Year End Thanks; New Year’s Hope

Year End Thanks; New Year’s Hope

We can hardly believe it! Another year has come and gone right before our very eyes. We stand at the forefront of 2016, yet somehow feel like it was just yesterday that we were opening our doors for the very first time. We feel so fortunate to have been given the opportunity to serve so many amazing clients and families. Since our inception, we have been blessed beyond measure with overwhelming donor generosity and community support that has allowed us to continue this mission.

2015 was an extremely busy year for Sara’s Garden and New Horizons Academy, and perhaps why we feel the year flew by so quickly. We’ve achieved new goals and faced new challenges, all while experiencing one of the most rewarding and fulfilling years in our history. We know none of this would be possible without the unending grace from our heavenly Father and the generous support from our donors, dedicated service from our staff and selfless sacrifice from our volunteers. We owe you all a warm and sincere thank you!

We are honored that so many of you have trusted Sara’s Garden with your gifts and donations! We know that many of you have made sacrifices this year in order to to continue supporting Sara’s Garden and for that we are so thankful. We consider you our partner in providing hope and changing lives. Please know that every single dollar that you contribute to Sara’s Garden is valued. It is our mission to use your gifts wisely to serve families and clients from across the country. Despite the economic challenges facing our country and its economy you have been faithful and have blessed Sara’s Garden and its mission.  We appreciate you more than words can express!

Because of your generous support, we are in a position to do something that we’ve been looking forward to for a very long time… Beginning January, 1 2016, we will be lowering our rates for Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy treatments from $110 per hour to $100 per hour. We want these treatments to be as affordable as possible. Our hope is that this reduction in rates will help to ease the financial stress on families raising money for these life changing treatments. 

On behalf of the entire team here at Sara’s Garden, we would like to express our deepest gratitude to everyone who has helped make 2015 such a memorable year for us. Thank you for trusting in our ministry.  We treasure your partnership. You are instrumental in providing hope, help and healing to families from across the country!

From our family to yours, Thank You!

Matt Rychener CEO/Executive Director

“A Bench for Caps” Project Update

“A Bench for Caps” Project Update

KEEP ‘EM COMING… BUT KEEP ‘EM CLEAN!

Your support of our “A Bench for Caps” project has been overwhelming!

As we explained in last quarter’s newsletter, our local Girl Scouts have partnered with Green Tree Plastics in collecting bottle caps and lids to be recycled and transformed into benches for our playground here at Sara’s Garden and New Horizons Academy.

This is an exciting program wherein bottle caps are transformed into 100% recycled park benches that will last a lifetime. This is the most-perfect-real-life example of sustainability and it happens quite naturally as the kids can’t wait to share the story of their bench.

When we first started this project, our goal was to collect 200 lbs. of bottle caps in order to create one 4′ long bench. With your help, we have collected almost 1,000 lbs. of bottle caps to date!

Simply AMAGING!

We are going to continue collecting caps until March 1 and try and create as many benches as possible for families to enjoy when they come to the playground.

Until then, you can continue to collect your caps and lids and bring them to Sara’s Garden. We have collection bins in the lobbies of both the school and hyperbaric center. The Girl Scouts will do the rest. It’s that simple.

With that being said, the Girl Scouts have asked that we reiterate exactly what is (AND ISN’T) acceptable to collect.

  • Caps MUST BE plastic. ABSOLUTELY NO METAL pop tabs or can lids. We are getting a lot of sharp metal lids turned in which can not be used.
  • Caps MUST BE clean and free from food and trash debris. We are getting a lot of caps turned in that are still full of food and condiment residue. Green Tree will only accept clean lids and caps free of all debris.
  • Caps CAN NOT be from soap or lotion bottles. We have received a tremendous amount of lotion and soap pump bottles. These are no able to be recycled.

It is taking the Girl Scouts a lot of time to sort some of the bags that are being turned in and we want to make sure they are safe and be conscious of their time and efforts.

Examples of caps and lids that are unacceptable:

NO METAL CAN TABS
NO DIRTY LIDS OR CAPS
NO SOAP/LOTION CAPS
NO METAL BOTTLE CAPS

If we turn in any caps and lids such as the ones shown above they will not be accepted by Green Tree Plastics and the entire bag will be thrown out. Below is a complete list of what can and can’t be collected.

Acceptable caps and lids:
  • Medicine bottle caps
  • Detergent caps
  • Deodorant caps
  • Flip-top caps (ketchup and mustard tops)
  • Mayonnaise jar lids
  • Ice cream bucket lids
  • Coffee can lids
  • Drink bottle caps
  • Hair spray caps
  • Spout caps (mustard caps)
  • Cream cheese container lids
  • Butter container lids
  • Milk jug caps
  • Toothpaste tube caps
  • Ointment tube caps
  • Cottage cheese container lids
  • Peanut butter jar lids
  • Cool Whip container lids
Not acceptable caps and lids:
  • Metal caps/lids of any kind
  • Trigger sprays
  • Fast food drink lids
  • Soap pumps
  • Lotion pumps

Below is a list of the past golf outing sponsors that we would like to honor. Thank you for your support!

Sara’s Garden Adds Speech-Language Pathology

Sara’s Garden Adds Speech-Language Pathology

Sara’s Garden is excited to announce that we are once again broadening our clinical service offerings to include Speech-Language Pathology (Speech Therapy)! In expanding our provision of services, Sara’s Garden has recently welcomed Michelle Nagle, M.Ed. CCC/SLP to our team of specialists to complement and enhance our program of intervention services.

What is Speech-Language Pathology? Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) work to prevent, assess, diagnose, and treat speech, language, social communication, cognitive-communication, and swallowing disorders in children and adults of all ages.

  • Speech disorders occur when a person has difficulty producing speech sounds correctly or fluently (e.g., stuttering is a form of disfluency) or has problems with his or her voice or resonance.
  • Language disorders occur when a person has trouble understanding others (receptive language), or sharing thoughts, ideas, and feelings (expressive language). Language disorders may be spoken or written and may involve the form (phonology, morphology, syntax), content (semantics), and/or use (pragmatics) of language in functional and socially appropriate ways.
  • Social communication disorders occur when a person has trouble with the social use of verbal and nonverbal communication. These disorders may include problems (a) communicating for social purposes (e.g., greeting, commenting, asking questions), (b) talking in different ways to suit the listener and setting, and (c) following rules for conversation and story-telling. All individuals with autism spectrum disorder have social communication problems. Social communication disorders are also found individuals with other conditions, such as traumatic brain injury.
  • Cognitive-communication disorders include problems organizing thoughts, paying attention, remembering, planning, and/or problem-solving. These disorders usually happen as a result of a stroke, traumatic brain injury, or dementia, although they can be congenital.
  • Swallowing disorders (dysphagia) are feeding and swallowing difficulties, which may follow an illness, surgery, stroke, or injury.

Many conditions, including cerebral palsy, autism, hearing loss, developmental delays, may cause difficulty with speech and language development. Some children may not understand language. Some children may understand language but be unable to communicate effectively due to difficulty with speech.  Sometimes children experience challenges in other areas of communication, such as hand gestures and facial expressions.

Speech therapy is a clinical program aimed at improving speech and language skills and oral motor abilities. Children who are able to talk may work on making their speech clearer, or on building their language skills by learning new words, learning to speak in sentences, or improving their listening skills. Children who cannot talk may learn sign language, or how to use special equipment such as a computer that speaks for them. Children who talk but have challenges with more discreet communication issues such as facial expression or gestural language use, may work on these areas of communication.

Sara’s Garden is committed to providing the highest quality speech, language, and communication services in a meaningful and fun learning environment. We are dedicated to working collaboratively with family members to ensure their loved ones learn and progress to their full communicative potential.

We believe that early intervention is crucial to the development of communication skills and that every client should be viewed individually and treated uniquely according to their learning style and communication needs. Family support is crucial to a child’s learning and parents should be involved in the development, implementation, and evaluation of their child’s needs and progress. Our goal is to collaborate with families to better serve the needs of you and/or your child. At Sara’s Garden, we offer an individualized approach to assessing a client’s functional capacity and customizing interventions to achieve family-centered goals. This is achieved through supporting a person to learn new skills, modifying a task or activity and/or making changes to one’s environment, to enhance their level of functioning and safety and achieve even greater independence.

For further information on Speech-Language Pathology (Speech Therapy) services at Sara’s Garden and New Horizons Academy please contact Dave Burkholder at 419.335.7272 or via email at davidb@sarasgarden.org.

A Bench for Caps

A Bench for Caps

Every second thousands of pounds of plastic are being buried in the earth where it will remain for centuries. What if there was a sustainable solution that could reduce this waste and benefit families all at the same time.

Our local Girl Scouts have partnered with Green Tree Plastics in collecting bottle caps and lids to be recycled and transformed into benches for our playground!

“A Bench for Caps” is an exciting program wherein bottle caps are transformed into 100% recycled park benches that will last a lifetime. This is the most-perfect-real-life example of sustainability and it happens quite naturally as the kids can’t wait to share the story of their bench.

We need your help!

Simply collect caps and lids and bring them to Sara’s Garden. We have collection bins in the lobbies of both the school and hyperbaric center. The Girl Scouts will do the rest. It’s that simple.

Acceptable caps and lids:
  • Medicine bottle caps
  • Detergent caps
  • Deodorant caps
  • Flip-top caps (ketchup and mustard tops)
  • Mayonnaise jar lids
  • Ice cream bucket lids
  • Coffee can lids
  • Drink bottle caps
  • Hair spray caps
  • Spout caps (mustard caps)
  • Cream cheese container lids
  • Butter container lids
  • Milk jug caps
  • Toothpaste tube caps
  • Ointment tube caps
  • Cottage cheese container lids
  • Peanut butter jar lids
  • Cool Whip container lids
Not acceptable caps and lids:
  • Metal caps/lids of any kind
  • Trigger sprays
  • Fast food drink lids
  • Soap pumps
  • Lotion pumps

Together we can turn already existing plastic into custom park benches intended to last a lifetime.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact Trish at twmedic519@gmail.com.

Buy Your Brick Today!

Buy Your Brick Today!

We are nearing completion of our brand new handicap accessible playground at New Horizons Academy and you still have a chance participate in a very unique way. One of the playground’s features will be a beautiful, brick paver patio with picnic tables and benches for families to enjoy.

You have until the end of the year to purchase your own “brick” with a personalized message etched into it that will leave a legacy you or your family can visit for years to come!

For a tax-deductible donation, we will personalize your limited edition section of the patio. This program offers you the chance to honor family, friends, mentors, sports teams, clubs, organizations or businesses by purchasing a personalized brick paver. The options may be endless, but the bricks are not. Reserve yours today.

“Buy a Brick” Donor Levels

  • $50.00 – 4″ x 8″ engraved brick space with 1-3 lines of text.
  • $75.00 – 8″ x 8″ engraved brick space with 1-6 lines of text.
  • $100.00 – 12″ x 12″ engraved brick space with 1-8 lines of text.

Inscriptions will be UPPERCASE lettering and will be centered on the brick. You can have up to 18 characters per line engraved, including spaces, periods, commas, quotations, etc.

You can also customize your brick with decorative clip art and logo graphics for only $15.00 more. We can also engrave your own clip art or logo for the same price. Simply upload a black & white high resolution logo where specified when you place your order.

You may suggest placement of the graphics on our order sheet under the comments section. Sometimes however it is not possible to accommodate the suggested placement in the layout. In these cases the final design will be left up to our engravers.

Make a lasting memory while supporting the playground project and investing in student’s lives, one step at a time. Help support the students at New Horizons Academy and countless families from across Northwest Ohio that will benefit from this inclusive, handicap accessible playground.

If you would like additional information or need help placing your order, please call or email Matt Rychener at 419-335-7272 ext. 1001.

Sara’s Garden to Add Occupational Therapy

Sara’s Garden to Add Occupational Therapy

We are excited to announce that we are broadening our clinical service offerings to include Occupational Therapy! In expanding our provision of services, Sara’s Garden has recently welcomed Stacie Miles (Occupational Therapist) and Kelly Hesterman (Occupational Therapy Assistant) to our team of specialists to complement and enhance our current Conductive Education fine motor program.

So, what is Occupational Therapy?

Simply put, Occupational Therapy (also known as OT) is an allied health profession that focuses on teaching skills for everyday living. The practice of Occupational Therapy can greatly vary according to the setting and clientele.

At Sara’s Garden, we serve children and adults of all ages who, for whatever reason, may be facing challenges carrying out their activities of daily living. These activities are commonly categorized under the following areas:

  • Self-care
  • Productivity (i.e. school or work)
  • Leisure and play
  • Rest and sleep

Barriers to participation in these areas of life may be due to physical or cognitive challenges, developmental delay, aging, injuries or surgery, and social and emotional issues. In these activities or areas of occupation, Occupational Therapy can assist to address issues at school, home or work which may be impacting someone’s day to day function.

At Sara’s Garden, we offer an individualized approach to assessing a client’s functional capacity and customizing interventions to achieve family-centered goals. This is achieved through supporting a person to learn new skills, modifying a task or activity and/or making changes to one’s environment, to enhance their level of functioning and safety and achieve even greater independence.

Occupational Therapy sessions at Sara’s Garden are fun and engaging, using modern and interactive play and therapy equipment. Our goal is to collaborate with families and teachers to better serve the needs of you and/or your child.

For further information on Occupational Therapy services at Sara’s Garden and New Horizons Academy please contact Dave Burkholder at 419.335.7272 or via email at davidb@sarasgarden.org.

Ready to Play?

Ready to Play?

Our handicap accessible playground project is nearly complete! As the saying goes, “Nothing worthwhile is ever easy.” This has been one of the most challenging projects we’ve ever done… it has been everything but easy.

Yet, despite all of the challenges we’ve faced throughout this process, it has been amazing to see it take shape and know that this was going to be something that kids from all over would be able to enjoy and benefit from.

As we near completion, we reflect back on all of the individuals, businesses and foundations who have partnered with us to make this dream a reality. From donating funds to help finance the project… to spending countless hours on “less than ideal” soil conditions working to prepare the surface and erect the equipment… we can not begin to adequately thank everyone involved for their tireless support and dedication to this project. We are truly humbled and blessed by your efforts.

As is the case with everything here at Sara’s Garden, this playground is truly a community project. Thank you for being a part of it.

For complete photo galleries of the playground’s progress please visit our Facebook page.

Ready, Set… PLAY! It’s Time to Build a Playground.

Ready, Set… PLAY! It’s Time to Build a Playground.

Believe it or not, the time has finally come to begin construction on our playground!

Beginning next month, Sara’s Garden will break ground on Northwest Ohio’s first handicap accessible, inclusive playground. This playground will address the needs of typically developing children, as well as children with neurological, intellectual and physical disabilities. Our goal is to design and create a truly inclusive playground that accommodates all children and challenges each of them at their own developmental levels. This playground is designed to go far beyond ADA compliance. It will be a space that encourages children of all abilities to play with one another. It will have a variety of equipment and activities to enable children with disabilities to experience movement, play and independence along with their typically developing peers.

The initial estimate for this project came in at well over $400,000. Thankfully, through equipment discounts and community support through in-kind labor and product donations, Sara’s Garden has been able to bring the cost of the project down to $387,000. The funding raised will be used to pay for site excavation, surface drainage and preparation, fully accessible playground equipment, concrete work for sidewalks and a basketball court, and the rubberized handicap accessible playground surface.

We now need your help to bring the project to completion. The construction of the playground will be a community build project. What that means is that once the site has been cleared and all the holes for the equipment have been dug, we will need teams of volunteers to sign up to work in June to help us put the playground equipment together and help us spread stone which will serve as the base for the playground surface.

Below is the tentative schedule for needed volunteers for the upcoming playground build:

Saturday, June 13th – Community Playground Build

  • Two 4 hour volunteer shifts
    • 1st Shift: 8:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
    • 2nd Shift: 12:30 p.m.-4:30 p.m.
  • 30 volunteers needed per shift
  • Lunch provided to both shifts at noon

Sunday, June 14th – Community Playground Build

  • Two 4 hour volunteer shifts
    • 1st Shift: 8:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
    • 2nd Shift: 12:30 p.m.-4:30 p.m.
  • 30 volunteers needed per shift
  • Lunch provided to both shifts at noon

Tuesday, June 16th – Friday, June 19th – Surface Base Prep

  • One 3 hour volunteer shift each evening
    • 5:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m.
  • 5-10 volunteers needed each evening

If you are interested in volunteering by yourself or with a group, please contact Matt or Paul at 419.335.7272 as soon as possible.

We are so grateful for the support we have received for this project from area individuals, businesses and organizations. This playground would not have been possible without your generosity and partnership.

Habitat for Humanity Housing Partnership

Habitat for Humanity Housing Partnership

We are thrilled to announce that we will be partnering with Habitat for Humanity of Fulton County, Ohio on an upcoming housing project!

Habitat for Humanity of Fulton County has repurchased an existing Habitat home to “recycle”. The previous Habitat partner family was blessed with an opportunity to move forward in her life, thanks in part to her Habitat experience. Although Habitat’s existing partner families are not ready to be homeowners yet, Habitat felt led to repurchase this home and recycle it as a community service project. We are so excited that Habitat has decided to partner with Sara’s Garden on this project. We will be able to provide this home as short term living quarters for our clients and families who travel here for services. This is an exciting opportunity to combine our efforts and thus further both missions to help more families in need.

Coming up in the near future, there will be opportunities for volunteer groups to come clean, paint and lay new flooring in order to get the home ready for families to stay.

Below is a schedule of events for the upcoming Sara’s Garden home recycle project:

Friday, April 24th & Saturday, April 25th – Painting & Trim Work

  • Two 4 hour volunteer shifts
    • 1st Shift: 8:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
    • 2nd Shift: 12:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m.
  • 15-20 volunteers needed per shift
  • Snacks and lunch provided

Friday, May 1st & Saturday, May 2nd – Flooring

  • Two 4 hour volunteer shifts
    • 1st Shift: 8:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
    • 2nd Shift: 12:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m.
  • 10-15 volunteers needed per shift
  • Snacks and lunch provided

Friday, May 8th & Saturday, May 9th – Punch List and Cleanup

  • Two 4 hour volunteer shifts
    • 1st Shift: 8:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
    • 2nd Shift: 12:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m.
  • 10-15 volunteers needed per shift
  • Snacks and lunch provided

Friday, May 15th & Saturday, May 16th – IF NEEDED

  • Volunteers and shifts will be determined at a later date if needed
  • Snacks and lunch provided

Sunday, May 31st – House Dedication

You are more than welcome to work the entire day if you want. If you are interested in volunteering by yourself or with a group, please contact Matt or Paul at 419.335.7272 as soon as possible.

Since Habitat for Humanity of Fulton County, Ohio was established in 2007, they have put 10 families in safe, affordable housing. Habitat for Humanity is continually grateful for contributions they receive from the United Way, churches, businesses and individuals in order to complete these vital projects. Although this is a recycle project and not a new build, funding is still necessary to complete the project’s updates.

Habitat for Humanity of Fulton County wants to put faith into action, completing this recycle project by June 1st so that they can begin a new construction project this fall. Habitat’s new Home Repair Ministry is beginning this month and they want to serve a second family with a new construction next year. The need for Habitat’s ministry is ever-growing.

We are asking for many things besides volunteers – prayer, monetary donations for building materials, hospitality (meals for the job site), and for you to spread the word. How much funding is needed? Habitat estimates that it will cost approximately $7,000 to complete this Recycle project for Sara’s Garden. Building the new home that they hope to start in the fall is much more expensive. It costs $50 to build one square foot of a Habitat home so they need $67,500 to complete that project. Please prayerfully discern how you may serve this ministry. You can join their Square Foot Club to help them reach their goal of recycling 1, repairing 1-3, and building 2 new homes by year-end 2016.

Habitat for Humanity is a local ministry, serving the needs of neighbors in our county. For more information or to schedule a representative to visit your organization, contact the Habitat office at 419-335-7000 and ask for Heidi Kern, the executive director. Please prayerfully consider how you can provide safe, affordable housing by volunteering or making a donation to their mission. Gifts may be designated to specific projects, including the Sara’s Garden recycle. Thank you for what you are considering. Habitat supports and connects individuals and groups in their desire to use their spiritual gifts to glorify God.

Happy National Conductive Education Day!

Happy National Conductive Education Day!

There are millions of children and adults across North America with motor disorders who could be learning how to become more mobile, independent and self-confident with a dynamic learning system called Conductive Education (CE).

Today, February 19, 2015, we join together with the member organizations of The Association for Conductive Education in North America (ACENA) to advocate the power and purpose of Conductive Education.

Developed more than sixty years ago in Hungary by Dr. Andras Peto, Conductive Education maximizes the independence and mobility of children and adults with motor disabilities, including stroke survivors, and those with cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, acquired brain injuries, Parkinson’s disease and spina bifida. CE operates from a core belief in neuroplasticity – the lifelong ability of the brain to reorganize neural pathways based on new experiences – and on the premise that no matter how severe the disability, people can learn and improve when they are motivated. Conductive Education helps individuals learn their way to independence. CE is a widely accepted practice with proven success across the globe, and is integrated into the community rehabilitation and educational systems in Hungary, Israel, Germany and Great Britain.

Conductive Education methodology has a transformative effect on mobility and independence. Using a holistic and intensive approach that combines medical knowledge with educational methods, clients can gain control over their bodies – and accomplish tasks that the families may have never thought possible.

Conductive Education has the potential to make a significant, life-changing impact on the mobility and independence of close to 9 million people in the United States and Canada. Millions more will also indirectly benefit – spouses, parents and caregivers – by having loved ones become more independent, motivated and self-sufficient. With increased mobility, strength, problem-solving skills, confidence, and self-esteem, not only will the client’s quality of life be improved, but so will the entire family.

To find out if Conductive Education is right for you or a loved one, or for more information about Sara’s Garden, please contact Matt Rychener, Executive Director at (419) 335-7272 or via email at mattr@sarasgarden.org.