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"Essential" Worker Parents Grateful for Rainbows' Continued Services

“Our world was turned upside down at the start of the pandemic,” said Amy, Mekhi’s mom. “Words cannot express the relief we felt when we were told that Rainbows would remain open. Both my husband and I are “essential” workers and if we did not have Rainbows’ child care during this time, one of us would’ve had to stop working. Thanks to Rainbows, not only were Mekhi’s daily needs taken care of, but it allowed my husband and I to remain employed and able to provide for our kiddos.”

Three and a half year-old Mekhi has Down Syndrome. He was originally introduced to Rainbows through Infant/Toddler Services and now attends Rainbows’ Early Care and Education program.  “The staff at Rainbows is welcoming, supportive and loves Mekhi as if he were their own,” said Amy. “From Ms. Maria and Ms. Rebecca at the front desk to all the teachers he interacts with daily, I know when Mekhi is dropped off he is in knowledgeable and very capable, caring hands. The organization itself has allowed us to not only better understand Mekhi, but how to help him learn. I know I can always reach out to them with questions or concerns and they do whatever they can to help.  Rainbows has allowed us to focus, not on what Mekhi can’t do, but all of the wonderful things he is accomplishing every day.”

Rhonda Davis, Physical Therapist with Rainbows’ Infant/Toddler Services, started working with Mekhi and his family when he was only a few months old.  “I would go to the home and ‘play’ with Mekhi to show the family ways to get Mekhi to work on his development,” said Rhonda.  “Mekhi’s parents and his brother, Asa, were all involved in Mekhi’s learning and development.  They worked hard with Mekhi and were always positive and encouraging.”

“Rhonda was a rock to us during those first years,” said Amy.  “Without the help of Rainbows in the beginning, I really don’t know how I would’ve managed. The diagnosis of Down Syndrome was devastating to me at first.  I just didn’t know where to start or what to expect.  From the beginning I was assured that I could do this and as Mekhi continued to develop and meet milestones the staff rejoiced and celebrated them along with us.”

This year, Mekhi’s teacher is Ms. Paula. “We just love her,” said Amy.  “His previous teacher, Ms. Stacy was amazing, too. She even joined us for the DSSW (Down Syndrome Society of Wichita) Parade of Stars this year.  Mekhi wasn’t quite walking at the time, but that didn’t stop him from taking our hands and walking with us for most of the route.  It was definitely the catalyst for him to begin walking on his own.”

“Mekhi is the life of the party,” said Paula Madsen, Room 5 teacher. “He came into Room 5 just crawling and working on walking.  Now he is running faster than most of the teachers.  He always has a smile on his face that will light the world.  He is just an awesome boy and loved by many.”

Mike and Amy are blessed with two sons, Asa, 7 ½, and Mekhi.  “Asa is Mekhi’s hero and built-in wrestling buddy,” said Amy. “Asa loves to play with Mekhi and even reads to him on occasion. As a family, we love to go for walks, play card/board games, have fun outside, and are enjoying trips to the swimming pool this summer!”