Lifestyle

Non-profit helps Federal Way families with special needs children

Birth to Three Developmental Center focuses on helping infants and toddlers with developmental delays or disabilities, and also their families. - Courtesy of Birth to Three Developmental Center
Birth to Three Developmental Center focuses on helping infants and toddlers with developmental delays or disabilities, and also their families.
— image credit: Courtesy of Birth to Three Developmental Center's Facebook page

Birth to Three Developmental Center, a non-profit organization located at 35535 6th Place SW in Federal Way, focuses on helping infants and toddlers with developmental delays or disabilities, and their families.

The center's executive director, Maryanne Barnes, gave a brief presentation to the Federal Way City Council about the center's efforts in Federal Way and beyond.

"Birth to Three serves a great number of children," Barnes said at the council's Nov. 19 meeting. "We served 635 children last year. Last year, 288 of our children and families were from the Federal Way school district…231 of our kids lived in the city of Federal Way."

Outside of Federal Way, Birth to Three also serves clients in South King County and North Pierce County, Barnes noted.

Birth to Three, which receives funding from the city's Human Services department, is experiencing growth in these difficult times, Barnes said.

"So far, year-to-date, we have experienced a 15 percent growth," she said. "We provide services for infants and toddlers who have developmental delays and disabilities, and support services for families."

Barnes shared a letter from one of their client families, a family with a baby boy named Jack who was born with a cleft lip and palate. Thanks to Birth to Three, Jack's life has steadily improved in recent years.

"There were many days and nights where my husband and I feared for Jack's health and happiness," the letter said. "He was constantly getting hurt from lack of physical strength and balance. He screamed for hours because we didn't know how to communicate or soothe him as effectively as he desired. We enrolled in Birth to Three's physical, occupational and speech therapy services when Jack was six months old."

The letter touched on the fact that the family is supported only by the father's income, and that Jack's physical issues had accrued a vast amount of medical bills. Birth to Three was able to help in a variety of ways, according to the mother.

"We will be forever grateful to Birth to Three and all their financial support that they provided so families like ours can receive the gift of hope for the future," Barnes continued, reading from the mother's letter. "That is the greatest note I think I can share with you. I'm grateful for your support, and the families of Federal Way thank you."

Mayor Skip Priest returned the kindness, saying organizations like Birth to Three help make Federal Way a better place.

"This is a community that believes 'All means all.' Not only at the school district, but at the city as well. And the bottom line is, thanks to your help, that gives a lot of young men and women a chance to meet that criteria of 'All means all.' So, thank you very much, it is very much appreciated, the efforts of you and your organization."

To learn more about Birth to Three, visit www.birthtothree.org.

 

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