Letter: Parents as Advocates fall retreat for moms coming soon

By on September 24, 2009

There is something exciting I plan each fall and wanted to let my friends and family know about it. Many of you know that when Max was two, my friend Karol Peters and I started a support group for Kaneland-area parents who are raising children with disabilities.

We named the group Parents As Advocates, and we strive to help families become stronger in their roles as advocates for their children. We meet over breakfast at Papa G’s one Saturday morning a month to network, offer support and learn from guest speakers. We have social events throughout the year, and share information/resources via our e-mail group lists.

Four years ago I felt God put a great idea in my mind, so I went with it and PAA hosted its first-ever “Fall Retreat for Moms” over in the John Stewert Victorian Mansion in Elburn. It was a smashing success with 44 moms who are raising children with special needs in attendance. Now, fast forward to our fourth annual retreat. On Friday through Sunday, Oct. 16-19, Parents As Advocates is hosting an expanded two-night retreat for up to 75 area moms who have children with disabilities.

These ladies very rarely have the opportunity to get away on their own and focus on themselves. As you can imagine, mothering a child with special needs is a tremendous blessing, while at the same time, it is a challenge few can handle without some very trying times. Our mission is to provide these moms with an experience that will “recharge their batteries” and allow them to return to their families with a renewed sense of purpose and encouragement. Our theme this year is “Intermission from your Three Ring Circus”.

To make this retreat a success, we are leaning on others in the community for help. How can you help? I have some suggestions …

You could make a donation to our “Love Baskets.” Each mom will be surprised to receive a beautiful basket brimming with little goodies, gift certificates, products and coupons when she arrives at the retreat. No item is too small to be accepted for the baskets, and anything you feel you could contribute would be very much appreciated.

Or, you could make a donation to be given away as a door prize. For example, last year we had donations which included everything from house-cleaning gift certificates, to court-side Bulls tickets, to digital cameras, to Motorolla phones to dinner and movie gift certificates, and everything in between. Nothing is too small or too big.

If you frequent a business that provides a “pampering” service (manicure, hair styling, massage, etc.) you could let them know about our retreat and ask them to donate their time. We will have rooms set up where the moms can receive some free and much needed pampering. Most of these moms pamper themselves in this way either rarely or never, so you can imagine what an appreciated treat this will be for them. We are also seeking volunteers to come in and give manicures on Saturday afternoon from 4 to 5 p.m. Last year we had about 10 volunteers, and we need that many for this year too.

Another way to help is by making a monetary donation which would go toward giving scholarships to those moms who cannot afford the $170 registration fee. Raising a child with a disability entails an endless stream of expensive doctors, therapists and medications. There are several moms who would like to come but do not have the money to spend on themselves. A monetary contribution would allow us to include these deserving ladies. Thanks so very much to those of you who have already donated scholarships. The recipients were so thrilled.

Currently, we are about two-thirds full with 43 registered moms. If you know of someone who can benefit from this type of retreat, please have them contact me at capesfamily@verizon.net.

Thanks very much for all of your support in the past for Parents As Advocates. May you be richly blessed for it.

Carrie Capes
Maple Park