Wishing Tree for Special Needs Kids
I wish bullies weren’t so mean; I wish people would accept me, autism and all; and I wish that I could see. These are just some of the wishes that children with special needs have added to the Connecting for Kids’ Wishing Tree at Barnes & Noble at Crocker Park, 198 Crocker Park Blvd. in Westlake. The tree will be on display through the holiday season.
“We wanted to build something amazing in our community and we are so excited to see it all come together,” said Sarah Rintamaki, Executive Director of Connecting for Kids. “We have two goals with the Wishing Tree. One is to raise awareness in the community about what it’s like to have a child with special needs. The second is to demonstrate that even though a family may have a child who struggles, their wishes are similar to any other family. One parent wrote that her wish is not to have to remind her sons to wash their hands every time they leave the bathroom – I think all parents can relate to that wish.”
The seven-foot, white and silver tree is being sponsored by St. John Medical Center and Five Guys at the Promenade at Crocker Park. In addition to wishes, the tree also features family photos, holiday greetings and messages of support from area professionals. “We invite you to take a few minutes and view the Wishing Tree as you are shopping during this busy time of year. I think it will give you a new perspective,” said Rintamaki.
Additional messages will be added to the tree once a week. If you would like to purchase a leaf for $10, simply visit cfk.gobigfundraising.com. All proceeds are 100% tax deductible and benefit Connecting for Kids. Monies raised will be used to fund free, parent education programming in the coming year.
Connecting for Kids offers education and support for families with questions or concerns about their child, with a focus on children birth through age 12. A formal diagnosis, such as an autism spectrum disorder or ADHD, is not required to receive information or participate in Connecting for Kids’ programs. If your child is struggling, you’re not alone. Connecting for Kids can help.
Lorilynn Wolf is Communications Director at Connecting for Kids.