Dear Friends of Joya,
It’s not uncommon to see parents in tears or hear “can’t we just stay longer?” when their child turns three and ages out of our early intervention program. After all, this is the place many families come to in the early days of hearing their child has been diagnosed with a developmental delay or disability. Joya’s teachers and therapists become their first ray of hope in what can often feel like a hopeless situation. Families form bonds that last a lifetime – and letting go can be scary. Joya’s Family Resources Coordinators help families through the fear of transitioning into a new program. Six months before a child turns three, Joya engages with local school districts to determine if the child qualifies for special education preschool. The Joya team works in tandem with school district personnel to find the best educational setting while ensuring continuity of care. But how do you do that when schools are closed to COVID-19 restrictions? The answer is, you don’t.
With schools closed indefinitely, Joya kiddos who turn age three this spring or summer are left in limbo, not knowing when their child might have access to special education services. To provide consistency and support continuous developmentally appropriate growth, Joya will provide individual therapy and small group virtual circle time and story time for all of the children (including 60 children with a third birthday between March and September of 2020) until schools can resume special education classes in person. Although Joya cannot access state funds for children age three and older, we can’t and won’t leave these families with nowhere to turn.
Joya’s mission to nurture the full potential of children and their families remains our top priority, even during these tough financial times. Today, I am asking for your support so Joya can ensure children with delays and disabilities don’t lose developmental ground while we all wait for public schools to reopen.
Rebecca, mother of Finley, shares how grateful she is for the extended services. “We couldn’t be more thankful for everything that Joya has done for us, but extending service for our son, during this trying time has been a real blessing. Having some consistency of seeing his beloved speech therapist, Ashley, even over the computer, has meant so much to us, and so much for Finn’s continued progress. Joya always seems to go above and beyond to make our family feel truly taken care of.”
You can help Joya fund this critical program by making a secure donation online today!
Over the past few months we have all had to make tough adjustments and deal with the unexpected. At Joya, we continue to rise to that challenge so that children and families in our community can continue to thrive…no matter the situation.
Colleen Fuchs, Executive Director