The Unexpected Journey

Two years ago, our life’s journey took a different course. We had so looked forward to having a son, but when our son, Japheth, was diagnosed with Apraxia, we never imagined that on this journey we would have so many tears, laughter…a little bit of everything.
Our journey took us to beautiful places where we wanted to stay, but we had to continue on. On our course, we’ve seen very lonely and rainy landscapes, and on occasion we have even gotten a “flat tire”. We’ve encountered people who only stop to stare at us, or point; but there have also been people who provided a hand to help us repair the “flat tire”. We have placed a lot of effort into reaching our final destination.
The Children’s Village Parent to Parent and Holland support groups have been a big part of our experience. They have helped us understand that we are not alone and that none of this is our fault. They have helped strengthen us as parents. We have met more families like us…we are not alone!
We want to encourage other parents who may be unsure of what direction to take; they may have doubts about asking for help. But I encourage you to reach out.
And while you are on this journey of raising a child with special needs, if you happen to see someone else with a “flat tire” in their life, think about helping them, instead of pointing a finger!
— As translated by Maria Pulido for Imelda Ortiz (photo attached)

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Children’s Village 4th Annual Buddy Walk…

An invitation from Melia…. Peach’s mom!

Come out to Buddy Walk and support family, friends and loved ones with Down syndrome!  This is a great way to get our community together to celebrate differences!  People with Down syndrome have beautiful spirit’s, personalities and are full of love! They are really just like everyone else. Our community needs more unconditional love and that is exactly what people with Down syndrome (and other disabilities!) emanate.  Come join the fun!!!

~Melia is proud mom to Peach and Coral.  Peach is 3 years old and has Down syndrome.  She is a compassionate, warm little girl with lots of spunk, a dash of sass and a whole lot of energy!! 

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4th Annual Children’s VillageBuddy Walk®

The Buddy Walk is an easy walk around the Children’s Village campus to celebrate people with Down syndrome! This year, we’ll offer two walking paths: a short, easy walk and a longer endurance walk (which is less than 1/2 mile).

Children and individuals with special needs will receive Buddy Walk medals upon completion of the walk. We welcome children and individuals with Down syndrome, family members, friends, neighbors and the community!
Saturday, October 13, 2018
10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Children’s Village 3801 Kern Road, Yakima

Learn more »

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New Early Childhood Video Explains Services and Supports for Ages 3-6

Transitioning from birth-to-three services into the school system comes with a series of changes for you and your child. Be prepared for not one, but several transitions-from early intervention services, to developmental preschool, then on to kindergarten and first grade.

Navigating Your Way: Ages Three to Six is the second in a series of videos that provides a bird’s eye view of services, supports and resources for every stage of life.

Click here to watch the video and download a list of resources for ages 3-6.

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Miracle Child 2018

Ryan Jr was the miracle child for the 2018 Mr. East Valley Pageant, helping to bring disability awareness and understanding to others.  Jr is 5 and was diagnosed on the autism spectrum with Asperger’s syndrome.  Autism is a developmental disorder that affects an individual’s social skills, behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication. He attends East Valley developmental preschool and his favorite things are Magic School Bus, Play-Doh and Legos!   

After Jr was diagnosed the family attended the Holland group at Children’s Village, which is an eight-week program for parents with a child who has been diagnosed with any kind of disability. This group was very helpful for the family to receive the support they needed as they were going through the process of understanding and accepting Jr’s diagnosis.

Jr’s , mom said, “We’ve found that Children’s Village is a great place and has a variety of services all under one roof.  If you ask Jr it’s the ‘fun house’!  If it weren’t for Children’s Village, we would have been forced to seek services out of town, which would have added more of a financial burden to the already costly care.  Children’s Village is truly a blessing for our family and for our community.”

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Girls Social Group at Children’s Village

Through the Behavior Assessment Team at Children’s Village, the Girls Social Group has been a unique experience for four girls to go from being shy to supporting each other and speaking their minds. The goal for the group is to provide a safe place for girls to learn how to share their thoughts, build friendships, learn about their emotions, hygiene, and coping in anxious situations, and how to understand others’ perspective.
As a group, several difficult situations were identified and explored for solutions and adaptive techniques were taught.

An achievement from the session was how willing all of the girls were in sharing their thoughts with one another and how supportive they were. It was incredible to see two girls build a strong bond because they both felt like an outcast. By the end of the group, they had become best friends. One participant commented that, “I love coming to the group, I learn in a fun way, and my parents get to spend time with me after the group. It is a day for me, only me.”

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I found a treasure!  by Beth Palmer 

Eighteen years ago I received a call from Tracie at Children’s Village asking if I would reach out to a new mom whose son had Down syndrome.  I guess you could say it was the beginning of a “beautiful friendship”.  As corny as that may sound, it is so very true.

Having a baby with special needs can be overwhelming.  The emotions that race through 

you can take over and the responsibilities that fill every waking moment can make you crazy.  I experienced that myself and was so grateful to be able to reach out to another mom and try to help her through when she found herself in the same position.

Megan and I would never have been friends had we not been blessed with our sons JJ and John.  We lived in very different worlds with very different interests, but through the years we have become the best of friends; at times we have fought for each other, laughed until we cry at ourselves and our sons, complained about inequalities and watched each other’s backs.  I have shown Megan the fun in a sledding party with bonfire and hot dogs, and she has taught me what the beginnings of a blue ribbon sweater looks like when she starts to knit it.  As a teacher at our boys’ high school, she keeps me up to date on all the important events and news.  I do all the driving to the boys’ sporting events with Special Olympics, because she hates to drive.

You cannot put a price on something like a friendship and as I look back 18 years, I think of the call I got from Tracie and I am so grateful that she made it.  I am also grateful for everything Parent to Parent and Children’s Village has offered this community and our family.  I am so grateful for my dear friend, Megan.

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Cherished Memories of Mr. West Valley Pageant 2018

We cannot express how important the Mr. West Valley pageant is to our family. My father-in-law, Dennis Cline walked on stage with Tanner as his hero. Tanner was able to give his hero tribute in front of hundreds of friends and family before he was crowned Mr. West Valley 2018. Sadly, on Friday, March 9, Dennis passed away suddenly. The joy that the entire event brought to our family, including all of the funds all the boys raised for Children’s Village, the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, and pediatrics, mean more to us than anyone could ever imagine.

Our whole family cherishes the Mr. West Valley pageant even more since it was like a final good bye to our father, grandfather and great grandfather. Tanner understands what a gift it was to be able to tell his grandfather how he felt on the stage that night. Most people don’t get to say good bye in such a meaningful way, even though we didn’t know it was good bye at that moment.

Having our niece, Amaya, be Tanner’s child buddy in the pageant as well was very special to our entire family.  Amaya is a Children’s Village kid who has grown, developed, and blossomed because of so many of the programs and therapies she has received at Children’s Village.

Decades ago my in-laws lost a premature daughter. Knowing the Virginia Mason Memorial Neonatal Intensive Care Unit facilities, programs and caregivers are available for Yakima and the surrounding region is truly a gift.

We are honored to share our little part of the big story that is Virginia Mason Memorial, the YouthWorks program through The Memorial Foundation, and the Mr. West Valley pageant. Thank you for letting our entire family be a part of such a wonderful event.


Kristine Cline

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Becoming Olivia’s mom and finding Children’s Village 

When I found out I was pregnant and that it would be a high risk pregnancy – I was shocked. For the first time in my life I couldn’t plan for the future because I didn’t know what to expect and this led to a lot of fear and anxiety. I questioned myself – What did I do wrong? What could I have done better?

At 20 weeks, we found out Olivia had Intrauterine Growth Restriction – IUGR for short – which means she wasn’t growing at the normal rate.  At 30 weeks, we found out the IUGR was due to a restriction in Olivia’s umbilical cord and it was getting worse. There was a possibility Olivia wouldn’t survive.  We were admitted at UW Medical Center in Seattle so I could be on bed rest and Olivia could be monitored.

Olivia was born weighing 3 pounds, 12 ounces and measuring in at about 17 inches. There was a room full of doctors when Olivia came into the world and all I heard was silence. I remember asking – “Why isn’t she crying? What’s wrong?” Olivia wasn’t breathing. She was quickly given oxygen, and after what felt like an eternity, she finally let out a tiny cry. I was only able to hold my tiny newborn for a few minutes before she was taken to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

Two-and-a-half years later we still don’t have a lot of answers. We are learning as we go. What we do know is that Olivia suffered a brain injury while I was pregnant, which could be the reason for her global motor delay – she also has hearing loss, impaired vision due to optic nerve hypoplasia, hypothyroidism, and requires a feeding tube to eat because she can’t swallow very well on her own.

After Olivia was released from UW Medical Center I was told Children’s Village would be contacting me about services – sure enough, within days of being home, Gretchen, our Family Resource Coordinator, contacted me about the birth to three program and the services Olivia could receive.

I was surprised to hear there was a place like this in Yakima. As a brand new mom taking care of a newborn with special needs, I was lost and I really thought we would be on this journey alone, but Children’s Village became our guide.

I worked with Gretchen to come up with a plan for services and within weeks we had therapists coming to our house working with Olivia – a speech therapist to work on getting Olivia to take food by mouth, an occupational therapist to help her build strength in her upper body so she could tolerate tummy time and hold her head up, sign language to expose her to another form of communication due to her hearing loss and physical therapy to help her build strength in her lower body so she can learn to crawl, stand, and one day walk.  It’s been a difficult journey, but the therapy and resources Olivia receives from the Village is what has contributed to her success.

It wasn’t too long ago that I agonized over the thought that my baby girl may never be able to look at me and smile, hold her head up, touch my face, grab my hand, roll over or sit in my lap – things most families take for granted – but Olivia has accomplished all of these major milestones and more and continues to grow and develop, thanks to the Village and our amazing team of therapists. 

Children’s Village has become a part of our family – they not only provide support for Olivia, but for me and my husband. Through the Parent to Parent program we have been connected with families who have children with similar issues. 

When  you donate to Children’s Village, know that you are giving to more than just services – you’re providing a place we can call home – a family we can relate to – and an invaluable resource we rely on to help our children succeed.

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Yakima Symphony at Children’s Village

Join us for a summer concert at Children’s Village and a special opportunity to hear the musical talents of Yakima Symphony Orchestra Music Director Lawrence Golan and his daughter, Giovanna.

The performance will be on Tuesday, June 19, 3:30 pm, at Children’s Village, 3801 Kern Rd, Yakima. Maestro Lawrence Golan will perform a special mini-recital and visit with children, families and community supporters of Children’s Village.

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