Care for children during the out of school time hours is a necessity for many parents, and the options can be overwhelming. Opportunities and activities, transportation, snacks or meals, and cost are all areas that need to be weighed when a family is making a decision about out of school time care.
For children with special needs, families also need to consider the skilled care necessary for their children, whether it is medical or behavioral needs.
Here4Youth, a program of Lutheran Social Services is an affordable solution for families with special needs to turn to. Care is provided during after school and summer hours, with a variety of opportunities for children to thrive in the environment. Last year, 43 children benefited from the program. One of them was Isaac.
When Isaac first started attending Here4Youth, he was very anti-social. When he did interact with others, it was usually in a negative manner. He would often isolate himself and would not speak unless he was upset. He also refused to participate in any group activities. Now, a little more than 18 months later, Isaac has completely opened up. He plays with others frequently, often initiating the interactions. He speaks to staff with excitement and involves the teachers in his make believe activities. He participates in group activities each day and has made several friends.
The amount of progress he has made in Here4Youth is astounding. The program has been able to help him develop his social skills and his mother has said numerous times that she does not know where Isaac would be in his life if it were not for Here4Youth.