Reliable Enterprises, County, and Veterans Museum Partner to Offer Education for Parents of Children with Disabilities

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By Isabel Vander Stoep / [email protected]

When he first received his newborn son, the director of the Veterans Memorial Museum Chip Duncan – a car guy and a former architect – remembers thinking, “Where’s the manual for? This thing ?

But parenthood has no model.

And when he and his wife adopted disabled children, that feeling was even stronger. Little did he know that Reliable Enterprise’s “Parent-to-Parent” program had been working to help parents meet this challenge since the late 1980s.

Now, thanks to a partnership between Lewis County Public Health and Human Services, the Veterans Memorial Museum and Reliable Enterprises, interactive working group classes are held at the museum from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. on the second Wednesday of each day. months, except from December to May. 2022.

The goal of the free program, called “Pathways”, is to help prepare parents of children with disabilities and children themselves for what is to come after high school.

Topics covered in the courses include transition preparation, social security and benefits, planning for the future, navigating adult systems, employment and more.

The final session will feature a panel of adults with disabilities who will answer questions and chat with participants.

For Duncan and program coordinator Shawna Haller, who are parents of children with disabilities, the subject is close to home.

“Each stage of life with a child, especially a child with a disability, poses a different challenge. So, transitions are like a whole new ball game. You have worries and worries. You want to prepare everyone as much as possible for what life is going to be like after high school, ”Haller said. “There are so many things that are difficult to navigate. And especially if you have a child with a significant disability, you are considering needing this guardianship. Well where are you going for that?

Participation in the Parent to Parent program also gives people a discount for the museum and access to other fun activities, including movie nights, Christmas parties, and pumpkin patch tours.

Since its inception decades ago, the goal has been to create a network of families from all walks of life. Duncan was only recently told about the program, and now he wants to make sure all parents of children with disabilities have access to his invaluable services.

“I wish Reliable Enterprise’s mission with Parent to Parent was more present,” Duncan said, later adding, “The museum just wants to be there for the community in any way it can. And that’s just something. something that really excites me.

To register for classes or get involved in the program as a whole, email Haller at [email protected] or call 360-520-9299.

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