A Year in Review

An Update from Our CEO

Cathy with firefighters CEO Cathleen Collins shares in this upcoming Summer Newsletter a review of this past year and celebrates the mark of UCP-OC’s 60 years of serving Orange County

2013 marks a special year as we celebrate our 60th Anniversary in Orange County, and the different core programs, people and events that have played a vital role in our organization. We are excited to reflect on the past 60 years and those who have made a difference this year to empower families and help children challenged with special needs to live a “Life Without Limits”.

Thank you to all of our donors who contributed to our Golf Tournament, Life Without Limits Gala and our Annual Fund Campaign. With your support we were able to raise more than $1.398 million this year!

October launched our fundraising season with our Annual “Autumn Golf Classic” and Brianna Cup Golf Tournament, chaired by Scott Pievac CEO of SPC Retail Display Group with lead sponsor Dana Dowers and DLD Insurance. Please Save the Date for this year’s tournament on Monday, October 21, 2013.

In March our support guilds ushered in spring with two spectacular events, the first a festive Fashion Show hosted by Psi Delta and the second a glamorous Casino Royale, hosted by the Sea & Sky Guild and chaired by Guild Founder and President, Linda Beresford.

On Friday May 10, 2013 we held our most successful Life Without Limits Gala to date. Honoring our 60th Anniversary and the philanthropic leadership of Michael K. Hayde. His example of community support and personal philosophy on giving back made him the perfect recipient of our UCP-OC Impact Award. We are very grateful for Mr. Hayde’s support of our organization and the children and families we serve. We are especially grateful for our many event sponsors including lead Life Without Limits Sponsor, The Argyros Family Foundation. For a complete list of event sponsors please see our upcoming newsletter.

UCP-OC is fortunate to have a team of skilled and professional therapists, administrative staff and program specialists who work tirelessly throughout our community. Our collaborative and coordinated children’s services strive to meet the comprehensive needs of families to ensure the support they need throughout a child’s life. This year many of our therapists and staff have spent countless hours outside of UCP-OC earning new certifications and accreditations to further serve the children that come to UCP-OC.

You can remain updated on the happenings at UCP-OC by following us on our Facebook, blog and even Twitter page!

Thank you for supporting our mission to serve the Orange County community and acknowledging the importance of the programs and services our organization provides. Please consider a gift to UCP-OC to support our Annual Fund this year. Annual gifts to UCP-OC help to ensure that every child in need of services receives help and supports critical infrastructure needed to provide excellent care and service. Most importantly, your support helps to ensure a Life Without Limits for every child with disabilities!

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Bike Camp 2011 095

Mission Possible : Bike Camp 2011

  “I want to ride my bicycle

I want to ride my bike
I want to ride my bicycle
I want to ride it where I like”

 -Queen

Take a moment and imagine; an open bike path along the beach, wind in your hair, the sound of the waves breaking next to you and your family or friends riding alongside of you on your new bicycle. Riding a bike is a privilege that many of us take for granted. Most people have vivid memories of riding a bicycle throughout their childhood…and if everyone is like me, a few minor spills along the way!

 Last week, I was able to experience the true gift of being able to master the art of riding a bike at Bike Camp 2011. The camp is put on by Lose the Training Wheels instructors, Nikki & Corey,  and hosted by UCP-OC as well as the Down Syndrome Association of Orange County at the beautiful Soka University in Aliso Viejo. We want to thank Easton-Bell Sports, for generously donating bicycle helmets to each of the participants to keep them safe as the rode around on their bikes!

 The camp starts out in the gym where the children are given a bike adapted to teach children with special needs to ride a bike gradually. Each child has a volunteer stay with them through the week and work alongside of them, and by the end of the week the volunteers are running after the children so that they can keep up! Monday- Wednesday the campers ride around the gym getting used to the bikes and constant pedaling. Thursday the campers were able to go outside and try riding a bike with two wheels! The parking lot was the perfect setting for the campers to hit the asphalt and show off their skills. The parents were overwhelmed and emotional at seeing their child riding a bike on their own.

 Many of the parents of these children never thought they would see the day their child would ride a bike. Parents, like Selah’s mother, were told that their child would never walk or talk. This is a testament of what hard work, intervention, and coming alongside a child can do! If it were not for the determination of parents, volunteers and therapists, these children could be in a very different situation.

The children’s determination to ride the bike on their own was simply put; astounding. At UCP-OC we feel so privileged to be a part of these children’s lives and see these steps into Living a Life Without Limits.

Selah was a recipient of a bike from Edwards Lifesciences the week prior so she had been waiting to ride her new bike on her own! By Friday she was cruising around the parking lot on her new bike with her volunteer running behind her. Here is a video her mom made to document her success!

 

little snow bunny

Adaptive Sports for Special Needs

Hello friends! This upcoming month of March is Brain Injury Awareness month, so we will be centering our blog posts on education of the topic, activities available and encouragement to those of you who live with someone with brain injury.

Individuals that have brain injuries need specialized rehabilitation, lifelong management and individualized services and supports in order to live healthy, independent and satisfying lives. Here at UCP-OC we see that brain injury is not something that will hold a child back. Our mission is to serve the children of this community so that they may live Life Without Limits! At our facilities we offer physical therapy that addresses medical problems and injuries that affect a child’s ability to move and perform functional activities in their daily lives.

The mountains are a common winter getaway for many Orange County residents. Who doesn’t love the brisk mountain air, the picturesque snow capped mountains, or watching your child zoom down the mountain passing you as watchers by cheer for him/her? Over President’s weekend Cathy Collins and her daughters went to Mammoth for the weekend. They were all able to enjoy the snow and sports thanks to Disabled Sports Eastern Sierra. Her daughter Bridget was born three months premature and had many brain surgeries is diagnosed with Autism, Hydrocephalus and Cerebral Palsy, and she was able to shred up the mountainside with a professional instructor by her side. She was taken down the mountain with a Bi-Ski and people cheered for her when she passed by; truly encouraging moment for Cathy as she watched.

This program encourages children by allowing them to have the same opportunities, challenges and excitement at conquering the mountain slopes. They offer adaptive sports for special needs. People with physical or cognitive disabilities are able to have fun and healthy experiences in the mountains too! This organization is located in Mammoth, but not to worry there are other organizations around the area that can help your child experience the exhilaration of going down the mountain. These programs have adaptive equipment to fulfill every child’s dream of gliding down a mountain, or enjoying other outdoor activities such as a downhill wheelchair chair program to explore biking the back-country terrain.

If you are going up to Mammoth, Cathy would highly recommend Disabled Sports Eastern Sierra but there are other programs such as Disabled Sports USA Far West.

U.S. Adaptive Recreation Center is found in Big Bear and offers the same programs that had Bridget zooming down the mountain faster than her mom! 

It is important to give your child opportunities to experience new things and keep their brain stimulated and growing! By taking your child to the snow they can use all their senses and see things that Orange County doesn’t have to offer!

Most organizations have scholarships available, so don’t let the financials hold you back!

 

 

written by: Elizabeth Wylie