"Weekends in the Country" Program Offers Time to Relax and Recharge

Special needs families get a chance to unwind and make friends with the help of Horizon's respite program.

Last year, with help from a Community Foundation for Greater New Haven grant, Horizons provided weekend respite care services to 182 individuals with disabilities and their families who live in the Greater New Haven area. The grant from the Margaret M. Amrich Fund supported the "Weekends in the Country" component of the Respite Strengthens Families Project 2011-2013.

The program met the needs of both the participating individual as well as family members in need of periodic relief from the often intensive care needed by adult children with developmental disabilities and behavioral challenges. Weekend participants made new friends and relished activities tailored to their needs. Parents reported that children returned home after attending activity-filled weekends showing greater independence and expressing enthusiasm for the program.

"Horizons continues to meet a unique need in the State of Connecticut by being the only agency that provides respite where individuals with disabilities take part in action-packed, exciting theme weekends tailored to their unique needs, filled with fun and friendship, while their parents receive a brief interval of rest from the responsibility of caring for their adult child with a developmental disability," says Kathleen McNaboe, Horizons Organizational Manager. "A significant challenge to these individuals with disabilities and their families is the reduction in respite funding allocated by the CT Department of Developmental Services. Many families who rely on it have received partial to complete cuts in their respite care funding."

Fortunately, through Community Foundation and private funding, Horizons has been able to supplement waning public funding and maintain the level of affordability and services offered to these families in need.

"Since the focus on each person's capacity is the essence of Horizons, we see individuals' potential, not their disabilities. In turn, their respite at Horizons becomes a life-altering experience for the children, and their families," continues McNaboe. "For many parents, weekends at Horizons are the only break they get from the demands of caring for their child with a disability."

Learn more about Horizons and support their efforts by viewing their profile on giveGreater.org.

Did You Know?

More than 34 million unpaid caregivers provide care to someone age 18 and older who is ill or has a disability.

Source: Valuing the Invaluable: The Economic Value of Family Caregiving