) & allow them to plan for what activities they want to do. So they no longer come the Miriam Center & ask to do an activity but have no idea what they want to do. This would allow them to plan for what they want to do & walk in ready to engage & interact with the kids. I am so EXCITED for the potential this has.

For Jonathan Sake Update

For those of you who don’t know For Jonathan’s Sake is our outreach program to help families who have disabled children in the surrounding towns & villages around the mission to not only survive but thrive by providing them with the resources to provide for & take care of their disabled children. Most of these children come from single parent families because after they have a disabled child they are seen at fault for this disabled child…even cursed. Children with disabilities are looked down upon…seen as worthless, cursed, possessed…These children are often hid away, abandoned…FORGOTTEN…INVISIBLE. The mission of the Miriam Center is to make the INVISIBLE…VISIBLE through Christ, Children, Community.

“I will rescue the lame & gather those who have been scattered. I will give them praise & honor in every land where they have been put to shame” Zephaniah 3:19

As I look back on the summer & the plans I thought God had for this program & the ones I prepared for…I have to laugh because very little of those plans happened. When I was originally planning for Haiti I had no plans of doing much with the FJS program. I had spent a huge portion of last summer pouring into this program. I was planning on focusing on Miriam Home. Well, God had others plans. He revealed to me about a month before I left for Haiti that I was suppose to write a Bible Study based on the names of Christ & share it with the FJS parents & that I was to focus on training those parents in therapy techniques. Well, I listened & began planning for this…I went into Haiti ready to share this new Bible study & with all the supplies needed to make each FJS parent a folder that would have handouts & evaluations in them to help then help their child. When I arrived in Haiti I walked into the Miriam Home Children having chicken pox & having to cancel FJS for 6 weeks. At that point I decided that I would still do the first 4 weeks of my Bible Study with the parents & try to make some handouts. Shortly after that I had a meeting with Janeil where we decided we needed to get each of the kids sponsored (which involves a lot of paperwork) in order to keep this program running. The first 2 weeks of FJS was full of gathering information to get the kids sponsored & I did not get to start my Bible Study or do any training. God had huge plans for my last 2 weeks that I could have never dreamed of (read below)


Earlier this summer I wrote a blog about my heavy heart over some BIG…Hard decisions that we had to be make for this program including no longer being able to feed the families. We had the hard task of restructuring this program to take it from being a dying program to a thriving one.

So the question then became where do we start? SPONSORSHIP... All the programs at NWHCM run off of sponsorship & we realized this is a huge piece we had been missing. The last 3 weeks I was in Haiti I sat down with each FJS family & gathered all the information we needed to make sponsorship packets for each child. I evaluated each child, figured out their diagnosis, wrote a summary of what they could & could not do, had a translator who helped gather family history & other important information from the parents & had a photographer get a picture of each child with their parent. We basically acted like we were starting this program over. We re-entered every family back into the program. We grouped each child in 1 of 5 categories & gave them 1 day a week that they will come to the mission from 1-4.

There is something quite beautiful about sponsorship…not only does it provide financially for that child to receive care & the message of Christ shared with them & their family BUT it also opens doors for relationships to be formed. Someone else called by God takes a step of faith & obedience to God’s call…sacrifices financially so that one of these children who has been INVISIBLE to the world can become VISIBLE…that person becomes an advocate, prayer warrior, faithful partner to that child & their family. HOPE is restored…CHANGE begins…VISIBILITY happens. I am so excited to see these relationships begin to be built over the next few months. Also…please pray about whether sponsoring one of these children would be something God is asking you to do…maybe you can’t do $75 a month …maybe financially you cannot sponsor a child but you could become a prayer warrior for 1 or multiple of these children & their families. God has blessed us so that we can be a blessing to others.

2. Handouts & Folders

I had originally hoped to make each FJS family a folder with some basic handouts on positioning & stretching but with all the events that happened & with sponsorship I decided to wait till next year. I was already overwhelmed with everything I needed to finish up before I left (at this point in like 2 weeks). Well, one day at FJS one of the parents confronted me on the fact that last year I had promised handouts to help them work with their child & they had never received any. I felt bad & so set out to create a generic stretching handout. Well that handout led to me making one for how to use the therapy brush, one for how to use the therapy ball, & one for how to use the bolster. In the end I was able to provide each family with a folder that had 6 pages of handout (some front & back) that were all in picture form with English & Creole translation on them. I trained a Hatian, Presidue who will teach the parents how to stretch their children, brush them, & massage them. I am so excited for the potential these folders have. Each of the handouts was laminated, 3 hole punched & placed in their folder. Their folder was then placed in a 2 gallon ziplock bag to make it waterproof.

3. Sewing
I have always had a dream of starting a sewing program with the FJS mothers. I feel like it would be awesome to be able to teach them a trade that they could then use to support their family. Last summer I took in tons of material & sewing supplies with the intentions of beginning to teach sewing. Unfortunately last summer it never got off the ground. Well, 2 of the mothers who are in my Thursday group confronted me the fact that I told them that we would begin to learn to sew last summer & never did. It was a God moment because as my heart broke as I realized I was going to have to tell them that it wouldn’t happen this summer either. BUT then I realized that Cara was standing behind me. Cara was the one who first brought me to Haiti back in 2007. She just graduated from OT school & passed her boards prior to coming into Haiti this summer. Her main purpose in Haiti this summer was teaching the women in the town of La Fordge how to sew & how to make various other crafts that they could learn to make & then sell at Market. I asked her if the next week she would be willing to teach my FJS mothers how to make something. She agreed. It was a joy to see how excited these mothers were. I still believe & hope that one day this will be an aspect to the FJS program.

4. School
We are tremendously blessed to have Stephanie Mosier a special education teacher in working in the Miriam Center for the next year. Her goal is to get our special education school up & running. She is well on her way which is super exciting!!! Originally the plan was that this school would be for the Miriam Home children but after seeing about 15 kids in the FJS program that would benefit tremendously from having access to education & very capable of learning & growing it was decided that in the afternoon these children would come to school. So in the morning the special education school with run for the Miriam Home children & in the afternoon it will run for the 15 or so FJS children. These children will not come 1 day a week but instead they will get to come to school 5-6 days a week. This is HUGE…considering that in Haiti many kids without disabilities never get the opportunity to go to school because you have to pay not only to go to school but also have to buy uniforms. In Haiti if you have any type of physical disability or mental handicap even if you could afford to go you are not allowed. So these 15 children would NEVER have gotten the opportunity to go to school if it were not for the Luke 2:52 getting up & running. Please pray for the school, pray for Stephanie as she continues to prepare to start the school.

5. Bible Study On The Names Of Christ
I was so excited to be able to do the first 2 weeks of the Bible Study God gave me with the parents. The first week I did the name ELOHIM = Creator. I started all the way in Genesis 1:1 where His name is first used. I then spent most of the time studying Psalm 139:13-14. I copy & pasted a piece of my study to give you idea of what we discussed.

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mothers womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”

-God created you…he knit you together
-Have you ever seen someone knit of weave something? How much effort and time goes into it…tremendous attention to detail…none look exactly alike.
-God knit us together…he put much thought into creating you and creating your child…he looked at every detail & planned it out. That’s what makes us special
-Look around at everyone here….do any of us look exactly alike….NO because each of us has been created unique in God…made so we each can uniquely bring God glory.
-Your Child Version of Psalm 139:13-14
-“For God created your child’s inmost being; He knit him/her together in your womb. praise God because your child is fearfully and wonderfully made; God’s works are wonderful, know that full well.”

Then I studied 2 more scriptures of what the Bible has to say about disabled people/children. I told them that we constantly here what others around us think about disabilities & we know what society thinks but really the only opinion that matters is what Christ thinks.

Exodus 4:10 Remember when “Moses said to the LORD, ‘Please, Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither recently nor in time past, nor since Thou hast spoken to thy servant; for I am slow of speech and slow of tongue’
Exodus 4:11- The Lords reply…”Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes him dumb or deaf, or seeing or blind? Is it not I, the LORD?”

John 9:2-3 when Jesus’ disciples saw a man blind from birth, “and His disciples asked Him, saying, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he should be born blind? How did Jesus answer…”It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was in order that the works of God might be displayed in him.”
It was amazing to be able to open up scripture & teach these parents about what scripture has to say about their children! Pretty amazing!

The second name we studied was El Roi- The God who sees. The scripture that we studied was Rahab. Here is a glimpse of what we talked about….

Story Hagar (Gen 16)

“She was Thrown out! Like a soiled, worthless rag! Used for another’s pleasure and then mistreated. It was too much; she couldn’t handle it. She felt like an outcast…She was Hagar, the one who bore the son of Sarai’s husband Abram.

Can you relate? Have you ever been thrown out, cast away? You fulfilled someones pleasure then you weren’t wanted anymore? Or were you unjustly cast out?

Sarai (Abrahams wife) was unable to have children… God had given Abram a promise that he would be the father of many nations yet they were old in age (past child-bearing) & still no children. Sarai had an Egyptian maidservant

so she made her maidservant Hagar have a child for her…Hagar didn’t have a choice she was a slave…she was obedient and did what was asked of her.

Hagar became pregnant & began to dispise her mistress…Sarai had done this too her…Sarai ended up blaming Abram for doing this & he was the reason her mistress now despised her.

Hagar ended up running away

Genesis 16:7-10, 13
“The angel of the Lord found Hagar near a spring in the desert, it was the spring that is beside the road to Shur. And he said, “Hagar, servant of Sarai, where have you come from, and where are you going?” I’m running away from my mistress Sarai, she answered. Then the angel of the Lord told her, “Go back to your mistress & submit to her.” The angel added, “I will increase your descendents and they will be too numerous to count.”
She gave this name to the LORD who spoke to her. “You are the God who sees me (El Roi), for she said, “I have now seen the one who sees me.”

Great news…God see you…He sees your pain, He sees your troubles, He sees the trials you face everyday as a parent of a disabled child. HE sees your disabled child…and as we learned last week he is not surprised that they are that way…He made them exactly how they are to fulfill his purpose and plan through them. He sees… He knows its hard…He knows at times you want to run away, give up…

But just like Hagar I believe He is calling you to stick with it…God called Hagar back to the very situation she had run away from…He saw the situation…He knew it was hard…But that was God’s call for her life. God has called you to be a parent of a disabled child…He is going to do amazing things in your life & your child’s life if you let him…If you trust him…He you SEE who he really is…and His names reveal His character

I wish I would have had more time to do more of the names of Christ with the parents but am very thankful for the 2 weeks I did get to share with them. I truly believe God spoke to the parents through these first 2 names to help them see better how God see them & their children.

Visibility Boxes

If I could sum up my summer or the goal of my summer it would be to Make the Invisible…Visible through Christ, Children, Community, which is our mission statement for the Miriam Center. Everything I did was to accomplish further our mission statement. All the therapy, all the training, all the paperwork, all the love I poured out, all the trials I faced, and all the frustrations I dealt with was to make these children & their families Visible in a country that does not see them & that does not see their worth. Probably the biggest way I was able accomplish this goal was through the development of the new Visibility Boxes.

I did not go into Haiti planning to create this system nor did I even have an idea about or for this project. The idea for the Visibility Boxes was developed out of a conversation I had with Janiel Owens during a meeting which triggored a memory of a project Courtney & I had talked about trying a few years ago but never got around to. Truly the Visibility Boxes were developed throughout the entire summer. They started out as just a box of toys with the child’s picture & name attached. They quickly acquired multiple dimensions as the weeks rolled on.

Where Did The Name Visibility Boxes Come From?

(Written by Courtney Peirce)
What do you do in a country that sees those with limitations as an obstacle to survival? What do you do when a culture sees through the eyes a belief system that deems those with disabilities less than human? What happens when a percentage of your population, due to physical or mental limitations, isn’t seen at all –– is invisible? The answer is simple –– make them visible. Open eyes to their presence; their needs; their value and show the world just how BIG our God is. Open any dictionary and you’ll find a myriad of definitions for the word “invisible.” The simplest form, of course, is “that which is not visible.” That may answer the “what” question –– but it doesn’t answer the “why.” The definitions I have found that get more to the root of the issue are:
• Withdrawn from, or out of the site of people
• Not perceptible or discernible by the mind

People are not naturally “invisible.” God created each of us to be seen –– to be loved. In order for someone to become invisible someone had to withdraw them from the site of others. In Haiti these children are often hidden away by their parents –– hidden from the site of those who might hurt them, reject them. They become locked in their own world –– denied the opportunity to interact with others, to learn, to contribute. But sometimes the invisible is right in front of us and still we do not see. Why? Because too often we ignore the things we don’t understand. What we can’t perceive/discern becomes invisible to us and we simply live our lives ignoring it –– even when it’s a human being living with a disability. The Miriam Center operates around the simple belief that everyone deserves to be seen. By caring for those with special needs; by training and assisting parents to care for their children; by bringing them out into the world we are making the invisible VISIBLE.

Even the idea of “community” is an often invisible factor in Haiti –– survival is an utmost concern and people must watch out for their own needs and the needs of their immediate family. But as neighbors come alongside our families, as they learn to love and be loved by these children, even a spirit of community is restored and becomes quite tangible and visible. And perhaps the most invisible presence in all of this is Christ Himself. The people of Haiti have sometimes placed their trust –– their faith is misdirected places. But they are seeking –– searching for answer that will give them peace and a hope. Here at the Miriam Center we serve a mighty God who is bringing about mighty change in a hurting place –– and so, as we go, as we serve, the greatest blessing we can pour out is to make Christ visible to these people. To meet their needs as we can, but more importantly to introduce them to the One who can meet all their needs and more. Christ • Children • Community... together, and with God’s help, we are making the invisible VISIBLE! Praise God!

So the name for these boxes came from idea that these boxes help make the Miriam Center children more Visible to our Hatian staff & to the hundreds American’s that come through the Miriam Center doors every year was to create a way that they could easily & comfortably step into these children’s world. The Visibility Boxes allow for this.

What Exactly Are Visibility Boxes?

The visibility boxes are full of toys specific to each child to help them meet their goals. Attached to the outside of the box is a ring with the child’s picture; their biography; their Occupational Therapy & Educational Goals; pictures of each toy with a description of the different ways to use that toy; a card with pictures of the most appropriate ways to position the child that will help for people to fully see them; and a packet of communication pictures (PECS) to allow the child to more fully communicate their needs & wants.
Visibility boxes allow you to walk into these precious children’s world and know exactly what how to interact with them, engage them, and at the same time help them make progress towards their therapy and educational goals through purposeful play. To see the invisible as VISIBLE.

How Exactly Do Visibility Boxes Work?

The Visibility Boxes contain everything you need to walk into the child’s world. It is so simple that I had the privilege of watching a 4 year old & a 6 year old utilize the boxes. Multiple times throughout the summer these 2 precious children would find me & excitedly ask to pull boxes for certain kids. I got to watch barriers fall as they had a blast playing together.
Right when you walk into the Miriam Center there are 2 big wooden cabinets that are labeled VISIBILITY Boxes. 1 is labeled Higher Functioning with pictures of each child that has a box in that cabinet. Each of the children in this cabinet has their own box. The children in the low functioning cabinet share 4 boxes & a variety of equipment to help with positioning. The cabinets are labeled with pictures so you can easily find where the child you want to play with is.
It is very simple…if you have a specific child in mind that you want to work with you simply have to find out what cabinet they are in, pull their box, read their bio, look at appropriate positioning, pull any positioning equipment (if they are lower functioning), & find a place to interact/play with that child.
So many people have told me they feel overwhelmed when they walk into the Miriam Center…They don’t know how to interact with kids…they don’t know how to position them…How to play with them. These boxes break all those barriers.

The Results…

I had the privilege of watching the boxes get used throughout the summer. I had such joy watching people walk right into the children’s world & have so much fun doing so. I had multiple people tell me how much easier it was for them to interact with the kids, how they felt like they new how to play with the kids, that they felt they were making a difference. I am so excited for the huge potential these boxes have in making the Invisible…Visible.

My Hope For The Future With The Boxes

I hope to be able to expand in the variety of toys in the boxes. I hope to get some specific therapy equipment to put in the boxes that can be used with specific kids. The goal is that every 2 months that toys are rotated so that the kids have new toys in their box.
My plan from the Nevada is to be in contact with every group that plans to visit the Miriam Center & based on how big their group is provide them with a couple specific kids (both higher functioning & lower functioning) that I would encourage them find a few group members from their team to commit to spending 30 minutes at least 1x during their stay at the mission. I would also attach the children’s bios so that they could start praying for the children & have the opportunity to start making a connection with them.
I also want to be able to provide each of the groups with a bunch of different group activities they could do with the kids (shaving cream, cornstarch, face painting, painting, finger painting, wheelchair races, glow in the dark nights, take the kids for ice cream, go to playground, take the kids for sapebones, take the kids to the beach, etc.) & allow them to plan for what activities they want to do. So they no longer come the Miriam Center & ask to do an activity but have no idea what they want to do. This would allow them to plan for what they want to do & walk in ready to engage & interact with the kids. I am so EXCITED for the potential this has.