The Studio Blog Archive

A few posts we've written over the years


Kathy Siebert Story

Leaving a Legacy
Melissa and Kathy

When Melissa was 6 months-old, she was diagnosed with microcephaly, a congenital anomaly characterized by an abnormally small head and an underdeveloped brain. She screamed and cried when touched or picked up. After moving to Wichita, doctors recommended placing her in an institution until her family learned about Rainbows.

Once connected to Rainbows, Melissa received the loving care and vital therapies she needed. The screaming stopped and was replaced with smiles.

That was 1979. Melissa passed away in 1993, but her mother, Kathy, still has the framed photo of Melissa at her Rainbows’ graduation and the handprint art made by the children in her graduating class.

Upon Melissa’s passing, Kathy opened a Brokerage account with proceeds from a life insurance policy and named Rainbows as the beneficiary to receive funds after her death. The gift is an investment for families with children with special needs who need services today and in the future.  

“I wanted to give back to Rainbows for all the years and support they provided,” said Kathy. “It is amazing to watch the growth of the investment over the 20+ years.”

Melissa’s legacy continues on through this generous gift set up by her mother, Kathy. This is a shining example of how one mother’s caring and commitment to Rainbows’ future children will impact the lives of generations to come. You can learn more about Planned Giving to Rainbows at https://rainbowsunited.org/ways-to-give/planned-giving.

44th Annual Blarney Breakfast

Meet This Year’s Children

The $54,554 raised at this year’s 44th Annual Blarney breakfast helps support Rainbows’ Targeted Case Management (TCM) services.
So what do TCM Case Managers do? They help families and their children with special needs find needed resources and support. Their primary function is to advocate for each individual and empower parents. Partial proceeds from this year’s event helped fund individualized items for five children were presented with to help them become more independent and able to better enjoy their lives. Enjoy these special children’s stories and take a moment to appreciate how Rainbows’ amazing TCM Case Managers affect the lives of Rainbows’ children and their families.

Avery
Kameron, Avery’s mom, shared the story of the first days of her baby’s life:  “Avery was born a relatively "normal & healthy" baby, 6 lbs. 6.4 oz, 6 weeks prematurely, by c-section. She came home two weeks later without any contraindications. On day four of being home, she broke out into a rash and had a fever of 104.7° and continuous seizures. She was in a coma for 4 weeks. Soon after we were told she had significant brain atrophy and would not recover from this. She was diagnosed with Significant Developmental & Global Delays due to Viral Encephalitis, which included Cerebral Palsy, Cortical Blindness, Nonverbal, Autism, Septo-Optic Dysplasia, Partial Complex Seizures and other medical issues.

We were told she would never crawl, roll over, walk, talk...basically have any kind of quality of life....Boy did she show them!”

Now 15 years old, Avery is an extremely intelligent young lady. Kameron smiled when she said, “Avery has a determination about her that many people do not. She loves to complete a task once it is given to her.  But she IS stubborn and sometimes it has to be done on her terms only, her way only. She is a typical teen!”

Avery sits in a wheelchair most of the time.  With donations from this year’s Blarney Breakfast, Avery will receive a supportive walker! Having a walker to assist her with walking small distances will help her with her fine gross motor skills and increase her independence.

“I would definitely like families to know and understand that Rainbows United can absolutely be like the foundation of a house or fertilizing soil in a garden. It's the main layer that helps families with stabilization and growth. Rainbows will ALWAYS be there to make families stronger, better and more prepared for their next venture,” said Kameron.

Joy
“Joy is a blessing to our lives,” said Vereniz, Joy’s mom. “She is a very beautiful girl, funny and respectful.” She loves animals and playing with mini toys, like LOL dolls.  Joy is 9 years old and has autism which affects her communication and social skills, as well as her behavior.

Joy struggles with remembering things and communicating.  With donations from this year’s Blarney Breakfast, Joy will be presented with an iPad and a protective case.  The iPad will help Joy in improving her communication and daily living skills. One of Joy’s long-term goals is to learn Spanish and having access to an iPad will help her with retention and memory.

Joy began receiving services five years ago with Targeted Case Management. “She talks more than before,” said Vereniz. “She’s improved a lot.”  This year Joy is hoping to attend Rainbows’ Camp Woodchuck.

Kaitlyn
Five year old Kaitlyn likes tickles and hugs. The youngest of three children, she is very playful and engaging with her family. Kaitlyn has autism, which affects her communication skills, social skills and behaviors. She also is delayed in most areas of her development.

“Rainbows has been a great tool to help find resources that fit Kaitlyn’s needs,” said Deborah, Kaitlyn’s mom. “Kaitlyn has made progress with eye contact, and figuring out how things work.” Kaitlyn works with Targeted Case Manager Michelle McDowell, and also attends Rainbows’ Camp Woodchuck in the summer.

Kaitlyn mostly communicates through gestures and taking you by the hand and leading you to what she needs/wants. Through donations from this year’s Blarney Breakfast, Kaitlyn will receive an iPad with a special communication application to help in improving her communication skills.

Lance
Lance was born with spina bifida and at two months old was diagnosed with hydrocephalus. “They said he probably wouldn’t live and that he probably would never walk,” said Lance’s mom, Lisa. “He has proven everyone wrong!”

Now 16 years old, Lance walks with sticks, but that doesn’t slow him down much. He also has learning disabilities and difficulty focusing on tasks.

“Rainbows has been a tremendous help,” said Lisa. “I don’t know what we would have done without them. We had never heard of spina bifida until the day he was born. We started with Rainbows at birth: physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech. We had someone here at least once a week.”

After a few years, Lance got involved with Rainbows again through Targeted Case Management.  Lance’s Case Worker Samantha Reed helps the family by continually looking for other ways to help him. This year, thanks to donations from the Blarney Breakfast, Lance will receive an Apple Watch!  With applications through apple, a detailed schedule will prompt Lance to complete routine tasks that will allow him to practice his independent skills without the need for verbal prompting.

Wyatt
A sweet little boy with a very gentle soul, Wyatt has autism.  “He is nonverbal, but does his best to communicate with those that he likes and loves,” said Wyatt’s dad, Bobby. “The fact that he is so sweet and gets so excited about his favorite people and activities inspires us to do better for him and to do our best to help him with the struggles autism has afforded him.”

“Wyatt is very sensitive about his surroundings and not able to use speech currently,” said Brennen Smith, Wyatt’s Targeted Case Manager. Five year old Wyatt has run off when the family was on vacation and also in a public place like a park. With donations from this year’s Blarney Breakfast, Wyatt will receive a subscription for an Angel Sense monitor, which assists with locating him if there is a crowd or if he gets too far away.

“Rainbows has impacted our lives by shining a light of hope and a positive attitude, which is all too uncommon in today’s world,” said Bobby. “It is so refreshing and inspiring to have someone come into our home, and be so encouraging to Wyatt and the rest of the family as well.”

“Rainbows is comprised of caring, genuine and thoughtful people who go out into the community and make the world a better place,” Bobby said. “They advocate, educate and inspire not only the child but also the parents and the rest of the family. It takes special people to do what they do, and they do it well in a positive, constructive way.”

 

 

Blarney Breakfast

Make a difference in the life of a child

A sweet little boy with a very gentle soul, Wyatt has autism.  “He is nonverbal, but does his best to communicate with those that he likes and loves,” said Wyatt’s dad, Bobby. “The fact that he is so sweet and gets so excited about his favorite people and activities inspires us to do better for him and to do our best to help him with the struggles autism has afforded him.”

“Wyatt is very sensitive about his surroundings and not able to use speech currently,” said Brennen Smith, Wyatt’s Targeted Case Manager. Five year old Wyatt has run off when the family was on vacation and also in a public place like a park. With donations from this year’s Blarney Breakfast, Wyatt will receive a subscription for an Angel Sense monitor, which assists with locating him if there is a crowd or if he gets too far away.

“Rainbows has impacted our lives by shining a light of hope and a positive attitude, which is all too uncommon in today’s world,” said Bobby. “It is so refreshing and inspiring to have someone come into our home, and be so encouraging to Wyatt and the rest of the family as well.”

“Rainbows is comprised of caring, genuine and thoughtful people who go out into the community and make the world a better place,” Bobby said. “They advocate, educate and inspire not only the child but also the parents and the rest of the family. It takes special people to do what they do, and they do it well in a positive, constructive way.”

St. Patrick’s Day

Do you still believe?

It was Saint Patrick’s Day. Another cold, gray, blustery Tuesday morning in Seattle. I was behind on a project and should’ve been at work, and my seven-year-old daughter, Rosie, should’ve been in school. Instead, the two of us were all bundled up and on our way to a grassy meadow behind a neighbor’s house--an enchanted-looking cluster of knolls where (according to my neighbor, at least) real leprechauns had recently been sighted.

Quietly, so as not to frighten the leprechauns, Rosie and I crept to the top of a knoll that day and settled down, side by side, with our backs against a big maple tree. For two or three hours, it was just Rosie and me. Sipping hot chocolate from a thermos to ward off the cold, we held our vigil, keeping our eyes peeled for the slightest movement in the long grass down by the willows.

“Rosie, did you see that?!” I whispered. “Look over there where the path ends-can you see anything?” Her eyes grew wide. By now, we were both catching glimpses of little green hats and boots flitting all around us. “Now, do you believe?” I asked her in a hushed tone, because, as everyone knows, leprechauns only appear to those who believe. Of course, by then she certainly did believe, and I guess I did too.

Then came the most magical moment of all. Late in the morning we wandered along the edge of the meadow, pushing gently at the grass with our shoe tips, hoping for one last sign of a leprechaun burrow. And then--wonder of all wonders--Rosie suddenly stumbled upon a cache of real Irish pennies and some chocolate coins covered in gold foil! Someone (a genuine leprechaun, perhaps?) had apparently dropped those coins in the grass the night before.

It was just another rainy Tuesday in Seattle for most people, but not for me and Rosie. And, despite playing hooky that morning back in 1992, Rosie made it through grade school okay, and today she has a great job. As for me, I’ve long since forgotten whatever project I was supposed to be working on. But Rosie and I will never forget that magical day in March when we lay in wait for the leprechauns together.

Many years later, on Saint Patrick’s Day, Rosie paid a visit to Seattle and surprised me with a card and a present. It was a cupful of gold-covered chocolate coins with a hand-written note tucked inside: “Dad, Happy Saint Patrick’s Day. I still believe.”

That little note remains one of my most treasured possessions.