At Little Friends, we consistently ask ourselves what else we can do to help children and adults with special needs. The question we pose also includes possible work that we can do to provide support for their families.

As announced last month, we are restarting our Parent Infant Program (PIP), a center-based program helping children under age 2 and their parents with therapies and parent support. PIP is targeted to begin in July at our Naperville campus.

While re-establishing PIP is exciting, there is more on the horizon. Recently, we were approached by the Respite Endowment Organization to work together to develop a program that provided family-centered programming using the strengths of both organizations. Our discussions have been focused on providing much-needed respite support for parents while offering therapeutic art projects for children with special needs and their siblings. Truly a win for everyone who would be involved! Collaboration is nearly complete and we will be offering a new program for families beginning mid-May.

This program will span a six-week period and will involve therapeutic art projects conducted at Little Friends’ Inklude Art Studio in Downers Grove. Children with special needs, and their siblings, ages 5 to 12, will be welcome; and support for participants will be provided by both Respite Endowment Organization volunteers and Little Friends employees. The two-hour art program for the children will allow parents to have time for themselves: to run errands, to connect with friends and family, or just to have an opportunity for self-care.

More details will be announced, but capacity for the program will be 20 children. If interested, please contact Becky Pundy with the Respite Endowment Organization at (630) 204-0224 or beckypundy@icloud.com to reserve space at the art table!