This week’s blog is written by Liz Stapleton, who volunteers in the KidsPoint team as the Special Needs Coordinator.
March 3rd, 2010, a day my life would be forever changed. My daughter, Lily, was born and she was diagnosed with Down syndrome. I wasn’t sure at the time what the future would hold, but with God by our side, a few surgeries, specialists, hospital stays and a medical diagnosis it has been an incredible journey. Fast forward to 2014, we moved from North Carolina to Charlottesville and a couple of years later Lily was also diagnosed with Autism. This was hard for me to process at the time, but we have worked through and continue to work through the challenges she faces every day.
We had been looking for a church and visited a few, but they were not a fit for our family, especially Lily. This was a challenging time; because as a Christian I wanted a church community, but as special needs parent I also needed to know that Lily would be ok. We visited The Point one Sunday and Lily hit another child. I really enjoyed the service, but at the same time didn’t know if it could be a place for Lily. How could I explain sensory related issues, Down syndrome, and Autism? The next day a lady from Kids Point reached out. She said, “We want The Point to be a place for your whole family and want to provide a one-on-one Buddy for Lily.” I knew at that time The Point was a place we could call home.
The Point has been such an amazing witness in our lives of Christ’s love for everyone and I really wanted to serve, but struggled with what God was calling me to do. As a special needs parent, routine and structure is important. How could I serve and keep Lily’s routine the same? I was invited to attend a special needs interest meeting at The Point and in that meeting I realized this is it – this is what God is calling me to do. I knew in that moment that God wanted me to help other special needs families feel welcome at The Point, the same way that God provided for our family.
I am so excited to be a part of the special needs Buddy program and to be able to provide one-on-one care for individuals with special needs. This is a ministry that helps families just like ours call The Point home and is a welcoming environment for all individuals of different abilities. The buddy program includes a one-on-one Buddy, a sensory break space, and working with special needs families to show the love of Christ.
If you are interested in being a part of this ministry, please contact Liz Stapleton at 828-260-7815 or firstname.lastname@example.org.