When Project Special Care in St. Augustine needed funding to deliver critically needed respite care for families who have children with disabilities, they turned to the Jacksonville Jaguars Foundation for help. The Foundation provided a $34,000 grant to create a scholarship fund for planned care and help during family emergencies.
The most important and positive impact of the Jaguars' support has been funds for immediate assistance for families in crisis. One mother of a wheelchair-bound daughter with multiple disabilities had to flee an abusive relationship. This mother used Project Special Care's respite services for her daughter, so she could search for a new job and new home.
Another family had their vehicle hit from behind by another car traveling at more than 60 miles per hour. The two children in the back seat, one of whom was disabled, were unharmed; however, Mom and Dad needed medical attention. Project Special Care provided daily care for the children during the parents' rehabilitation and recovery.
In a third instance, a foster mother who provides care for several young children, including a disabled teenage girl, suffered a hernia while helping the teen to her wheelchair. She needed immediate surgery and Project Special Care was able to provide care for all of the children during surgery and recovery.
Planned respite is also needed by many families. Personal care, recreational activities and social events for children with special healthcare needs takes time, energy, love and financial resources. The benefits can be seen on the smiling faces of some very special children. Many of these kids seldom have the chance to participate in community activities or socialize with peers. It is nearly impossible to find trained, capable, and specialized care givers at a moment's notice. Many children with special healthcare needs or behavioral challenges are dependent on a consistent daily routine of care. While their kids are at Project Special Care, parents get a much needed break and a chance to recharge their "batteries." Some fortunate families are funded to receive these types of services or have the personal means to pay for services. Many others are at the bottom of a long waiting list, without the financial means to pay for needed services.
Keeping families intact, improving quality of life and reducing potential for abuse and neglect are some of the goals achieved by Project Special Care because it is able to respond quickly with specialized care through the resources provided by the Jacksonville Jaguars Foundation. For more information on the Foundation's grant making program, go to the Foundation's page on jaguars.com, or call (904)633-KIDS.