A Journey to the Social World

But like anybody else, Luis has struggles. For instance, he is very shy and doesn’t like to go out in public. Even going to the grocery store feels like torture to him. So I brought him to last summer’s social skills camp.

This program encouraged my son to socialize and interact with people in the world. The camp also allowed him to play with the other children. I would like to thank the staff at Children’s Village for treating our family with respect. My husband and I do not speak English, but the Village still gave us the hospitality we needed. I am grateful for all that you do.

-Luis’s mom

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View from my shoes

By Ciara Hansen, Children’s Village intern

My name is Ciara Hansen, and I am a recent graduate of Naches Valley High School. In the past four years, I have been a reporter for Unleashed, a high school journalism program. Unleashed publishes teens’ stories, photos, and artwork in the Yakima Herald-Republic.  Being a member of this team has enhanced my writing and taught me new interviewing skills. This summer, I am interning at Children’s Village, where I will use these abilities to write articles for blogs and newsletters. I believe that my past experiences will also give me a unique advantage in telling the Village’s stories and developing a greater understanding of its families.

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At the age of three, I was diagnosed with autism; autism was something that people were just becoming aware of during this time. My parents did extensive research to help me overcome my challenges. Determined to work through the process with me, my family used holistic and traditional methods. My parents also made sure that I interacted with people and was introduced to my surroundings. Without language, I found it difficult to convey my emotions. It wasn’t until kindergarten when I learned to talk and finally began to explore the world around me. Even then, I still had room to grow.

My parents collaborated with teachers and paraprofessionals to help me both socially and academically. In school, I struggled with reading and math. Comprehending a story or set of instructions was one of my weaknesses. Years of tutoring and guidance from my family and teachers eventually led to academic improvement. As a result, special education and paraprofessionals were no longer required for me. Starting in fifth grade, I moved to general education. Since then, I became studious and driven. It was important for me to improve. This helped me succeed in middle and high school.

Socializing with others was another obstacle. Due to limited communication in primary school, I often felt out of place and judged by my classmates. I kept to myself at school and was quiet and shy. In the end, my fear of rejection had created a wall between me and my peers. By the time I was in high school, this had changed. Getting involved in extracurricular activities such as Unleashed, National Honor Society, and choir allowed me to meet people with common interests. My loved ones have also showed me that autism is a small part of who I am, not who I am entirely. In fact, autism has made me a stronger person and has given me the chance to develop my own perspective. Still, I have my struggles and personal insecurities, but I take it one day at a time.

In my sophomore year, I did a story for Unleashed about Children’s Village’s services and autism resources. As I interviewed Parent to Parent coordinator Tracie Hoppis, she asked me to talk about my autism experiences at the annual Views from My Shoes presentation. Giving hope to families of autism made me realize that there are people who accept me as I am. I also saw how my story could inspire others. Feeling empowered by the Village, I chose to do my senior project there by leading its November and March teen clubs. I was invited to speak at Views from My Shoes again this past spring. I was honored to return to the Views from My Shoes panel. I was also invited to the Yakima Autism Community Symposium at ESD-105 on August 11-12. I am looking forward to speaking at this event and sharing my experiences with the community.

I am also excited to attend Central Washington University this fall. At CWU, I intend to major in Elementary Education, and graduate with a Bachelor’s of Arts degree. Going to college will build my skills for my career, my independence, and ability to help others in the future.  I have always been passionate about working with children. Volunteering at Children’s Village has given me confidence in my leadership skills and ability to connect with others.

I can’t wait to give back through this wonderful internship.  Writing articles about the Village will help give it the credibility that it deserves in the Yakima Valley. Because the Village’s families supported me with my story through Views from My Shoes, I am privileged to support them by telling their stories.


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Save the date! Yakima County Autism Symposium – Aug. 11-12

Save the date! Yakima County Autism Symposium – Aug. 11-12

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Parent to Parent’s Connection Newsletter

Read our latest newsletter >>

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Nutrition Classes for families of Children’s Village

Beginning on June 26th, Washington State University will be holding FREE nutrition classes for families of Children’s Village (9 classes total). These classes will teach participants how to eat healthier, read food labels, make quick, healthy meals and much more. Those that attend will also receive FREE take-home items, FREE food samples, and a Certificate of Graduation!

Classes will be held every Friday night from 6:30-8:30pm in “Barn A” at Children’s Village.


For more information contact:

Felix Espinoza, Nutrition Educator  EFNEP

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Run Your ACE Off!

Your local ACE Hardware and Les Schwab Tires are sponsoring the upcoming “Run Your Ace Off” 5K Walk/Run to support local miracles around our Valley.

Proceeds from this event benefit the Neo-Natal Intensive Care Unit and Pediatric Department at Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital, as well as programs and services at Children’s Village, which serves Central Washington children with special health care needs and their families.

Memorial is one of 170 nonprofit Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals that treat severely injured and ill children in the U.S. and Canada.

Date: Saturday, June 27th
Where: ACE Hardware Distribution Center – 7702 Duffield Road, Moxee

Time: Registration at 8:00am and the Walk/Run starts at 9:00am

To register please print out the form and waiver here and mail (with payment) to:

Carla Fickel

Ace Hardware RSC

7702 Duffield Road

Moxee, WA 98936

About Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals

Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals® raises funds for 170 nonprofit hospitals across North America to treat severely injured and ill children. When a donation is given it stays in the community, helping local kids. Since 1983, Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals has raised more than $4.4 billion, most of it $1 at a time. These donations have gone to support research and training, purchase equipment, and pay for uncompensated care, all in support of the organization’s mission to save and improve the lives of as many children as possible.

About Memorial Family of Services

Memorial Family of Services is the largest employer in Central Washington’s Yakima County, with some 2,500 employees who share the organization’s core purpose:  to inspire people to thrive. Memorial Family of Services includes Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital – a 226-bed, acute-care, nonprofit community hospital – as well as primary care practices and specialty care services, including high-quality cardiac care, a continuum of cancer care, nationally-recognized home health and hospice care, and advanced services for children with special health care needs. Visit Memorial online at yakimamemorial.org or on Facebook (www.facebook.com/yakimavalleymemorialhospital), Twitter (www.twitter.com/Yakima_Memorial) or Pinterest (www.pinterest.com/yvmh).


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Thank you for making Passion for the Village a success

Passion for the Village was held May 16th at Children’s Village in Yakima. The theme for this year’s event was Reflections of Joy and joy was definitely all around. Everyone enjoyed an evening with friends, old and new, who share a common passion and support for this special place in our Valley called Children’s Village.  Guests bid on silent auctions and live auction items to raise funds to support the many programs and services at Children’s Village. Decorated tables were throughout the lobby and Miracle Street and dinner was served by the YouthWorks council. Parents from Children’s Village were at the event, sporting t-shirts that said “Pound Parent of a Children’s Village Child.” These parents were more than willing to share their stories of  how important Children’s Village is for them and their family. Behind the scenes we had professional wait staff who volunteered their time to help the high school students; Ned Walsh from YV Tech Culinary School and Barbara from Zesta Cucina.

Following dinner was our second annual dessert auction and it was even more successful than last year!  Beautifully decorated and delicious desserts were donated and brought in over $23,000!  All of the proceeds will go to support our families of children with special needs.

We met our fundraising goal of  $75,000 and these funds will be used to provide more moments of joy for the children and families of Children’s Village.  The evening wouldn’t have been complete without the help from our YouthWorks Council, Friends of the Village, and the passionate families from Children’s Village that gave their time in helping to coordinate this amazing evening. And a special thank you to our wonderful emcees for the evening: Dave Hargreaves and Greg Loudon. Thank you!

We are so grateful this week as  families, employees and volunteers reflect on the wonderful evening that was certainly full of passion and joy for Children’s Village. If you weren’t able to join us on Saturday evening or didn’t have the chance to make a gift at Passion for the Village, you can still show your support by donating here.

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What is Passion for the Village?

The 6th annual Passion for the Village takes place Saturday, May 16, and we’re thrilled with the continued support this year! The event is nearly sold out, but the community is encouraged to join the passion for children’s health care services by making a donation and by supporting the many local businesses that are sponsoring this event. The goal this year is to raise $75,000 for Children’s Village!

We are so grateful for this year’s sponsors, which include: WSECU, KDF Architecture, John L. Scott Foundation, Cintas, Allan Bros. Inc., Banner Bank, Hyatt Family Facilities, Kershaw Companies, Key Bank, Les Schwab Tires, Monson Fruit Company, MT Housing, Poppoff Inc., Rowe Farms, Seattle Children’s Hospital, Yakima Fruit and Cold Storage.

Donations can be made online at https://nc.memfound.org/makeyourdifference, by calling (509) 576-5794 or by mail: Passion for the Village Donation, The Memorial Foundation, 2701 Tieton Dr., Yakima, WA 98902.

What started as a project of high school students on the YouthWorks Council has grown and evolved with the passion of community members and parents for Children’s Village. The event is held at Children’s Village to allow guests an inside look at how their donation helps local children, and families attend to provide first-hand testimonies about what Children’s Village means to them.

The passion of the many families who volunteer to make this event possible are what make the event so unique. Dana Kovats has chaired the Passion for the Village Planning Committee. Read about her passion for Children’s Village here: http://childrensvillage.memfound.org/whats-passion.

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All Smiles

On Sunday April 26 pediatric dentists, pediatric dental residents, and staff from Children’s Village Pediatric Dentistry and ViewCrest Pediatric Dentistry provided dental screenings for Special Olympics athletes at the Yakima Regional Soccer Tournament as part of Special Smiles, the oral health component of Special Olympics.smile

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Children’s Village presents Transition to Adulthood Fair

2015 Transition Fair Flyer

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