People Are Like Stained Glass Windows

People are like stained glass windows.  They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.

                                                                                                               Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

You need to talk to Flavia.  If you want to put your problems in perspective, and gain insight into inner strength and beauty, just speak with Flavia.

Flavia is the mother of a 15 year old boy with special needs who uses services at Children’s Village.   Her son has Down syndrome and is not able to speak.  Flavia left her family and her job as a music teacher in Argentina to come to the United States for her husband’s job.  Her son was only six at that time, and Flavia spoke no English and relied on her husband to navigate this new system, language, and culture that were completely foreign to her.  In a short amount of time, she and her husband divorced, leaving her alone with a child with special needs, no job, no family support, not many friends, and not able to speak English.

Yet Flavia did not despair.  She knew what she wanted for her son.  Through interpreters at Children’s Village she was able to find the medical resources and Parent to Parent support she needed, and at her son’s elementary school she was able to find a job as a paraprofessional in special education because she knew sign language and also became certified in Braille.

In fact, Flavia is grateful for her whole life experience.  She feels that she has no right to self-pity or sadness because she says there is so much opportunity in this country…..that you must live in a third world country to be able to understand and appreciate the abundant opportunities that the U.S. has to offer.

Flavia believes that having a child with special needs makes her a special mother too.  She believes that there is a reason for everything in our lives….that we are governed by a higher purpose.  Both of Flavia’s parents died one month before her divorce which gave her an additional reason to stay in the U.S.  She no longer had a strong family pull to return to Argentina, and despite her hardships, she saw opportunity for her son.  And wouldn’t you know that of anywhere in this country, she ended up in Yakima, Washington where we have the only collaborative model of its kind in the U.S. for children with special needs…..Children’s Village.

A light shines in the darkness.

Leslie Whiteside

Grants Coordinator

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