I have been involved with UCP for several years. I've seen the organization grow by leaps and bounds, helping more and more families every day. The board is engaged and supportive of the innovative ideas that have made UCP so impactful in our community. UCP is respected and looked upon as a leader in the non-profit sector. The staff at UCP has a work ethic unlike I have ever seen. These executives, teachers, therapists, accountants and support staff are admirable. I look up to them. Yes, they create miracle for families minute by minute. To me, that is expected. What is not expected is their amazing level of stick-to-it-tive-ness and their never give up attitude. Budget cuts, poor economies, competitive hiring environments, you name it - these people are strong willed and committed. When you see that, it gives you faith and belief in the work that they do, not just in the faces of the beautiful children, but in the team that makes the miracles happen.
The hard work and dedication provided by UCP staff on behalf of the children of Central Florida is second to none! The way in which the staff approaches each individual child’s needs allows the child to develop at their own pace while remaining with their peers. The staff includes the families in every aspect of learning. As a board member, I have been so impressed at the way UCP handles “inclusion”. Children are learning at an early age that “everyone matters” and that everyone should be afforded the opportunity to live productive lives and be a valued part of society. I am proud to be a member of this board!
What I love most about UCP is that its tireless staff and administration never forgets that the organization's biggest accomplishments are helping children reach significant milestones. Everytime I am involved with a UCP meeting, activity or event I hear amazing stories about the incredible progress that the children make at school. I am proud to a part of UCP.
My wife introduced me to UCP when she was a physical therapist for the organization. I had the opportunity to meet other's she worked with and there was one common theme with everyone I met....., they cared. Beyond the job and beyond what was asked of them they truly cared about those they treated.
There was countless stories of parents who were told their child would not walk, talk or complete simple tasks before coming to UCP but after a few months at UCP they were seeing miracles come into motion before their eyes.
Seeing these examples first hand made me want to get involved and help the organization however my skills and time could.
My first introduction toUCP of Central Florida came through a professional colleague. He told me that the organization was unlike any he had ever had the pleasure of serving and that the Executive Director, Ilene Wilkins was an amazing person - both professionally and personally.
My first visit was to tour their Administrative Offices and the Child Development Center located in downtown Orlando. Shortly after my arrival on site, the fire alarm sounded. The reaction of the UCP staff was immediate and focused - anyone who had arms was to pick up a child. Since I qualified, I did as I was instructed and picked up a 7 month old Down syndrome child who quickly wrapped his arms tightly around my neck (and my heart). The patience, professionalism and total dedication of the UCP staff on that very rainy day struck me. Their sole focus was on the safety of their 'kids' and nothing, not even their own personal safety, could deflect that focus. We all stood outside in a cold, pouring rain for nearly an hour while firemen checked every inch of the building. The staff sang songs to soothe the children; they checked every child individually and gave their own sweaters/coats to protect the children.
I have long been an advocate that staff professional responsibility, dedication and reliability is a direct reflection of management. In this case, however, I quickly realized that the staff did not display the conduct they did only because their management trained them well, but also, and possibly more so, because they truly love the children they so carefully and conscientiously care for. I am truly blessed and honored to serve these wonderful people as a member of their Board.
Since coming on the Board in 1988, I have seen the most remarkable transition from a two-story building to six flourising centers, which serve the children of Central Florida. The tireless dedication these staff members have to the children is incredible. I do believe in miracles, since I have seen so many over my long tenure with this organization.
Dr. Ilene Wilkins and her staff do an amazing job keeping this organization one of the most respected in our area. If you know anyone who may need their services, you should not wait another day to get in contact with them.
My daughter began receiving services as an outpatient at UCP when she was 16 months old. She started going to pre-school at 3 years and continued to receive therapy at UCP. Because of UCP's educators and therapists, we were able to transition Isabella to a regular classroom the year before Kindergarten. We chose to do so, because we lived 30 minutes away and the commute to her assigned school was only 5 minutes away. Isabella finished her Kindergarten year at the top of her class because of the foundation that UCP provided her from such an early age. We were blessed when Early Steps referred us to UCP because we found the support, education, and therapy our daughter and family needed. For this, we will forever be grateful and I will always continue to support UCP in any way I can. Thank you for this gift.