As both a volunteer and a client served by UCP of Central PA, I feel privileged to be a part of this organization. UCP has always been there for me. As a college student, I interned at the local office and found great joy in doing so. This is an essential organization for so many!
I worked as intern for UCP of Central PA for the last two summers. I must say both internships were quite rewarding experiences. Not only was I included at every staff meeting during my stint at UCP, but also I was made to feel like I was an essential part of the team. I felt like my thoughts and opinions were deeply considered and appreciated when expressed. Both internships gave me great confidence in myself and to be expose to the working world. I saw I could make a difference in the lives of individuals, some who have disabilities similar to my own, mainly through my words.
I have two children, one attended the daycare for two and a half years from age 3-5, the other has been enrolled in the daycare program since 12 weeks old and continues to attend. We moved our oldest child to the daycare center because of the smaller number of children in each room. She was at another daycare center where the class size increased to 18-20 children with 2 teachers at age 3. Not only did my daughter find that overwhelming, but I did too. At Capital Area Children's Center the classes have typically had 8-10 children with 3 teachers, thus providing much smaller classroom sizes, and a better teacher to student ratio, to allow more focus on educating the children. My youngest child has experienced the same situation with the 3 classrooms he has been in so far. The center always seems very calm and the teachers, regardless of classroom, know all the children's names. What we like most about the center is the way the children are taught to help one another through continual interaction with teachers, and are actively involved in creating a calm and orderly learning environment.
I have been involved with UCP Central PA for many years, first as a volunteer, then as a camp counselor, and most recently as a parent of a child in their daycare program. Every employee that I have worked with truly cares about the program and overall mission of the organization. I look forward to my family's continued involvement with UCP Central PA.
My daughter has been served by UCP for almost 30 years......Early Intervention with Physical and Speech therapies in the 80's, Summer Camp in the 90's and Day Programs and the Lending Library in the 00's........... They also have a new Apartment Plus Program in Carlisle that provides staff and support for the residential needs of consumers with MR who need more that 6 hours of support a week. This organization is also a strong advocate locally, state-wide, and nationally as this special population faces more and more budget cuts. They continue to provide different services for different needs at different times in the life of the consumer.
My family has utilized UCP’s services for over 10 years, starting with my 14 year old son attending their wonderful inclusive preschool program. Also my daughter has participated in their Sibshop program for 5+ years, I have been to a many presentations and trainings offered for parents who have a child with a disability, and my family has attended various Family Activities. Having a child with a disability affects my entire family in many ways. It has been great to have these services and opportunities available to us to help strengthen our family, network with others in similar situations, and enjoy activities that we would not have been able to in a typical environment. Thanks so much for all you do!
We became involded with UCP Central PA after our daughter was born with CdLS. They have provided our family with many valuble services including their "Sib Shop" for the siblings of special needs children. This is a wonderful program that allows brother and sisters to share their experiances. We have also gone to many other parent oriented programs and have found them all to be worthwhile and very well done. UCP of Central PA is staffed by a truly wonderful group of talented and caring people.
We approached UPC on a recommendation because we heard wonderful things about the work the organization does. We needed help with understanding our son's disability and how we could help him. The plan the school had offered was clearly not in his best interest and we were frustrated with the lack of progress and unsure of what path would be best for him. Our advocate took the time to review all of our information, helped us map out a plan and actually came to the IEP meeting with us. It was such a relief to have Mel there to support and advise us. She really seemed to care about our son. Pam and Bill
Our son has special needs and after seeing information on the autism web site about UCP helping our kiddos, I contacted them. Not only did they provide valuable information for how to get specific help for my child but they also hold various outings for children with disabilities. It is a great opportunity for our son to be social with other kids and not feel judged. UCP also provides advocacy for help with school districts and my childs IEP. Thank you UCP Kathy Roberts
We began receiving services from UCP when our son was only a few weeks old. His diagnosis was very grim and the potential for quality of life very low. We were told by many doctors what he wouldn't do, and some nurses that we shouldn't even try. The fantastic individuals at UCP diligently worked with us and our son to maximize his potential, regardless of what was expected. We were able to mark milestones we never imagined, and though it was months and even years of hard work sometimes, those small beautiful moments are the ones I will treasure for decades now that he has passed.
I called when my youngest daugther was having trouble in school. Her teachers and the school staff were not providing proper support for her. She has several dx, including autism, DAMP, and a social interaction disorder. An advocate met with me to explain how to work with the school, attended IEP meetings and helped me get my daughter the services, both in school and outside of school, she needed. The advocate was wonderful, knowledgable and understood my daughter's needs!
UCP has helped me in a variety of ways for more than a decade. They have helped with attendant care services, finding assistive technology and providing training to use it, and support for me as I work toward starting my own business. The people working for them have been great and make an extra effort.
I receive sevrices through the Geriatric Care Management aservices at UCP. This service has been wonderful. Sheila handles all my medical bills, checking with all insurances to ensure payments have been correctly billed. Without this service I would probably end up paying bills that I did not need to. She also has been assisting me to go through the process to get ready to be placed on the kidney transplant list. UCP provides outstanding services for all ages and all disabilities.
As the mom of a disabled child who was struggling to have my child's needs met with my school district, I contacted UCP for help. They provided me with freee advocacy help and I was able to get the services my son needed as a result! They were professional and supportive.
UCP Central PA offers a wonderful variety of services that have benefited both of my children with autism. Sibshops is my 12 year olds favorite activity and he has been attending for 6 years. Their facility is beautiful and the family support service staff goes above and beyond to help their clients and families.
It is truly a blessing to have a healthy baby these days. And as a mother, you know when something just isn’t right with one of your children. Jacob was born on December 31, 1994. He had an older brother, so I had a benchmark of what to expect. Jacob wasn’t a typical happy baby. He didn’t smile a lot, had issues with food textures, didn’t sleep well, etc. As a toddler, it got worse. He didn’t develop speech, became somewhat aggressive, was very particular about his food, had many perseverative behaviors, etc. Jacob was diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder (on the autism spectrum) when he was about 2. Luckily, we caught it early and he was immediately enrolled in developmental, speech and occupational therapies. Then, our prayers were answered. I remember the first time I visited UCP of Central PA in Camp Hill, PA. The physical facilities were a child’s AND parent’s dream…so colorful, so inviting, and so conducive to everything they do there. I especially liked the 2-way windows where parents could observe without being seen. But those facilities were nothing compared to the Understanding Caring Professionals I met. I immediately knew this was where Jacob needed to be. He began in an inclusion preschool class, and boy, was he miserable! I remember observing him during most of my lunch hours. Specifically, I remember a time when Jacob would not stop crying. The teacher/developmental therapist had taken away one of his dinosaur toys. I couldn’t stand it! I went to the door and told her why he was crying. She knew why. She had taken 1 of his 2 dinosaurs because Jacob was a part of the class. He was not forced to participate in the art project at the time, but he had to have a hand available if he chose to participate. Tough love at its finest! What was next to impossible for me to do at home to keep peace in the house or even more difficult, outside of the house, was what this teacher did so easily. Being in the inclusion classroom gave him peer models, and he probably learned as much from them as from his therapists. And it worked. Jacob received occupational and speech therapy at UCP as well. His occupational therapist worked with him on his fine motor and sensory integration skills. He couldn’t tolerate being in a sandbox or touching gooey things. Now he buries himself in the sand at the beach! His speech therapist helped him progress from sounds, grunts and pointing to words, then sentences, then writing paragraphs. Admittedly, there are some days I wish he’d just stop talking! How did they do it? Hard work? Absolutely. Teamwork. No question. There are a lot of certified therapists out there, most of whom are probably wonderful. But at UCP of Central PA, I met professionals who loved and cared about Jacob so much that they were determined to see him succeed. By the time he graduated from the preschool program, he was one of the typical kids in the inclusion preschool. He had friends, laughed and was happy, all I ever really wanted. He transitioned to a private school and is now a sophomore in high school earning A’s and B’s, playing basketball and in Driver’s Ed! UCP of Central PA gave us so much HOPE. They were all a support system to Jacob and our family. We are FOREVER indebted to them, and continue to contribute financially and with anything we can do to promote them. Jacob, himself, has given back by volunteering at UCP’s Family Fun Fair. UCP of Central PA has helped make Jacob who he is today. How can I not be forever indebted?
UCP has been there for my family for the past 3 1/2 years. They support us as a family - that's what makes them so special. From IEP meetings to sibling workshops to family fun festivals - we all feel included and have so many opportunities to meet other families in similar situations. We look forward to participating in these activities for many years to come.