Joy Without Bounds
As Jack and Kathy Kindred introduced their daughter Lilly to joyful friends and family in the hours after her birth, both she and their lives seemed perfect.
That night, Lilly stopped breathing. She was resuscitated, only to stop breathing again and again in the following days. Jack and Kathy found out Lilly had a rare genetic disorder, and might never be able to walk, talk or recognize them.
“I prayed for just one thing, that Lilly might experience joy,” Jack said. “I thought if we could just laugh together someday that she would be OK, I would be OK, our family would be OK.”
After three years of intensive therapy, Lilly was only just starting to walk and barely speaking when the Kindreds found the Haring Center’s Experimental Education Unit.
“We saw the support that the teachers and staff provided in the classroom. We learned about the research going on to help children like Lilly, the care being provided in such a loving manner,” Jack said.
Their fear transformed to hope. Knowing their daughter would be accepted, understood and loved at the Haring Center gave the Kindreds hope that Lilly could indeed know joy.
Since Lilly arrived at the Haring Center, the Kindreds have celebrated milestone after milestone. Jack watched as a speech therapist helped her say “Daddy” for the first time. Lilly took her first steps, began running and continually gained more words. The Kindred’s hopeful prayer to hear their daughter laugh has been answered a thousand-fold.
“Lilly doesn’t just know joy,” Jack says, “she seems to spread it wherever she goes.”
Every day, children like Lilly and their families find success and joy at the Experimental Education Unit. Children with disabilities become more independent as they participate fully in inclusive education. Typically developing children learn to embrace differences and become champions for their peers. Parents build the competence and confidence to advocate for their child and join other families as cornerstones of inclusive communities.
The Campaign for Inclusion is strengthening the EEU’s capacity to serve children with developmental disabilities and their families.