Dear Friend of AbilityFirst,
In many respects, our grandson Nicholas is a typical 12-year-old boy. Nick likes to "hang out" with his friends. His favorite activities at the AbilityFirst Long Beach Center are sing-along activities, swimming and going on field trips. But Nick is not your "typical child". He has autism. Things that come easily to many other children are difficult for him. Change is especially difficult, so life presents unexpected challenges, for him and for us.
When Nick started school, we had to find a safe place for him to go in the afternoon so we could continue to work. His Regional Center caseworker gave us a list of organizations that serve children with special needs in our area. We stopped looking after we visited the Long Beach Center. AbilityFirst "felt right".
Nearly six years later, AbilityFirst is still the best place for Nick, and for us. The staff gives him the support and encouragement he needs to try new things, to play games with his friends, to go swimming. He is learning to cook! A few months ago, he went on a ski trip to AbilityFirst Camp Paivika -- the first time he had been away from home without us. He had a great time and so did we!
We want to do everything we can to make sure that AbilityFirst is there for Nick, both now and when he is older. In addition to the after school program and camp, AbilityFirst offers adult day programs, employment programs and affordable housing for people with disabilities.
Like most families, we could never afford to pay the full cost of providing these high-quality services. State budget cuts continue to jeopardize the programs on which families like ours rely. AbilityFirst depends on your support. Please give whatever you can to this fine organization that does so much for people with special needs and their families. Every contribution makes a difference to children like Nick. Thank you!
Curt and Sandy Kurtz