Stability + Positive Relationships = Success

Trae.jpg

While growing up, Trae remembers his family constantly moving. He and his five siblings changed schools each year as they tried to assimilate to their new surroundings. Adding to the uncertainty of this lifestyle, he recalls his parents were always arguing. When his parents separated, the stress of Trae’s home life weighed heavily on his relationships.

Trae was in constant conflict with his mother, when one day she told him to leave. Trae said, “I remember that vividly.” He made an attempt to go back home the next day and she seemed concerned about where he had slept. He said, “After that, I’d get kicked out all the time. Other than that first night, she wouldn’t even ask about where I had stayed.”

Continue reading

Caregivers need Support and Time to Recharge

Respite Story.jpg

Six years ago, Maggie, almost 90, left her own home to move near her daughter, Lynn, a community college teacher in northwestern Minnesota. Maggie had been living alone, was growing frail, and most friends and family near by had either moved or passed on.

“My mother is strong willed, a tough gal who doesn’t want help, doesn’t want to be beholden to anyone,” said Lynn. “I had suggested that she move near me for quite awhile. Finally, she decided it was her idea, and we moved her near me.”

Within months, Lynn realized Maggie’s needs were dominating her time and energy. Maggie had questions and worries. She had to be accompanied to doctor appointments, and needed help with household matters, and finances. It was stressful to reverse roles.

Continue reading

Providing Tools for Success

Kuhner1_vertical.jpg

Newborn Jack was found, laid on a bed of flowers. Nate was found in a desolate area. Both abandoned by their birth parents, they would spend more than a decade of their life in an orphanage.

Jack’s vision problems were so severely neglected, he was unable to see to complete his homework. Scoliosis plagues Nate’s body and he has never been able to dress and shower himself. The boys, living together in close quarters in the orphanage, found solace in one another. Nate would help Jack with his homework and Jack would shower and dress Nate. They were like brothers the way they’d bicker, play games together and look out for each other.

Continue reading

Confidence and Trust at Camp Knutson

IMG_2297_meghan_vertical.jpg

When Mona and Kurt Hjerpe brought their daughter, Meghan, to Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota’s Camp Knutson for the first time, they were a bit nervous. They hoped she would make friends, be alright without them and learn skills to enhance her independence.

But what was different for the Hjerpes from many parents, is that Meghan has Down syndrome. That meant that though they talked about camp, and Meghan was excited to go, they weren’t sure exactly how much she understood about being away from them for a week. As a teenager with a disability, Meghan had not experienced being on her own without her close-knit family nearby.

Camp Knutson partners with the Down Syndrome Foundation to provide summer camping experiences for young people with Down syndrome. Last year, Camp Knutson served over 1,000 campers with medical or developmental needs.

Continue reading