Policemen, Firemen, Sirens OH MY!

I remember being a child and watching in wonder as the fire trucks drove by, sirens blaring as they rushed to put out a fire. Being a girl I didn’t dream of being a Firefighter, but I did relish the idea of a trip to the fire station to learn about how they put out fires!

 Once a quarter our therapists take our children out into the community to introduce them to new environments. This past Wednesday we took a group from Let’s Talk, Talk Play Learn, and Let’s Eat to Station 6 to learn about fire safety, the difference between a fire truck and fire engine, what being a Firefighter means and the different equipment they use. When going through the equipment, an axe and was pulled out and one child exclaimed, “I have one of those!”

The children had so much fun trying on the hats and sitting in the truck. They also learned what to do if there was a fire. Get low and crawl out. Captain Steve, Firefighters: Mike Salazar, Paul Montes, Jeff Wackerman and George Hapsec did a tremendous job with our families and we can’t wait to have another group go October 13th


Yesterday, the Irvine Police stopped by so the children could sit in the car and hear the siren go off! The smiles from the children were priceless and the most important thing is they learned that Policemen are our friends and we don’t need to be afraid of them. Shiree Lind and Nikki Lovenduski read the children a story before they went back to serving the city of Irvine.









Make sure not to miss our next outing! We will be going to the pumpkin patch so the children can feel the different textures, smells and pick out their own pumpkin!


Questions please contact Pati Skinner at pskinner@ucp-oc.org



Elizabeth Wylie


Birthday Parties on a Budget



Unfortunately, birthdays don’t know whether or not your family is on a budget, they come every year regardless.

Here are 3 creative ideas that Real Simple shared on the Today Show that are easy on the budget but still fun for everyone! The video gives you a visual and instructions on each different theme and how to


[sorry the video wouldn’t load directly on our page but the link will take you to the quick 4 minute video]

These pictures can give you further ideas of what she is talking about.


This link to their website gives you step by step instructions on how to make the next birthday party you throw come to life! The instructions are to the right of each picture: http://www.realsimple.com/holidays-entertaining/birthdays/kids-birthday-party-ideas-00100000064145/index.html#8



The Circle Party is my favorite.

Real Simple says the Target audience is 2-4 year-olds

(from the Real Simple website)

Simple shapes are something toddlers clearly understand (in addition to “candy,” “toy,” and “That’s mine”). A circle party is all-around fun for them and a no-brainer for you. Think Cheerios, polka dots, bubbles, balloons—anything to keep the party rolling. Activities should be short and sweet, as kids this age would rather run free than sit still in circle time. Word invitations “From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., on the dot.” (By then, you’ll be ready to send those sugar-crazed four-year-olds home.)


Round fare can be a square(ish) meal. Start with open-faced jelly sandwiches on bread circles (cut with different-size cookie cutters) and clementines. Grown-ups can snack on Froot Loops or cherry tomatoes. For the main course, serve pizza bagels or turkey sliders. Round out the menu with jelly beans and retro satellite wafers (from $2, oldtimecandy.com). And it’s a safe bet that the parents will appreciate a little bubbly.

Doughnut Cake

Think outside the box with a tiered doughnut cake (no baking required!). To build it, stack doughnuts and doughnut holes to form a pyramid-shaped tower, then sprinkle the whole thing with candy confetti. At serving time, if you want to sweeten the deal even more, fill the hole in each doughnut with a ball of ice cream (scooped in advance and kept in the freezer).

Decor and Favors

One word: balloons! And lots of them. Dot the walls with colorful construction-paper circles, and cover the table with a polka-dot tablecloth, plus matching plates, cups, napkins, and straws. (You can decorate everyday drinking cups with plain round pricing stickers from an office-supply store.) Before the guests roll home, hand out goody bags stuffed with a bottle of bubbles and a lollipop.


Rustle up some bubble wrap for tidy (if noisy) fun, or create a ball pit by filling an inflatable kiddie pool with lightweight plastic balls (try Fun Ballz, $20 for 100, amazon.com). A battery-operated bubble machine (like the Gazillion Typhoon Ultimate Bubble Machine, $25, toysrus.com) will save you from blowing a wand and keep the kids running around in circles. (Plus, it will help them burn off some energy after that doughnut cake.)

Happy Planning!


I mentioned in an earlier post that UCP-OC continues to grow!

We are veryexcited looking at the growth of our organization. We are serving nearly 4,000 families despite the budget cuts! This means that more families are recieving our programs, more children are participating in our recreational activities and more parents are getting the support they need. Which ulitmately leads to our vision of a Life Without Limits for children with disabilities. So spread the word about UCP-OC, we would love to serve more people in our community.


Also, stay tuned as we roll out new ways for you to get involved this fall and holiday season. We have been planning and designing many ways for you to get engaged with our organization.

To meet this growth we have also hired another new employee.

It is our pleasure to introduce you to Eunice!

Eunice is a 2009 graduate of UC Santa Cruz with a degree in Sociology. When she is not busy at work she loves to try new restaurants and cuisines. Her favorite movie is Elf and likes to drink tea instead of coffee in the morning. She absolutely loves the fall season because of everything scent and food-related to pumpkin spice that comes out.

Before joining the UCP-OC staff as the Administrative Assistant in Fund Development, she worked heavily on the UC Santa Cruz campus as an undergraduate in community organizing and social justice-oriented programs and continued that commitment to promoting social good in her post-graduation positions at other nonprofit organizations. She is very excited about getting be a part of the UCP-OC staff, and humbled and inspired by the incredible passion of the staff, families, and children at UCP-OC.

Life’s a Journey With CP and Me

Hello Everyone at UCP-OC!

My name is Katy Fetters and I am a college freshman at Soka University right here in Orange County! To introduce myself a bit more, I was born with mild hemiplegic Cerebral Palsy and I feel fortunate enough to get around okay with my CP, but I do experience much of the fatigue and tightness that comes along with having CP. I have been involved with UCP-OC on and off this past year or so with the Gala last spring, and since I am local to OC, I have visited the Life Without Limits center a few times now. I also keep up my own blog for teens with CP on www.teencerebralpalsy.com, and blog for the OM Foundation, www.1man1mission.org  one of UCP-OC’s donors. That’s about it! Starting this week I will be writing once a month about what its like to have CP and be a college student.

As far as college goes I have been here a little over a month now, living on campus and getting acclimated to what college has to offer! I’ll get right to the point and tell you why I am here writing to you all. I am sure most of you know someone with a disability—may that person be yourself, your child, sister, cousin, aunt or uncle… The idea is that we can all connect with each other on some level. I would like to share some of my most recent experiences with being a freshman in college and dealing with CP. As frustrating and difficult as CP is at times (I am sure some of you know!) I feel like now that I am in college, I have realized that people don’t really put too much consideration into the fact that I walk differently from “normal” people. Sure, there are still people who ask me why I am limping, or what is “wrong” with my leg, but that is mostly out of concern. I feel like at this stage in my life, many people are past the point of bullying or poking fun at me for walking differently. I am free to be myself, more so than at any other time in my life. It is a very comforting feeling, knowing that I am in such a non- judgmental environment where physical appearances hold very little significance. Granted, not all colleges are like Soka as far as I am aware. Everyone here is very welcoming and excited to learn about the world and themselves.

I grew up in Orange County, so I know what it is like to go to a high school where the shoes you wore defined how cool you were, or how you looked was a measure of social competence and acceptance. Trust me, I struggled in high school.. so for me to come to college not knowing anyone and feeling like I am totally in my element, is refreshing.  I am telling all of this to you with the hope I can show you that my experience with going away to college and living with Cerebral Palsy is very manageable. It is overwhelming yes, there is a lot of different things to take into account that people my age would never even think twice about (ie. Getting around campus, wearing a brace at night, and finding shoes I can walk in…) the confidence building is still taking place, but every day I assure myself that everyone goes through struggles with or without a disability during a transition period. CP is just that little cherry on top that I constantly have to work with, and I have come to accept that.

I think that is all I have for today. I am aware that CP comes in all different forms and severities, and that is why I stress to you that these are my personal experiences with Cerebral Palsy, and my only hope is that you can take something positive from my experiences and realize that CP should never hinder you from following your (or whomever you know with a disability’s) ambitions. I hope that I am able to give you some insight into how CP affects a young adult like me!

Child of the Month: September


School is started this week, and Kaitlyn can’t wait to start her year off as a sophomore in high school, she loves being around her peers. Kaitlyn was born 2 months premature and spent her first 5 weeks in the hospital. In 1997 she was diagnosed with CP, and that’s where the family’s relationship with UCP-OC started. Kaitlyn received occupational therapy as well as physical therapy with UCP-OC, and currently she has a one-on-one inclusion facilitator, named Eliza Lopez, that meets her at the Boys and Girls Club in Garden Grove. The inclusion specialist allows Kaitlyn to interact with the other children at the facility, so others can move past the fact that she is in a wheelchair and see what a special girl she is.

She enjoys playing solitaire on the computer, bowling and playing hangman with her good friend Marina. At her latest birthday party she went bowling, and even had a few strikes!  She truly is a very special girl that has pushed past her physical boundaries making her a great representation of the organization’s mission of Life Without Limits.

We all know that life with a special needs child can be challenging, especially without a resource to give you guidance and support throughout the process. Kaitlyn and her family found a resource in UCP-OC and wanted to find a way to give back. Recently the family was approached by a friend who started a non-profit called Sports for a Cause and that’s where the journey began.

The team envisioned a basketball tournament in honor of Kaitlyn to benefit UCP-OC and its programs that have assisted the family throughout the years. The event took place Sunday, August 21st at the Garden Grove Sports Complex, and attracted around 200-220 participants and spectators. Garden Grove Hospital was a great support at the event, and its staff came out in droves! They made up five teams and had numerous fans at the game. Team UCP-OC consisted of Kaitlyn’s extended family, and was the only team with females! Go team UCP-OC! There were eight teams that played four 23 minute games.

UCP-OC is very grateful for the family’s support as well as Garden Grove Hospital and Sports for the Cause during this difficult time as we transition to a philanthropic non-profit, raising 50% of our own support.

Fundraising Update!


Bonner Paddock, founder of OM Foundation, recently stopped by for a tour of our facilities and gifted United Cerebral Palsy of Orange County with a check for $35,000 in support of our programs! Paddock is a cerebral palsy advocate and continually raises money to ensure that UCP-OC can maintain serving our community of special needs children. He is currently training for the Ironman 2012 in support of UCP-OC.

Pictured above, along with our CEO Cathy Collins and Bonner Paddock, are the Patel and Leyva families. These two families use our Life Without Limits Therapy Center in Irvine.

Make Insurance Cover Autism

We received this e-mail and thought we would pass it along to our readers 🙂

Your advocacy is needed to help protect the services our children are currently entitled to under California’s Lanterman Act. Please see below as to what action steps are requested.




Help Save the Lanterman Act!

Help Save Lanterman Act Services!

Take Action!

Make Insurance Cover Autism

Dear Friends,

2012 is going to be another brutal budget year for the developmental services that our entire community depends on. As with every year since 2009, we’ll have to fight hard to save the Lanterman Act.

But we don’t have to wait. Please take 45 seconds TODAY to send an email to Assembly Speaker John Perez. Ask him to allow passage of the bill to make insurers covers behavioral therapy for autism spectrum disorders, saving the state millions of dollars and thus helping avert more damaging service cuts next year. 

I wrote you about the bill last week. The response was fantastic, especially from the autism segment of the developmental disability community. Now we need more response from everyone.

Just click on “Take Action” (upper right). That will take you to an Arc page where you’ll see the same Action Alert you’re reading right now. Scroll down to the bottom of that page and fill in the information to send Speaker Perez the simple email.

A lot of you have asked what’s happened since the Action Alert last week. The insurance industry, which is fighting us tooth and nail, won what we hope will be a temporary victory when the bill didn’t advance from the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

But Senate leader Darrell Steinberg, the bill’s author, has made this his highest personal priority for the last week and a half of the legislative session. He’s negotiating now with Speaker Perez – the one person with the power to let the bill move forward.

If Senator Steinberg, who doesn’t even have any family members with developmental disabilities, can put hours into this, surely more us can take 45 seconds to send an email. And also forward this Action Alert to anyone you know who might be willing to help. 

Thank you for your advocacy.



Greg deGiere

Public Policy Director

The Arc and United Cerebral Palsy in California

1225 – 8th Street, Suite 350

Sacramento, CA 95814

916-552-6619 x16 (office)

916-223-7319 (mobile)

916-441-3494 (fax)

916-441-3494 (fax)

A September of Firsts

Happy September! Today is the first day of September and it couldn’t be a more beautiful day.

September is a month of firsts.

School starts soon meaning the first day of Kindergarten, first time riding the bus, first time dropping off your baby at school, first day of High School or even college. I have seen mothers take these days in strides, documenting the whole experience by taking pictures. We would love to see those pictures so please post them on our Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/UCPofOC

Another thing that comes with school is requirements for baking…whether that be for your child’s birthday, class or just as an afternoon snack. Recently, I have taken up baking (very out of character for me) and I wanted to share an easy recipe that may remedy these upcoming baking needs.

For this cupcake I simply used the funfetti cake mix, made some chocolate butter  cream frosting and adorned the top with a rice crispy treat.

So first make the cupcake by following the instructions on the box.
Frosting: it may be easier to just buy frosting but here is a recipe for the icing.

6 tbsp. butter

1 cup powdered sugar

4 tbsp. cocoa

2 to 3 tbs. milk

*I would add a teaspoon of Vanilla extract for flavor

  1. Cream butter
  2. Combine sugar and cocoa
  3. Add sugar and cocoa mixture to butter
  4. Add milk to mixture. Start with 2 tbsp of milk and if it’s too think add another tbsp. of milk

To finish the cupcakes I had the rainbow chip rice crispy treats and cut them into strips and placed them on top.

Voila! You have 24 cupcakes for whatever need may come up.