We recently had the honor of working with a family of five; an Army veteran, his (also Army veteran) spouse and caregiver, and their 3 minor children.
The caregiver originally reached out to us for assistance finding activities for her three young children. She felt that they have had to sacrifice so much because of her and her husband’s service to our country. She was concerned that her kids are not spending time around kids their age because they spend so much time at the VA during their dad’s medical appointments. She wanted them to be able to participate in age appropriate activities and enjoy kid friendly things together as a family.
Our very own Family Support Coordinator Angie Pearce looked for local kid friendly activities that might fit the bill, and came across The Little Gym of Cranford. After a few rounds of phone tag, Angie sent an email inquiring about a possible military discount or donated services, and ultimately recieved the following from the owner – “Angie – In my opinion, life has gone on normally for most Americans while military families have sacrificed so much in wars like Afghanistan and Iraq. I am not old enough to recall WWII but I know families at home were asked to sacrifice and I think had a much more realistic view of the carnage of war. I would be willing to offer your organization a 50% discount off both our membership fee and class tuition”
This exchange captures so many things that Quality of Life Foundation believes: 1) Children of these wounded veteran families serve too. As this caregiver shared, even though these kids didn’t take an oath, they are affected every day by their parent’s service 2) The American public is ready and willing to help where they can. The kind and generous owner of The Little Gym never hesitated to step in and support this family. 3 ) The Quality of Life Foundation Family Support Coordinator role is the key. Angie took a simple wish: something fun for small kids to do, and researched options, followed through on possible leads and secured this wonderful outcome for the whole family. Please see their comments below:
In an email from the Caregiver:
“Good morning, wow we just did the little gym for [my daughter] and I have to say that was the best children’s class I’ve ever done! It was amazing! The activities they did with the kids were great! And she made some new great little friends and I was able to meet other mothers, which was so refreshing!!!!!! …….. – I’m so glad you found this place. Just from that one class my child came out 10″ different! She made some little friends her age other than her siblings and I got to speak to other mothers, even a mother who also has a husband who was wounded in a deployment.
[My son] did his first class today. He was shy at first but by the end of the class he ran out laughing. He gave me a hug and said thank you momma thank you and he even hugged the instructor. He had a blast! Thank you!”