What Happens Here Changes Lives Forever
Each year Happiness House/Finger Lakes Cerebral Palsy Association continues to advance the educational, recreational, therapeutic, and family support programs and services for children and adults with disabilities. Through our programs we believe "What Happens Here Changes Lives Forever."
The Choffin Family’s Story
Our family first became a part of Happiness House in 2006, when we enrolled our third child, Jonah, into the New Friends Preschool program. Shortly after his enrollment, it became apparent that he was in need of speech therapy services, which he also received at Happiness House. Jonah’s preschool experience was wonderful! He made friends, developed his speech, and became very fond of the staff – and as parents, so did we.
We now have two younger children, Sofia (age 3) and DJ (age 2). At each of their births, without a doubt, we knew that we wanted Sofia and DJ to experience the same loving support as Jonah had in preschool. Sofia is now enrolled in Happiness House’s preschool program and loves going to learn and play with her friends. DJ’s involvement with Happiness House goes back to infancy.
DJ was born with Down Syndrome and has bilateral hearing loss. He started with at home services provided by Happiness House, receiving special education instruction and physical therapy. His low muscle tone caused delays in his ability to swallow, hold an object, and even walk. We are indebted to his therapists’ extra efforts to help us develop DJ’s fine and gross motor skills. Because of their dedication, DJ learned to walk unassisted at 19 months!
At DJ’s semi-annual meetings we discuss his accomplishments, set new goals and add therapy sessions as his needs change or develop. Everyone is always attentive to his needs and takes the extra step to work as a team so that his care is consistent. Currently, DJ receives occupational, physical, and speech therapies, attends Happiness House’s Developmental Toddler Group three times a week, and has a 1:1 aide at his group therapy session and home visits. At first glance, this may look like an overwhelming amount of work for a two year old, but DJ is eager to learn and is proud of his accomplishments.
Thank goodness for Happiness House – my family is growing and thriving because of this wonderful organization!
~ Sadie and John Choffin
Happiness House Celebrates its 10th Annual Camp for Adults with TBI at the Onanda Park:
Happiness House TBI Structured Day Program has been providing a camp experience for adults with Traumatic Brian Injuries for 10 years. Last year we changed our location to Onanda Park on West Lake Road in Canandaigua. We also added an overnight camping experience in the Gorham Lodge.
This year’s camp experience included fishing, digital photography, hiking, bocce ball, drawing, crafts, water balloon toss, handicapped accessible swimming, a scavenger hunt, a “drive-in style” outdoor movie, a campfire with s’mores, and an afternoon of BBQ, music and dancing featuring the Double Take Blues Band. The 2010 TBI camp was made possible by the hard work of the Happiness House staff and volunteers and a generous grant received by the Happiness House Foundation.
Chad received a Brain Injury in 1991 due to a car accident. This didn’t stop Chad from becoming a caring, thoughtful man with a great sense of humor. Sally Stallsworth (Chad’s mom) remembers a specific time in the hospital right after the accident:
"…after Chad's accident I was told for three weeks straight that they didn't expect him to live, and my reply to the doctors was: you don't know Chad like I know Chad, he will make you all liars. And he did."
Chad moved back to the Finger Lakes area and started coming to Happiness House in February of 2009. That summer he attended our Traumatic Brain Injury camp and was eager to come back again this year. Chad’s mom Sally Stallsworth said:
"Since he has come back to the Canandaigua area and attended Happiness House, made new friends and contacts, he seems like a happier and healthier guy. The staff at Happiness House have made it possible for him to see he can do things. He loves camp and looks forward to it. I am sure that the camping and a lot of the activities at Happiness House bring and instill life in him."
Chad has a love of the outdoors and is a native of the Canandaigua area. When he was in high school he worked at the gate at Onanda Park so often you would find him gabbing with the grounds keepers and park staff. This year, Chad enjoyed the opportunity to go out for ice cream with some of his old work buddies at the park. When Chad was 3 years old he had a near drowning experience, and he never enjoyed swimming much after that. He had not been swimming in the lake since before his injury, but this year with great determination, he got back into the water. Mrs. Stallsworth added:
"…he has come a long way from what was ever expected of him...His goals and determination have done this for him and his future. As a family; Dad, Sister and I are very, very proud of Chad's accomplishments past and present and we all hope that this continues for him.
Onanda Park is a great facility that has a lift into the lake to make swimming possible for people who could not otherwise get in. Chad and the rest of the campers had a memorable experience and are already looking forward to next year!
Swimming at Happiness House TBI Camp Onanda
In this tough economic climate, our children need your support more than ever! Happiness House/Finger Lakes Cerebral Palsy Association, Inc. continues to work to help make a difference in the lives of families like the Choffin family. Each and every person affected by neurological impairments, autism, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, mental retardation and traumatic brain injuries, lead fuller, richer lives as a direct result of services provided by Happiness House. Today, you can make an immediate difference in the lives of children and adults with disabilities. Each dollar you send provides programs and services to 1,100 families annually. Please join with us - together we can change lives forever!
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