Kendall is an important person to talk about. One of the reasons this organization was founded was Kendall’s struggles with visiting a typical salon or barber shop. His mom mentioned that she had to cut his hair when he was sleeping. Kendall is an amazing kiddo and his mom, Rhea,  answered some questions for us so we could get to know Kendall and his unique story.

LTL: What are three things you love about Kendall?

Rhea: I love Kendalls spirit. He is happy 95% of the time. He’s happiness is contagious. I love that Kendall is in love with learning. He enjoys learning new things in school. And will do his work willingly (on a good day of course).
I love Kendall’s love for our family. His love for sister, dad, and I is true, and evident.

LTL: What is currently a struggle?

Rhea: Our current struggle with Kendall is his behavior. I struggle sometimes, more so than Dad. He doesn’t understand that things can’t always be immediate, or the way that he’d like them to be.

LTL: When did you first suspect Kendall had autism?

Rhea: I first suspected autism around 2 years of age. But by the age of 1, I already knew that he was different. I had Kendall examined at 3 years old. It was at that time that he was diagnosed.

LTL: What advice do you have for people who are unfamiliar with autism?

Rhea:  The advice that I have for people who are unfamiliar with autism would simply be patience. All people that are on the spectrum are not the same. But if we care to take the time, and attempt to see how their brain works specifically (what makes them happy, sad, uncomfortable, angry, etc.), we’d all be better off. I truly believe this.

Rhea has some wonderful advice for people who are unfamiliar with autism. Every person is different, even those people with autism. Kendall has attended almost all of our Caring Cuts events, and he has demonstrated improvement with each visit. Hopefully these experiences will continue to assist him and visiting a salon or barber shop will no longer be a struggle. We are so thankful to have Kendall and his amazing family as part of our organization.

A Mission in Action

Although our mission statement guides program development, outreach, and fundraising; it is a broad umbrella. While keeping the organization grounded, it might leave some wondering, “What do they really hope to accomplish?”

One of our primary focuses will be on working with community partners to provide more community programs which are accessible to children with disabilities at low or no cost. For example, getting a haircut can often be an overwhelming experience for a child or the child’s family. Whether it is dealing with the variety of sensory experiences in a salon or managing to get a wheelchair in a typical environment, this otherwise ordinary task can be quite challenging.

Additionally, we hope to provide access to services that might otherwise be denied due to funding issues. For example, in the future, we hope to be able to provide scholarships for therapy services. We also hope to add to the already existing network of support groups and education outreach that exists for families of children with disabilities here in Tulsa and the surrounding area.

Roots that Run Deep

Our origin story is on the home page and, although brief, describes the basic beginnings of the organization. After deciding to pursue this non-profit, others were recruited to supplement areas of weakness and who have similar desires to volunteer and donate their time and expertise to a very worthwhile cause.

Establishing firm roots is a basic necessity to successfully achieving our mission. Our mission is to assist and empower children with disabilities and their families to lead informed well balanced lives by providing and facilitating connections to community resources, information provision, volunteer training and one on one and group programs.

Our first supporters and donors are also part of those roots and have already helped us pursue our mission. As the majority of the board are non-profit neophytes, it has proven to be impertinent to ask and accept help from those who know better. As part of our first blog series, we are going to not only provide information and biographies on our founding board members but also highlight some of the early donors to our project. We truly appreciate the support of our community!