Meet Rachel

Rachel’s smile is contagious. You can’t help but be energized when you’re around her.

Rachel’s mom Nakesha shares, “Matthew 13:8 comes to mind when I think about Special Kids. When you sow seed on good ground you reap a good harvest…Special Kids is good ground.” Rachel first started at Special Kids when she was 3-years-old. Now 11-years old, she is thriving at Special Kids. “While Rachel started at Special Kids when she was 3, when she was old enough to go into the public school system, we tried it but unfortunately it did not work out for Rachel to be there. The Lord put Special Kids back on my heart and I returned Rachel to Special Kids full-time when she was 9-years-old. Rachel was totally wheel-chair bound 2-years ago and I had to support all her weight 100% when moving her. Now, I can hold Rachel under her arms and she can walk to the bathroom sink herself for example, she can go up and down stairs…it makes me heart leap for joy. Rachel can hold a spoon now as well. As a mom of a special needs child you struggle because you always want to know that your child is taken care of. I am thankful my family is a part of Special Kids. I thank God for the Christian foundation and the things the teachers teach. My son Bryson is also a peer model at Special Kids and we’ll sit on my bed and he’ll say, ‘let’s pray for my teacher’s mom!’ and he’ll name every single teacher and pray for them; I thank God for that. Special Kids is not just a safe place for kids but it’s a safe place for parents. There are times I’ve walked in and teachers will just pray for you. It’s not easy being the parent of a special needs child and a 3-year old as well and we can struggle…I can pour my heart out and they will pour into me and speak God’s word. There’s nowhere else like Special Kids. I am so grateful.”

Rachel’s future nursing goals include, “…for her to have functional communication (wants, needs, likes, dislikes) and to be as independent as possible. For example, propelling  her wheelchair, crawling or walking in her walker to the places she wants to go, to feed herself, wash her hands, finding things she thinks are fun, etc.” shares Stephanie, Special Kids Director of Nursing.

In occupational therapy, “Rachel and I have been working in the last few months to help her be independent using a fork or spoon during mealtime. She is doing a great job and loves lunch time!” says her occupational therapist, Rachel. In the future, “Overall, I would love for Rachel to be independent with safely maneuvering her wheelchair through the busy hallways and around her house. I also want to help her be independent in donning her upper body clothing and feeding herself. Rachel is so fun, giggly, and energetic. She’s a ton of fun to work with.”

In speech therapy, her therapist Allison shares, “I really want Rachel to be able to accurately make choices between two objects via a ‘Big Mack’ button. This is a simple switch that I record my voice on and present to her. When she hits it, it plays what is recorded. She will hit the button, but I really want her to be able to match what the button says to the actual object (for example, she hits the button that says ball then reaches for a ball). I also want her to be able to participate in songs and play with her peers by providing parts of songs via the ‘Big Mack’. Rachel has made lots of progress tolerating therapy and engaging more appropriately with various toys.”

Would you join the Double Challenge and Double the Hope for Rachel?  Your investment will make a direct impact on Rachel’s life, as well as the lives of all the children being served at Special Kids.

For this year’s Double Challenge, Special Kids wants to connect investors on a deeper level in order to achieve Special Kids’ mission. Special Kids wants to encourage YOU to create your own challenge! Would you please consider making your own commitment to Rachel and Special Kids and then ask friends, family, and colleagues to give the same amount? If you are unsure who to challenge, do not be concerned. A group of generous anonymous investors have promised to match the first $31,000 given. Special Kids current caseload of 780 children is more than has ever been served, which is why Special Kids has set a goal of $286,000 to be raised through the Double Challenge this year.

To join the Double Challenge, donations can be made online at specialkidstn.com or by mail to Special Kids, 2208 E. Main Street, Murfreesboro, TN, 37130. If you have questions about the Double Challenge contact Noel Deal at ndeal@specialkidstn.com or 615.893.4892.