Respite & Social Club
In 2006 our family moved from our home in Oregon to the East Bay.
We have two sons, and at the time our youngest, Yaakov, had been diagnosed with Pediatric Bipolar Disorder. He was four years old. His behaviors were out of control. He punched me, he pushed me down the stairs, and even tried to jump out of the car.
We were new to the area and didn’t know anyone, but still we tried to get help from agencies around the Bay Area. We found nothing that could help us.
Over time, Yaakov’s diagnosis was changed from Bipolar Disorder to Asperger’s. I spent hours in speech, occupational and physical therapy.
Every day I was fighting to get my son services and dealing with his explosive behavior at home. I was alone, isolated, and exhausted. There were days I felt Yaakov would either kill me or the other way around.
I felt like I had nothing to look forward to, and no one to help me.
After one particularly bad day, I hit the floor crying. But in that low point I realized that I wasn’t the only mother struggling out there. I could be the one who makes the change. I knew I badly needed a break from our daily life. We knew so few people in the area, and had been unable to get help anywhere. What’s more, I was afraid to leave my son with someone else. I knew the potential was there for him to get physical and possibly hurt someone.
That night as I lay in bed, I realized that our family’s entire focus was on Yaakov’s needs – getting him hours of therapy, and encouraging social growth. We as a family were so lost in caring for Yaakov, we weren’t meeting our oldest son’s needs, my own needs, or my husband’s needs.
It was then I realized we were all in need.
And I saw a way that our lives could make a difference to so many in the community.
I decided to create the program my family so desperately needed but could not find.
I designed a respite program offering a three hour break to families who had children with special needs. I called it All in Need. My goal was to incorporate the hours of therapy into a respite program. While the child was in our care we would work on fine motor, gross motor, sensory, speech and so much more. I turned the fun activities we were given to do at home to support Yaakov into a critical component of the respite events we were offering.
All in Need started as a children’s ministry program through our church. But it soon became apparent that the age restriction didn’t allow us to reach enough families in the community.
In 2011 we decided to move towards becoming a nonprofit agency. Now All in Need serves families of children with special needs aged 18 and under. We offer respite and social events to children and their families. No matter the event, the child is having fun and working on areas of their lives in which they may be struggling. And their parents get a much-needed break. That break maybe a nap, a date with their spouse, or time alone with a sibling. It gives them a chance to regroup and breathe, so they can come back refreshed and enjoy their children.
In the years since we moved here, our lives have changed.
As a family we have grown stronger. Our challenges have changed as well. Austin, our oldest son, was recently diagnosed with Psoriasis and ADHD. At the same time, Yaakov (now going into 6th grade) had his first successful year in mainstream class. But, as parents of our amazing kids we will sit through hours of IEPs and therapies to support our children to help them become the young men they were designed to be.