Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Ann Arbor paper recognizes a local hero

This is from Ann Arbor Family, a free local advertising paper that features stories about people and events in the Ann Arbor area. Stephanie is one of my own personal local heroes from Just Us Club, a non-profit organization that provides after school care, an adult activity program, and respite care  for  children and adults with moderate to severe disabilities.

 Special needs Helping Heroes by Nan Bauer:

Stephanie Swain 
Program Director for the Just Us Club

Coming from an Ypsilanti family of 11 kids, Stephanie Swain realized early on that she had a heart for childcare. A Special Ed teacher by day at the High Point School in Ann Arbor, Stephanie’s the program director for the Just Us Club, an after school option open to any students with disabilities who can function in a group setting. “We have a huge range of kids here: cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, Down syndrome, autism spectrum,” she says. “We have a pretty unstructured program, because the kids want to relax after a day at school, so we play games, do art, and we have music therapy once a week.” She also offers respite care, giving parents some precious free time while she hangs out with the kids. Even with her jam-packed schedule, she’s found time to continue her education and is on the verge of receiving her master’s degree and gearing up for a PhD. “I’m super passionate about helping parents understand their kids’ behaviors,” she says. “If I can help alleviate some of the anxiety that parents can feel when their child has a meltdown or just acts up in an extreme way, the environment gets better for the whole family.”

Learn more about the  Just Us Club at justusclub.org/contacts.html

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