Someone 2 Know: Northern Nevada RAVE Family Foundation
Every week a dozen little people gather at the RAVE Family Center for a play date. It might look like a typical preschool setting to most people, but the story behind the RAVE Family Center is unique. It is a safe place to play for kids with special needs and developmental disabilities. Each child who attends gets one-on-one time with a trained volunteer. This care program, however, benefits more than just the children.
RAVE stands for Respite and Volunteer Experience and the Northern Nevada RAVE Family Foundation offers just that to parents in our area. On a regular basis, parents of a child with special needs can drop off their children at the RAVE Family Center for three hours of free child care, "which is a break; a gift of time that allows them to recharge their battery," explains RAVE Executive Director, Korine Viehweg. "You have 24/7 responsibilities. They might not sleep through the night, they might be demanding throughout the day, they're taking their kids to therapy sessions and groups and doctor's appointments."
Families like Kristoffer Pfalmer's appreciate the help. His daughter, Adriana, is a twin. Adriana and her sister came into this world more than three months early. As a result, Adriana battles some serious health issues. "Adriana had a brain bleed - grade four, which is the worst; so she has limited mobility." She has cerebral palsy, which requires 24-hour care, so her parents get little down time. It's a challenge, but the unique RAVE program helps the family carry on. "It's an enormous load off our shoulders to be able to bring our kids to an organization that's very competent and we can trust when we drop them off they're going to get the care their need," says Kristoffer.
Some pretty special young adults care for kids like Adriana. They are recruited from area high schools and trained to be RAVE volunteers. They are each assigned to one child and the program only accepts a dozen kids per session. Sophomore, Lauren Elvick was caring for Adriana when we arrived. When she first joined the program last year, she volunteered every other week. She enjoyed it so much, however, that this year she now volunteers every week. "It's so much fun. The kids bring a smile to everyone's face and it's the greatest thing I've ever done. It's affected my life so much."
Their time together may be brief, but it is so important. When the three hours are over, families come back together refreshed, renewed and recharged to continue their fight.
The Northern Nevada RAVE Family Foundation services about 70 kids a year and it can accept even more. The 501(ac)3 relies on grants, local donations and fundraisers like its annual An Evening to RAVE About dinner and auction in April. To learn more about that event or how to get involved in this one-of-a-kind program, log on to www.raveforkids.org.
Sunday, May 19 2013 7:02 PM EDT2013-05-19 23:02:30 GMT
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