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Here's one of many inspiring stories from the East LA Center:
Caroline is 19 years old and first came to AbilityFirst when she was 7 1/2. At the time, she was not fully mobile and used a wheelchair. Caroline has two rare disorders which affect her body growth and development, meaning she communicates using some sign language and head nods.
AbilityFirst programs have helped Denise realize Caroline could do things that she never thought possible, like enjoying a movie at the theatre, shopping with her mom at the grocery store or being able to take a walk down the street! One afternoon several years ago when Denise came to pick up Caroline from the center, she watched with joy as Caroline climbed the jungle gym in the East LA center's backyard. Climbing was something Denise never thought she would see Caroline do! And Caroline has had several unique milestones in the last nearly decade including learning to feed herself, having positive interactions with her peers, learning how to swim and having increased mobility. As Denise shares, "When I pick her up from AbilityFirst, she will run back to the staff and will not want to leave!" As a mother, that is a good sign that your child loves the experience.
During the summer, Caroline attends AbilityFirst Camp Paivika, a fully-accessible overnight camp situated in the San Bernardino mountains. This is when Caroline's care givers, including her mom, have a chance to rest and recharge while Caroline enjoys camp activities, like horseback riding and arts and crafts.