Get the running shoes on!

The OC Marathon is coming soon!!
When: Sunday, May 6, 2012
What: OC Marathon; 5K, full, or half marathon
Where: Newport Beach, Fashion Island

Hi Families,

If you haven’t heard yet UCP-OC will be participating in the OC Marathon yet again! This year Team UCP-OC Families will be running/walking alongside Team Jake’s 300+ runners.

At UCP-OC we know that every family has a story to tell, and we want to give each family the opportunity to tell it. By signing up for Team UCP-OC Families you can do this, spread the word about UCP-OC and help fundraise to support the many ways we serve the community of Orange County. Please sign up and join the many families walking in the 5K in celebration of the children in their lives that have benefitted from UCP-OC.

And, if running or walking isn’t for you, you can help our teams reach their fundraising goal by donating to our website or just volunteer to help pass out water and cheer on marathon runners!  

It is going to be a blast, and we can’t wait to see everyone there! 

  • If you would like to join us, please register for the OC Marathon at (try to sign up for the 5k, that’s where most of us will be) and don’t forget to show support for UCP-OC by choosing us under “Charity Program”.
  • If volunteering is more your style, please visit our website where you can sign up to volunteer or make a donation to one of our teams!


If you have any questions, please contact Elizabeth Wylie at



Have you heard of the Friday Night Club?

Teenagers are a growing demographic of special needs individuals in Orange County. This past summer, a mother daughter volunteer team, led by Natalie Cernius, formed a club and met a need that is often overlooked.

The Friday Night Club was created for the sole purpose of creating a safe place for upwards of 60 special needs teens and young adults to come, make friends, watch movies and spend time together. Natalie saw that her 17 year-old brother Andrew, who has autism, has few places or avenues in which to meet other teens like him. As her older siblings left for college, Andrew was left without his playmates, and his only friends. Poita and her daughter saw the need for a place for Andrew to “hang out” with friends just like typical teens do. This club that Natalie created gives special needs teens a place to thrive and become their own person in a safe environment.

Parents can see their children connect with peers right before their eyes, a dream many of them didn’t think would come true. They are grateful that their children have a place to go and belong. Their sons and daughters have gained independence and made leaps into their futures, because of the work Natalie and her mother have done.

Each time this club meets, a life is impacted. Natalie is making a difference in the lives of teens with special needs and helping them live a Life Without Limits.

National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month

March is National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month and we are encouraging you to Get Involved & Raise Awareness this month.

UCP-OC works everyday to enact change for the families that come to our facility. Our commitment to the Orange County community is to help children with developmental disabilities reach their full potential, improve the quality of life for their families, and foster an attitude of acceptance and inclusion. Together with your help, we can make March a special month where we celebrate the nearly 4,000 families we serve, and the other people with developmental disabilities around the nation. With your help we will continue to push for the social, legal and technological changes that increase accessibility and independence, allowing children with disabilities to dream their own dreams, raise awareness in our community and LIVE A LIFE WITHOUT LIMITS!

Here’s how you can Get Involved & Raise Awareness:

  • Get plugged in on our website, Facebook, Twitter and of course our blog.
  • Make a special tribute gift in celebration of a loved one, and encourage others to do the same.
  • Sign up for our Parent E-Mail Network on our website
  • Share a story on our Facebook about how you have been empowered by UCP-OC and how your child with developmental disabilities impacts you daily.
  • Join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #NDDAM

These are just a few ways, we would love to know your ideas.

Life’s a Journey With CP and Me

Hello UCP-OC!

Wow—Is spring break already right around the corner? I am looking forward to that, no doubt! The semester has been a busy one, but it keeps me motivated to stay on top of my work and health as well. I am recovering from a pretty bad cold, but finally getting back into my work out routine—and feeling pretty good!

For those of you who have been keeping up with this blog, I am still on track to run a half marathon in early 2013, so it is important for me to not only fall behind on my workouts, but to make sure I don’t injure myself! This weekend I am going to get fitted for some shoe inserts and new running shoes finally. My poor feet haven’t appreciated all the pressure and pounding I’ve put on them the past few weeks, so I figure it’s time to invest in a good pair of shoes to rid of any injury risk! I am occasionally experiencing some joint pain in my feet and knees, so I know I am due for some new shoes. I don’t think it’s anything serious, but I am noticing more discomfort that wasn’t there before I started running regularly, so hopefully I can get myself in better condition since I am taking on a pretty ambitious run! If you know anything about CP, you learn quickly that we aren’t the best candidates for running or extensive exercise because the muscles that are affected by CP fatigue much faster than normal. For me, since I have CP on only my left side, my right leg overcompensates pretty much all the time for my weaker side, which causes me some discomfort while I run. It’s nothing I haven’t learned to work through during all my years of AYSO soccer and weight training!

Well enough about me—I’d like to let you guys know that sign-ups for the OC Marathon are still going on, you even get a discount if you sign up before March 31st! I originally planned to join in on the 5k fun, but as it turns out there is a school event that is on the same day. I’m bummed I can’t be there physically to support Team UCP-OC, but you still can! Running/walking is a great form of exercise and it is super fun to get a group of friends out there to support a great cause together! And not only that, but I think that by joining UCP in their efforts, you are also helping promote awareness and education about what UCP-OC does for children in our community. So please take a moment to consider signing up for the 5k, what have you go to lose? J

Well, I am off to do some yoga tonight; hopefully it’ll loosen my legs up a bit! I love yoga, it’s a great way get in some extra stretching and relaxation too!

Bye for now! Katy

Child of the Month: March 2012


Alyna is the youngest of four and unlike many of our children, was carried to full term and born at 7lbs. At nine months, her doctor discovered that she was not meeting her milestones; her arms and legs were locked and she didn’t move from side to side. One week after finding out she had CP, the family was at UCP-OC for her evaluation. The family acted quickly on their neurologist Dr. McIntosh’s suggestion, “You need to go to UCP-OC, they are specialists in treating children and babies with disabilities.” She is working with Kristy and Lisa on relaxing the muscles that are keeping her from moving her arms and legs. At 18 months she is now moving her limbs and the family has witnessed her first complete roll-over.

Her mother, Adriana, remembers the experience as being terrifying and very emotional, but the therapists were great at getting her to understand in detail what to expect with Alyna and they never lost patience with her many questions.  For a mother that knew nothing about the journey of having a child with special needs, UCP-OC helped her understand in detail what to do with her daughter to help her meet her milestones.

Adriana knew nothing about the journey with a child a disabilities, and is very grateful for the support she found at UCP-OC. Alyna recently, received (very cute, pink) orthotics from United Way that will help her standing and walking on her own. 

Alyna receives support through a grant given by the United Way of Orange County. The grant supplies families that qualify, funding for UCP-OC’s Early Intervention program as well as orthotics if needed. Alyna is still getting used to her orthotics, but we are very excited to see the impact it will make in her progression towards walking.

Alyna is known at UCP-OC for making the cutest faces. Her “stinkeye” will let you know exactly what she is thinking, as they say actions speak louder than words. Well in Alyna’s case looks speak much louder than words. She is very determined, and if she get something the first time she will keep trying.   



“UCP-OC brings the strength out of a mom.” – Adriana





If you would like to make a gift to support the services that are helping Alyna and her family please click here or contact Elizabeth at for more information.