Way to go, Manny!

2017-mannyManny recently enjoyed celebrating his birthday and actually ate some of his birthday cake!  This was a big accomplishment for Manny and cause for celebration for him and his family.

Thanks to the occupational therapy services he has received at Children’s Village, Manny has experienced several successes this past year.

Manny was born at only 26 weeks, weighing in at a tiny 2 lbs. 5 oz.  As a newborn, he received early intervention services at Children’s Village to help his developmental delays.  But then when he was six months old he had a serious lung issue and was rushed to the hospital with trouble swallowing and respiratory failure.  He survived this health crisis but needed a g-tube inserted into his stomach so that he could take in nutrition.  Since that time, Manny has been coming to Children’s Village to work with an occupational therapist to gain interest in eating solid food.  Manny thinks he is just coming to the Village to play, but actually he is gaining food acceptance and learning vital eating skills.

When he first started the therapy, he could not tolerate food textures and really had trouble transitioning from the feeding tube to eating by mouth.  With his therapist, he works on sensory therapy and acceptance of different food textures.

Recently Manny went to his mom and said, “tummy hungry”, and asked for food.  A real milestone!  He is touching different textures and has more acceptance of food.  His therapist has also helped his parents make changes and adjustments at home to help Manny to eat.

Today, we are happy to report that Manny is eating and doing great.  And, he’s enjoying his birthday cake!


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Jared’s Incredible Water Balloon Launcher!

Jared is learning to greet strangers, shake hands, look people in the eyes, and his therapist, Susanna, at Children’s Village is very proud of his progress. Jared lives in a world of the Autism Spectrum which makes daily interactions with people, especially strangers, scary and difficult.

jaredLast June as the school year ended, Susanna asked Jared what would excite and motivate him? His answer: a super-powered water balloon launcher! At that same time, a business nearby Children’s Village asked if their employees could take on a volunteer project to benefit the kids being served. Aha! The Morgan Stanley team lead by Sonia, Business Service Manager (and engineered by her neighbor) Jared’s Incredible Water Balloon launcher came to life!

On the hottest day of the year, we were taken to Susanna’s therapy room where she had been prepping Jared to being introduced to a crowd of strangers who would witness his first launch. There was no shyness, no reservations, just a firm handshake from a boy who was bursting with excitement to finally get to see those balloons sail! Outside we all walked where the launcher lay ready. And sail, they did! His grandmother stood by proudly, marveling at her usually quiet grandson as he enthusiastically pulled waaaaayyyy back, and WHOOOOSHHHHHH! KERSPLATTT! HOORRRAAAYYY!!! Further and further his water balloons flew and hit with a satisfying explosion of water and vapor in the hot air.

Susanna has found the launcher to be a “super fun therapy tool this summer.” She also added that “we have brought it out on the last day of the Girls’ Group and for other individual therapies where it has worked it’s magic to motivate or win over kids who need something a little out of the ordinary to do their work this summer.”

Jared’s water balloon launcher is a wonderful example of how one boy’s dream was fulfilled by a dedicated and creative therapist, a group of community business partners wishing to give back, a stranger with a little PVC pipe and rubber tubing, and a village.

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Children’s Village Test Flight

Group Picture in front of the plane DSCN0128 DSCN0168 DSCN0117 DSCN0041 DSCN0062On Saturday, July 16th 23 Children’s Village kids and siblings participated in an amazing experience at the Yakima Airport. Alaska Airlines gave the children and their families the experience of departing, boarding and of course waiting for the plane to arrive.

The children began with walking through the doors and standing in line to receive their tickets. They then found the line for the TSA check. The children had to remove all metal (belts, watches and phones) and their shoes, then walk through the scanner. Once through the scanner the children played a game we all play when taking a flight, the waiting game. The kids colored airplanes to help pass the time.

This event gave parents and children the opportunity to see how their child would react in an airport setting. Giving the parents an opportunity to see what “tools” their children may need to fly. One of the best parts of this event was having the children wait for the plane to land, increasing their level of patience. Many of these families have never been on a plane or even to an airport.

Once the plane landed the children gathered in another line and waited to board. We had a few of our children that use wheelchairs and they were able to experience how a wheel chair user would board a plane.

After everyone was on board and seated, they closed the doors and started the engines. The Flight attendants were amazing, they gave the full show of exits, food options, and other required information given before every take off.

Next, to the children’s surprise, we began to taxi the run way. The children got to feel what it was like to sit in a moving airplane. After we arrived back at the terminal the children continued to show proper and respectful plane etiquette and de-boarding procedure.

We would like to extend a huge thank you to the staff at Yakima Airport, Alaska Airlines, Horizon Air and TSA for their time and support. This was an experience the children and their parents will never forget and has opened up a great opportunity for families to travel.


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Cabela’s Camp Day

Wednesday, July 20th, the children spent part of the day at the Central Washington Agricultural Museum in Union Gap. The children got to hop in a trolley towed behind a tractor and a tour of all the real authentic farm equipment, learning about the types of tools and devices used throughout the Yakima Valley in its history of farming.

It created the best discussions! To have settled in the area way back when, and not have the conveniences we have today. You could never be sick or take a vacation. I mean, who would take care of the animals and the farm? They had equipment from Rimrock Lake, old apple sorting lines, trucks, tractors, hay balers, wooden wheels, and more.

Cabela's Kids ClubEach child got multiple turns at shooting the arrows at these floating balls, which were actually quite difficult to hit. The children had fun perfecting their archery skills.

After making fox masks at the arts and crafts table, the children got to enjoy eating hotdogs and having messy, delicious s’mores!

For the few brave souls, there was an opportunity to take a picture sitting in the saddle of a real horse. It was a great day at a beautiful location having fun with friends. A huge thank you to Cabela’s and the Central Washington Ag Museum for helping to make our day so unique and memorable!

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Comic Con at Children’s Village

Ruby n Disney FiguresComic Con was a smashing success!  Children from Children’s Village came in costumes, ranging from their favorite hero, villain, princess or movie character. Some children were painted from head to toe, a myriad of capes and masks filled the barn.

The stations were as different as the kid’s costumes. There was a table filled with Pokemon figures and binders full of cards, which the children got to flip through and ask experts what each character was. Next to that was a table covered in different figurines from Disney movies including Zootopia, Finding Dory, all the Princesses, Star Wars, and more.

Lanie n PokemonThere was a table laden with action figures from the DC and the Marvel Universe, which the children got to play with. Making them crash and bash into each other was an exciting part of the c omic con. The Lego area was one of the most popular tables, where children could sit down and build and create whatever they wanted. The kid’s got to experience what POGS were and how the game was played. At the craft table, they created superhero puppets and made their own comic books.

By far the coolest attraction had to be the Cosplayers from Nerdfest Northwest (people who dress up in costumes for the fun of it!)  There was a Storm Trooper, Obi Wan Kinobi, a Ghost Buster, and more. Almost every child wanted a picture with at least one of them and held their props, which lit up and made sounds. The children were fascinated by the real life characters.

We here at Children’s Village would like to extend an enormous thank you to the volunteers and to those who let us borrow their awesome collectables.Coven n Comic BookNevaeh n BriellePhillip n Draco

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Many thanks to our local Toys “R” Us!

Group Photo Toys R Us
Last Wednesday was an amazing, first time experience for more than a dozen of our kids and their siblings. The Staff at the Toys ‘R’ were gracious enough to open their doors before hours and allow our children in.

The children got to experience firsthand what it is like work at a toy store. The children began by heading to the storage room in the back, accompanied by staff members and gathered items/ toys, then took them back into the store floor and found their appropriate shelves and pegs.

IMG_3780Probably one of the favorite and most enjoyed jobs they had was the sorting of ALL the stuffed animals, they ooed and awed with every new soft, furry animal they picked up and pushed into the shelves. They continued to show one another and the staff the different animals with enormous smiles on their faces.

Next, they got  the opportunity to be tellers behind the register. Each child grabbed an item from the store and brought it back to the register, then rang each item up, before putting them back in their correct locations. The children were beyond jazzed to physically scan each items that they kept their receipts to show everybody that they ran the register!

The next station was the building of bicycles. The children got the hands on experience of putting a bike together. Without skipping a beat the children all huddled over a bike frame and began to assemble it piece by piece, working together with one another and the staff to bring the bike to sell ready standards.

IMG_3775After every child had been through each station the Toys ‘R’ Us staff gave every child and mentor a Toys ‘R’ Us T-shirt, amongst the sea of blue there was an abundance of cheerful smiles.

We at the Village would like to extend a huge Thank You out to Ryan Klopfer and his amazing team at Toys ‘R’ Usfor being so positive and welcoming to the children and showing them “the ropes” at the store.

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Yakima Symphony at Children’s Village

Join us for a summer concert!

4:00 pm

Thursday, August 18

Children’s Village Community Room

Yakima Symphony Conductor Lawrence Golan will perform a special mini-recital and visit with children, families, and community supporters of Children’s Village.

Enter to win a drawing for a pair of tickets to the

Yakima Symphony Orchestra Classical Series.

If you have any questions or would like additional information, please contact MaryLynne Brewington at 509.574.3209 or marylynnebrewington@yvmh.org


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Register early for this year’s Children’s Village Buddy Walk!

The Buddy Walk is an easy walk around the Children’s Village campus to celebrate people with Down syndrome!  There will also be information and entertainment!  Children and individuals with special needs will receive Buddy Walk medals upon completion of the walk.

October 15, 2016 at Children’s Village (3801 Kern Rd., Yakima) from 10 am – 12 pm

Early Registration (by August 15)

Individual ($5)

Team ($25)

Late Registration (August 16 and later)*

Individual ($10)

Team ($30)

*Late registrants are not guaranteed a medal


Please register online here >>

If you have questions or need further information please contact Parent to Parent at Children’s Village- 574-3200 / 800-745-1077



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Thank you Junior League of Yakima!

jlThe Children’s Village therapy pool tile is now a bit brighter – all thanks for this effort goes to the Junior League! The team scrubbed hard water stains from tile around the pool earlier last month. This service project was full of elbow grease!

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Building Friendships Creating Community

melindaChildren’s Village Support:

Building Friendships Creating Community

By Melinda Davis

The day the doctor suggested our daughter Wapasha may have Down Syndrome was a day full of many mixed emotions.  I went from feeling complete happiness of meeting our daughter to feeling surprised, sad, and then followed by guilt and fear.  I was scared of the unknown.  In that moment, I went from seeing my baby as a baby…to seeing my baby with “Down syndrome.”  I loved her with all my heart and didn’t feel good about myself for thinking that when I looked at her.  I didn’t want these thoughts robbing this special time with my baby.  I felt so guilty about the uncertainty I was feeling.  The hospital offered to have a person from the Children’s Village come to see us.  Even though I was surrounded by people who loved us, I already felt as if nobody close to me could possibly understand what I was feeling.  I had all these thoughts stuck in my head.  Then Tracie, a representative from the Children’s Village Parent to Parent office, came to visit me.  She also had a son with special needs and could relate to what I was feeling at that moment.  Most importantly, she told me our daughter was beautiful and that everything was going to be okay.  Everything I was feeling was NORMAL!  I was not the first new mom in this place and we were certainly not alone.  She offered me a “Parent Match” which put me in touch with a mommy who also had a child with Down syndrome.

I remember the day Nadia came to see me.  I was nervous.  I had so many questions.  This was my 5th child and I thought it would be a familiar walk in the park when I came to deliver her.  But instead, I found myself in a situation I’ve never experienced before.  Would she have the answers I wanted?  Who is this mother, is she anything like me?  What if we don’t have anything in common….I wondered how her child was functioning, how had their lives been affected if at all since the diagnosis? What was her child like?  Nadia came in all smiles and very excited to meet us.  I’ll admit I sized her up a bit, but got right to the point of asking her what was her child like, after all that’s why she was here.  As if waiting for a cue, she immediately brought out some photos of her little girl.  Like any proud mother, she went on to tell me how awesome her daughter was while sharing just a few photos with me.  I think she was five at the time.  There she was in these photos….vibrant, smiling, laughing, playing with other children, with her brother, engaged with family, celebrating birthdays etc.  As far as I could tell it seemed life was fairly typical to what you would expect.  I asked her about crawling, walking, potty training, school, talking and anything else I could think of to ask. Her child reached these milestones when she was ready and she seemed confident ours would too.  I asked her about how she felt initially?  It turned out that most the feelings I was experiencing, she also experienced in some way.  Her faith was strong and I needed to be reminded of mine.  She did not seem to carry the weight of the fears I was holding at that time.  She told me it would get easier and that life will just fall back into place.  We adjust and go on.  I believed her.  I was still scared of the unknown, but meeting someone who was living it and seeing the photos of a happy little girl just being a 5 year old helped me so much.  I knew things would be okay. I felt hopeful.

Fast forward three years later, and Nadia and Tracie were right.  Wapasha is an absolute blessing and doing just fine.  She continues to reach her milestones on her own time.  I’ve gotten past “seeing” Down syndrome.  I just see our beautiful girl, her beautiful face and that silly personality!  Do I still worry?  Of course!  But, I’ve found that although we’ve had to experience hospital stays, still work with an Occupational Therapist, have IEPs and other situations we never had with her siblings, that our life has resumed mostly unaltered.  I am content.

I knew three years ago that when I was ready, I would want to help a new mother introduced to Down syndrome when she least expected it.  I knew I would want to bring that love and hope that Tracie and Nadia brought to me.  I would tell her that it’s natural to be scared and what she’s feeling is normal.  I would tell her these feelings get lighter with time.  I would tell her that it’s going to be okay and that she’s not alone.  I would tell her that her child is perfect and destined for greatness.  I would definitely show some photos!  This year I got the honor to be a “Helping Parent” in a parent match and I got to speak to a mommy who wanted to meet someone sharing this experience, and was a bit down the road in the journey.  Our experience wasn’t exactly the same, but we still had much in common.  I shared all those things I said I would.  We laughed and shared stories.  My desire was to pass some of the strength and hope given to me from the mommies before me and pass it on to this deserving mommy.  Together it is better, and I hope I did just that!  As she begins down this well beaten path creating her own trail, I want to thank you “Parent to Parent” for clearing the way!

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