Friday, December 30, 2011

Latham Players Celebrate the Holidays

Every December the Latham Players celebrate Christmas on the first Sunday of the month.  For the past six Decembers they have been overwhelmingly received by the West Dennis Community Church to perform their special holiday show. This “gig” has become a holiday ritual and the highlight of their year of performances.

Before the performance, the Players each had their photo taken in front of the church’s lighted Christmas tree.They then went through a final rehearsal before performing in front of the congregation. Of course, many hours of practice went into the preparation for this special performance.  Penelope Chatterton, the Latham Players Artistic Director coordinated the production working with church staff on the music and choreographing of the performance.  

This year’s feature song was James Taylor’s “Who Comes this Night”.  Copies of the song were handed out to the congregation and the Players led them in this beautiful musical experience. Next, the Players performed their signature interpretation of “River Dance”, as the group knows it well and it is one of their favorites. The postlude was “Let There Be Peace on Earth” where all of the performers and congregants joined hands in a circle to conclude the performance. It was a wonderful finale to the celebration and symbolized the joining together with the community that is the message that the Latham Players spreads through their performances.

After the performance, the Players adjourned to the church’s basement for a festive lunch prepared by Penelope and served with the assistance of church and Latham staff, and participated in a “Secret Santa” gift giving event.

Many thanks to the West Dennis Community Church for their hospitality, the Latham staff who assisted with supporting the individuals at the performance and especially to Penelope for her dedication and passion as director of the Latham Players.

Season Greetings from the Latham Players!

Contributed by:
Mike Marchese

"Music is the universal language of mankind." 
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The PWS National Conference: A Personal Perspective

The Prader-Willi Syndome conference was memorable for me in many ways.  I met so many wonderful parents and professionals who are all working for a common goal, to improve the lives of the children and adults with PWS.  On one hand, it is humbling to be a part of a cause that so many have dedicated a large portion of their professional life to furthering the treatment and knowledge of PWS.  I reconnected with some of you and made some new friends. On the other hand, it’s also humbling to be a part of the “family” of parents who have a child with a disability, which is what Clint Hurdle movingly described in his opening address to the large crowd.  I am sure that many a parent had tears in their eyes as I did when he spoke. I didn’t take notes. I can’t remember a good quote, but I do know that being a parent of a child with Special needs is not what we envisioned nor asked for, yet this is where we are.  I used to dislike the “Welcome to Holland” poem, but now that I am far enough along, I not only get it, but embrace its message.  In a very important way, the conference addressed the emotional impact that every family faces. It led me further along my own path of grieving and acceptance. Thank you and Happy Holidays to all the organizers, professionals, and the families that walk this similar path. 

Emily Perl Kingsley.
c1987 by Emily Perl Kingsley. All rights reserved

I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability - to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It's like this......
When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.
After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland."
"Holland?!?" you say. "What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."
But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.
The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.
So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.
It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around.... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills....and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.
But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy... and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned."
And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away... because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.
But... if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things ... about Holland.

Contributed by:
Susan LaPlant
Marketing Coordinator

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Holiday Time Activities

The holidays can be a very stressful time for anyone. To keep our students with PWS a little less anxious through the holidays, the staff at Latham have prepared a sensory rich schedule of activities to keep our students active and happy through the holiday season. They have lots of nature walks and holiday strolls planned. Knowing what to expect is a key strategy for our students. It is especially important through the holidays. Wishing you all the best during this holiday season.

Contributed by:
Holly Hanlon

"Worry often gives a small thing a big shadow."
~Swedish Proverb

Monday, December 19, 2011

Stop & Shop and Peapod Purchases Can Earn Money for Latham!

By signing up for the Stop & Shop A+ Rewards Program (two easy steps online), employees, friends and families can help Latham earn reward money every time they shop at Stop & Shop or Peapod! 
Stop & Shop rewards card holders can simply register at by entering their Rewards Card ID# and selecting Latham as the recipient.  CLICK HERE to be taken to the site.

  • Step 1. Enter your S&S Rewards card #, 
  • Step 2. Select Latham by searching Brewster MA schools or using our School ID#  07054.

Your participation will help us build a playground for Latham students to train for Special Olympics, and help fund more vocational opportunities for our students with Prader-Willi Syndrome and other challenges.

On behalf of all of Latham’s students and staff, thank you for taking the time to help!
This program does not affect your current Rewards offerings -- you will still receive your gas and other rewards points. For answers to other frequently asked questions about the A+ program CLICK HERE.

“No act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted.”

Friday, December 16, 2011

Jolly Jaunters Run in Support of Latham Hawks

Our entire community helped to raise almost $3000 to support our campus Special Olympics program. Special thanks go to Kalyn Mika, Brynn Woodland, Frannie Quirk, Suzanne Johnson, Rebekah Love and Gerry Pouliot for raising money and running the 5k Jolly Jaunt. A number of students and staff came to the event to cheer on the runners and help celebrate our athletes.

Latham's Special Olympics program operates year round and involves a majority of our student body. The entire program is supported through fundraising. Thank you to all staff, families and friends that donated and supported us this year. 

Contributed by:
Tim Vaughan
Residential Director

"So powerful is the light of unity that it can illuminate the whole earth." 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Holiday Fun at Latham

This weekend the Vineyard had a lot of fun outings planned. First we went to Nauset beach to see an old shipwreck washed up on shore. They came up with many stories as to what happened to the boat! Next we went to the Cape Codder Resort for the Enchanted Christmas. The students got to talk to Santa and tell him what they wanted for Christmas. We walked around and they had reindeer, toy soldiers, nut crackers, frosty and much more all lit up! The students were so happy and grateful and had a wonderful time. 

Contributed by:
Cristina Robinson

Related Posts:
Everyone Loves Dancing
Holiday Performances Around Town
Annual Holiday Craft Fair a Huge Success

"As long as we know in our hearts what Christmas ought to be, Christmas is." 
~Eric Sevareid

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Meaningful Lives

At our Brewster residence, Angel S recently provided her knowledge and insight on “life after high school” at the PWS Conference held on Cape Cod. She was part of a panel and answered questions about her life at the Latham Centers. Angel also recently completed a course to become a volunteer for the Hospice of Cape Cod program, where she will be assisting clients of the program with various tasks on a weekly basis. She is currently creating Christmas ornaments to give to the people receiving Hospice services in hopes of brightening their lives. 

Jennifer T, who lives in the S Yarmouth residence  has been working regularly caring for the four donkeys in our asinotherapy program. She is very patient with the animals, and has demonstrated a strong commitment to caring for them.  She looks forward to her time with them each week, and has not missed a day of work yet. She has formed quite a bond with them, and has assisted in helping the two newest donkeys to acclimate to their new environment.

Submitted by,
Kathy vanEsselstyn
Program Supervisor

"Excellence is not a skill.  It is an attitude" 
~Ralph Marston

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

New Science Teacher Inspires Students

Latham School is lucky to have Science Teacher Jeremiah Nickerson! A native of Chatham, Jeremiah has taught on and off-cape in a variety of public and private school settings. Jeremiah brings a wealth of knowledge about innovative teaching strategies to daily science classes. He is very skilled at using his classroom’s Promethean Board to promote engaging learning.

Latham students recently completed a unit on Astronomy. One component of Jeremiah’s lessons included having the students observe the moon each night for one month and record what they saw. Classroom teams then engaged in a discussion about the phases of the Moon.

Jeremiah is planning a Science Fair for Latham School in March of 2012. Students are already very excited about the fair, and many of them are already working on their projects and experiments. Some students have chosen to work on individual projects, while others are working in small groups. Some of the student-chosen topics are: testing the growth of beansprouts given varying levels of light; determining why birds are particular about certain types of bird feeders; experimenting with pitch and tone, given glasses with different levels of water; and constructing a working volcano.

Jeremiah wasn’t sure what to expect at Latham in terms of student interest and participation in science class. He is really glad that the students seem so excited about learning.

Contributed by:
Pam Nolan, M.Ed.
Director of Education

"A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops." 
~Henry Brooks Adams

Friday, December 2, 2011

Latham Vocational Students Are Hard at Work

Students in Latham School’s Vocational program have been working diligently to complete a significant number of volunteer handouts for the Visiting Nurse Association of Cape Cod. Students must complete at least 125 folders each week. Every folder contains more than forty items, and students need to make sure that all of the items are in exactly the same order as the folders all need to be identical. While this is not an easy task, it is clear that Latham students are consistently putting in amazing effort. Their ability to settle right down to their work and focus on being detail-oriented is more than impressive.

These photographs were taken by our new student photographer, SC. As part of his vocational work, he will be learning how to use a digital camera and transferring the photographs onto a computer. Simon will be taking pictures of our other vocational students performing their on- and off-campus work assignments, as well as photos of our campus events.

Pam Nolan, M.Ed.
Director of Education

Do not hire a man who does your work for money, but him who does it for the love of it.
-Henry David Thoreau