Special Needs Caregiver Support Group

I would like to introduce Beth Kimmel.

She and her family are members at the Vista. She has started and is leading our Special Needs Caregivers support group that meets every second Sunday of the month after first service.  Even if you don’t have a child with special needs, you should stop in room 109 sometime.  I know they would love to have you.   Beth has very quickly become an invaluable resource in the last few months as we have slowly introduced some elements on Sunday morning that will help support children who have special needs.  She has boundless energy and seemingly unending patience with my constant questions! Here are some things about Beth and her family:

1. Tell me a little bit about you and your family.

Rob (husband) and I are both Texas A&M graduates and have been married (and living the Army life) for 15 years.  Our boys are Noah (11) and Caleb (9).  Noah was diagnosed with a severe brain malformation when I was 20 weeks pregnant.  We were told that there was just not enough brain structure present to support life, and that he would die in utero or very soon after birth.  He was born 9 weeks early and immediately flown to MU Children’s Hospital in Columbia, MO where he spent three months in NICU.  Throughout his early years, he faced many medical challenges: multiple surgeries, seizures, more hospitalizations, ventilator dependence and developmental delays.  The life of a family caring for a special needs child can be extremely isolating–it’s just more difficult to get out and socialize, but it can also be intensely unifying.  When we meet other families facing similar struggles, we feel an instant connection, for we know exactly how overwhelmed they feel, but also how magnified is the love for that child.

2. How has support from other caregivers helped you and Noah?
Through the years, we have met several special needs families who have provided us with encouragement, resources, and joy as we shared in the unique accomplishments of our children.  We have celebrated with them when their child took his first steps at age 9, they rejoiced with us when Noah ate a chocolate cupcake last year–the first food he’d ever voluntarily put in his mouth, and grieved with the families whose children died too soon.
3.  Why are you leading this support group? Do you have a sort of “mission statement” as you look ahead?
I would love for “Caregiver Families” at the Vista to become a source of support and encouragement for each other–to listen to each other’s concerns and struggles, to celebrate each other’s joys and successes, to share resources and suggestions that may help make the road a little easier for the next family on this journey, and to pray for specific guidance and blessing over each family.
So there you have it. Thank you Kimmel family for being willing to share your insight, struggle and wisdom.  To the rest of our Vista family, visit the group if you can, pray for them if you can’t, and if you are interested in being a buddy for a child with special needs on Sunday morning, email me at beth@thevistacommunity.com!