Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Spread Some Hope, Light and Joy this Holiday Season. Donate Today!

http://www.lathamcenters.org/hopelightjoy

Read of one Latham student’s remarkable journey here…


Hope. Light. Joy.

 

Dear Latham Friend:

One year ago this fall I arrived at a psychiatric hospital to perform an assessment of a young Massachusetts girl diagnosed with a genetic disorder called Prader-Willi Syndrome (PWS) and a long list of mental health disorders. I have assessed many such individuals dozens of times in dozens of cities during my career, but this particular assessment became so much more than anything that I had expected or ever experienced.

Who I met was a young girl named Rose who sat alone in the corner of the room, lost and afraid. With pale skin, tight fists and a clenched jaw, she spoke very little and evaded any eye contact. Rose had no peers to talk to, to play with or to learn from because the other girls in her unit were not like her. Rose knew it. Other girls in the in-patient unit had family checking in on them and visiting them. Rose had no one.

Once a day, Rose was taken outside to walk for ten minutes in the parking lot and then quickly returned to her unit to sit alone and wait. She was waiting for something that she could not verbalize—a family, a friend…any connection at all with someone or something that she could call her own. Rose had spent the last seven years of her life in that hospital because her challenges were too great for the typical residential school to handle with trained staff to keep her safe.

Rose’s first years of life as an infant were very traumatic and difficult. In addition to her PWS diagnosis presenting physical, behavioral and intellectual challenges, Rose also suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Reactive Attachment Disorder. Over the years, she had also developed self-injurious behaviors. Luckily, for Rose, Latham Centers is not a typical residential school. When no one else would take the risk, take the chance, take the steps to ensure her safety, we did.

Today Rose has staff and fellow students who care a great deal for her, and she has made steady and significant progress in school and residential activities on our tightly-knit Cape Cod campus. Recently, Rose and I sat outside after her soccer game on a gorgeous day surrounded by her friends, and as I looked at her slightly tanned and relaxed face, I saw a light that was so evidently absent the first time that we met. I asked Rose if she would still keep in touch after she graduates from Latham and she looked at me, smiled and said, “Of course, you always keep in touch with your family.” And it struck me, as it never has before, that to those children who have been marginalized by society and also have no family to speak of, we become their support system and their biggest fans.

When Rose got up and ran to the playground to join her friends, I had an overwhelming sense of pride in her tremendous accomplishments over the past year and also for being part of an agency that looks at each child and creates a home that allows her or him to thrive and flourish. And more than anything else, we create a place that embraces children and adults like Rose with a supportive chance to love themselves.

With intensive small group and one-to-one support, Latham care is highly customized, and, as you can imagine, expensive. We are with many Latham residents 365 days a year, 24 hours per day. For children like Rose, we make great effort to make holidays as special and meaningful as possible, and along the way, the residents remind each of us to be grateful for what we have—our health, our family and the ability to innately trust, forgive and nurture others. During this season of giving, please consider making an end-of-year, tax-deductible gift to Latham Centers to help children and adults like Rose to lead meaningful and more abundant lives.

With locations throughout Cape Cod and Southeastern Massachusetts, your gift will ensure that Latham Centers continues its innovative treatment, such as:

• Pet Care Programs that help individuals who have suffered trauma build trust;
• Sensory therapy to promote greater well-being and enhance overall learning with calmer focus;
• Art and performing arts therapy and sports, recreational and vocational programs designed to enhance the health, confidence and socialization of special needs individuals;
• And funds to further train staff in cutting-edge treatment techniques, improvements to our facilities and residences that many of our children and adults call home for all or most of the year.

With your compassion and generosity, we can and will continue to make a difference in the lives of special needs children and adults on Cape Cod with severe and complex needs. Please support the work of Latham today with your gift of hope. Give online HERE.

Thank you!
Wishing you and yours great joy and warmth this holiday season,

Patrice Carroll
Manager of PWS Services, Latham Centers

P.S. We invite you to learn more about Latham at www.lathamcenters.org. Click on our PWS Feature Video link, “And they said my child would never…” and see how Latham makes a difference and defies the limitations others set on our residents with complex special needs.

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