Carter is Stepping Up For UCP-OC

Carter, all smiles in physical therapy.

In honor of STEPtember, which starts today, we’re highlighting Carter, an absolutely adorable two-and-a-half-year-old with global developmental delay who receives physical, occupational and speech therapy and participates in Talk Play Learn group at UCP-OC. His family has committed to walk 10,000 steps per day from September 2-29 to raise funds and awareness for UCP-OC.

At two months of age, Carter’s parents, Melissa and Brian, together with his pediatrician, noticed his visual impairment, At four months, when his vision had not improved, he began wearing glasses to correct his vision and started therapy to help him reach developmental milestones. His impaired vision has led to some considerable delays for Carter, but this happy, tenacious little guy doesn’t mind hard work. Melissa shared that “Carter has made significant strides in all areas of his development with the help of his team at UCP-OC. As a parent, every trip to UCP-OC is my favorite, because upon arrival, Carter can hardly contain his excitement because he knows where he is headed. This reaction alone is remarkable for our family.”

“While typical children are scheduling play dates and other activities, our children’s lives are about therapies. I say children’s because Carter’s little brother Jackson, who is 10 months old, attends every session.  We spend a lot of time at UCP-OC and are grateful it is a home away from home for us. The support and love we receive from everyone is amazing. UCP-OC has really given our son a great opportunity to reach a Life Without Limits,” said Melissa.

Some of Carter’s favorite things include swimming, going for walks, spending any moment possible with our whole family, playing with his little brother and bath time.

Carter with his therapist
Carter with his occupational therapist, Jenn

His therapists Vanessa and Jenn recently took Carter to the park for a co-treatment session in celebration of all he has accomplished in the last few months. By having multiple disciplines all under one roof, UCP-OC’s team of exceptional therapists and child development professionals work together to ensure each child has the services needed to reach their full potential. Carter also receives speech therapy one-on-one with Megan and in group with Pati. Jenn shared  “I am so proud to have such an incredible group of co-workers like Vanessa, Megan, and Pati and kiddos like Carter that continue to amaze me every day. It’s the teamwork that makes the dream work!”

Carter still has work to do catch up developmentally, but he is making great progress and has the support he needs to do so. We can’t wait to see what he will do next! As Melissa said, “he is our biggest inspiration and driving force. If Carter can do it, it can be done. ” And Carter has proven he can do anything he puts his mind to.

Carter and his family are Stepping Up for UCP-OC so that children like Carter have access to the services they need to thrive. Join in this Steptember to improve your health and wellness and help children with disabilities live a Life Without Limits. Create a team of 4 and challenge yourself to take 10,000 steps per day until September 29. Or show your support of Carter’s family by making a donation in their name here.


Volunteer Spotlight – Dimitri Ingram

Summer is abuzz at UCP-OC with volunteers who commit their free time to helping children with disabilities live a Life Without Limits, and college student Dimitri Ingram spent 3 days per week for 2 months dedicated to promoting our Steptember Wellness Challenge, which starts tomorrow, and helping with Bike Camp. When asked about his favorite experiences, Dimitri said he really loved every minute at UCP-OC but will never forget Bike Camp, and one camper in particular, Steven. Here’s Dimitri’s experience in his own words:

Steven’s proud smile after self starting!

“My name is Dimitri Ingram. I have had the pleasure of volunteering at the UCPOC all summer. I really love working at the UCPOC because the feeling of knowing you are doing everything possible to help children with developmental disabilities is so rewarding. The highlight of my experience is helping out at Bike Camp 2015. I remember working very hard one session with Steven. I wanted him to be able to self start. So I showed him how and then had him try. He had difficulty doing it. He was so close and I was jumping around so excited telling him that he was so close and saying that he could do it. He kept trying and trying but to no avail. So eventually I let him go get some water and take a break. Two minutes left until the end of session, I told him that I wasn’t giving up on him and told him we have to try it one more time. Steven got on the bike and after pushing his feet off the ground 3 times, I shouted, “Get on the peddles!” Everyone in the parking structure held their breath at that moment. Steven lifted his feet up, caught the peddles underneath them and started peddling! Everyone cheered louder than ever before. I cheered so loudly and jumped into the air so high that my keys went flying across the parking structure! When he finished, I gave him the biggest hug I have ever given. Steven worked so hard and I am so proud of him!”

We’re proud of you too, Dimitri. Thanks for all your hard work this year!

For those who want to know more about Steptember. September 2-29, thousands of people from around the world will Step Up their fitness to raise awareness and funds for vital programs for children and adults living with disabilities and their families.

The average office worker only takes about 3,000 steps per day – not enough to keep us as healthy and active as we should be – so each participant will challenge themselves to take 10,000 steps per day and share their participation with family and friends. Ready to Step Up too? Visit and register your team or make a donation. Make sure to choose UCP of Orange County so your commitment changes lives right here in our community.