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UCP 2017 Winter Appeal

 

 On August 5, 1984, Kathy and Jim welcomed a beautiful blonde haired and blue-eyed baby girl named Michelle to their family. Michelle, who was born three months early, was the young couple’s second child. “Our son, Jim, was born 15 months earlier, so having this precious little girl made our family complete,” Kathy explained.

Born two pounds and six ounces, Michelle stayed in the hospital for 10 weeks. After closely observing her daughter, Kathy knew that Michelle was delayed.
It was after a series of tests that her little girl was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. “I was totally devastated and I did not know what to do,” she said. “The doctor told me that she would need different types of therapy and I did not know where to begin.”

The day that Michelle was diagnosed, the doctor recommended a “reputable” organization that could help the child, United Cerebral Palsy of Long Island. “We needed a sense of hope in a difficult situation so my husband and I were willing to do what we had to do to get Michelle all the support she needed,” Kathy declared. “And thankfully, it worked in our favor.”

As an infant, Michelle started receiving therapy at UCP’s The Children’s Center. When she was 2-years-old, Michelle was enrolled in the center’s educational program where she received physical, occupational and speech therapy. “Before going to The Children’s Center Michelle was insecure and wanted to be around me all the time, but once she started there she turned a new leaf and became such a people person and a social butterfly,” Kathy smiled.

In 1992, when Michelle was seven-years-old, her smile graced the flyer of the agency’s 13th Annual Bike-a-thon.

With the unconditional love of her family and an outpouring of encouragement from staff, Michelle continued to flourish. Michelle graduated from The Children’s Center in 1992 and then attended BOCES James E. Allen Elementary School. She graduated from James E. Allen High School in 2005. After graduation her mother knew that college was not an option, but she wanted Michelle to continue to explore her talents and become even more social.

 

 The first place that came to her mind was the organization that welcomed her daughter with open arms, the agency that gave her daughter a chance at a bright future, UCP of Long Island.

For the last 13 years, the agency has been a second home to Michelle. She has found her voice and confidence through the agency’s robust programs and services. Michelle is one of the original members of The Brushstrokes Program, which encourages individuals to express themselves through painting
and various forms of art. She has created intriguing pieces of art that have been featured in exhibits, at special events and on agency materials. Michelle has expressed, “I love being a part of such a special program and painting has become a real passion of mine. Painting has really given me a sense of empowerment because it helped me find my voice and it helps to clear my mind.”

In addition to being one of UCP’s most talented artists, Michelle is a member of the Sensations, a group of singers, dancers and impersonators who perform using sign language. She is also a member of the Red Cross Volunteer Support Group, the nation’s first group of individuals with developmental disabilities who are trained Red Cross Volunteers. The group, which was formed in 2010, consists of 13 trained volunteers who share information on preparedness and fire safety. “I love giving back and helping others with disabilities become more informed and independent,” she declared.

The programs and loving staff at UCP has helped Michelle to blossom and live a Life Without Limits. “I love this organization because it inspires me every day,” Michelle said. “I meet people with disabilities who strive to be their best despite their condition or circumstances. That alone keeps me going.”

“My daughter is happy and loves her life,” Kathy expressed. “UCP of Long Island has changed her in such an amazing way. She was once an insecure little girl, but now she is a vibrant young woman.”

92 cents of every dollar raised supports UCP of Long Island’s vital programs and services that provide an opportunity for people with disabilities to live lives filled with joy and purpose. Make your gift today, so Michelle and others like her can continue to live a wonderful Life Without Limits.

Did You Know UCP of Long Island...

• Has a mission to advance the independence, productivity and full citizenship of people with cerebral palsy and other disabilities.

• Serves children and adults with disabilities from Long Island, 65% of whom have disabilities other than cerebral palsy.

• Spends 92 cents of every dollar on programs and services.

• Provides services and care to over 200 adults and children in 31 beautiful residential homes. Each home creates its own family and becomes an integral part of the community.

• Is at the forefront of providing Early Intervention, Pre-school and School Age educational programs. The Children’s Center uses a MOVE (Mobility Opportunity Via Education) philosophy and has an array of educational and therapeutic services to promote thedevelopment of a child with a disability.

• The Employment Connection Mobile Training and Education Center provides employment- related services, such as career assessment and counseling, work preparation, employment training and job placement, so a person with a disability can become employed and independent.

Your Support truly makes a difference and helps create Life Without Limits for children and adults with disabilities!
Thank You

United Cerebral Palsy of Long Island
250 Marcus Boulevard, Hauppauge, NY 11788
(631) 232-0011
www.ucp-li.org
Cover Artist: Michelle Samito has been a participant of UCP of Long Island for 13 years. She has been painting for several years. Michelle loves to paint flowers and birds and she mostly uses acrylic paints. She just started experimenting with watercolors and is currently trying her hand at impressionism. Michelle is a social butterfly and takes part in The Sensations, as well as the Red Cross Volunteer Support Group.

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