Although much recent attention has been focused on back to school plans, it's important to remember there is still some summer left! For little kiddos, summer means plenty of outside play time, exploring and having fun.
But it seems as if play has taken a back seat to technology and more structured activities. Days are programmed instead of offering time for free play. And with many parents facing the reality of online learning, how can you make sure that play is a part of your child's day with all of that screen time? First, it's worth noting why play is so important.
Play helps with development
Play helps children learn physical, cognitive and social skills, all of which are critical to their development. It's also believed by some experts that play may actually contribute to the structural design of the brain; that play can create a brain that has more potential for learning throughout a person's life.
Play teaches discovery
Play is one of the first opportunities children have to explore their surroundings and investigate how things work, sound and move. This type of play helps children use their brain in lots of different ways as they explore the meaning of things. Play surrounding the use of the imagination, or "playing pretend," also assists with promoting self-expression, creativity and self-confidence.
Play helps children grow emotionally
We all can think of a time when we've set a goal, worked hard to reach it and felt a sense of accomplishment. Play for children can present the same feeling. A child might be nervous about making it all the way across the monkey bars, but they work at it, make it across and have a feeling of pride. The fear melts away and is replaced with a booted self-esteem. It is instances like these that occur during play that contributes to a child's emotional growth.
Getting Your Kids to Play
Facilitating play doesn't require expensive toys or manuals to read. It's simply letting your child safely explore their world.
Consider using things you already have to help promote play. Items like cardboard boxes, plastic food containers, milk carton caps, pillows, scratch paper, art supplies and blankets can all be turned into something with a little imagination. Really, the sky is the limit.
Soak up the remainder of the summer by getting your kids outside to play. Here are few ideas to consider:
Outdoor options for play
Play games like tag or sack races. Better yet, make up your own game!
Give outdoor yoga a try.
Explore your local park or nature preserve. Count the birds or see how many colors you can find.
Give your child a small garden shovel and see what they dig up! Or, if you have a family garden, give them an area in your yard to create their own imaginary one.
Make an obstacle course - who can be the most creative?
Living in uncertain times has made a lasting impact on people and the communities they live in, from the smallest child to the seasoned senior, and from small businesses, to big box stores. And somewhere in all of this lives the nonprofit.
When you think of nonprofits, you probably tend to think of the ones that are quite visible to the community like food pantries, animal shelters or ones that deal with disease or illness. But there are many that you don't see, all working for their cause or mission, with the goal of serving, advocating and making the community better.
With the uncertainty of the past several months, nonprofit organizations, now more than ever, are being asked to do more with less. But, just what do nonprofits do?
The role of the nonprofit in your community
It's important to note that nonprofits come in all shapes and sizes. From national organizations with local community chapters, to those with a regional reach, to a small, one-person show.
Nonprofits, while serving a specific cause, also contribute to the greater good:
Nonprofits provide critical services, goods and resources to meet the needs of their immediate community.
Nonprofits serve as a voice for the people they serve and can act as agents of change regarding local and state policy development.
Nonprofits contribute to the area economy and provide jobs.
Nonprofits build community by bringing together people they serve with staff, volunteers and donors, creating advocates and new leaders.
Let's go back to the notion mentioned earlier regarding the fact there are many nonprofits people probably aren't even aware of. It's not for a lack of interest or education, but simply, there are just a lot of nonprofits to get to know. In fact, according to GuideStar, a nonprofit reporting agency, there are close to 1,000 nonprofit organizations in Green Bay alone, and nearly 40,000 throughout the state.
Chances are you have already been impacted by a nonprofit group. Have you ever visited a thrift store? Donated blood? Were you a Boy Scout or Girl Scout? Have you traveled to a state park? Yep, all of those services and programs are run or maintained by a nonprofit organization. There are even nonprofits that you may not need now, but may need later in life.
No matter the size, many nonprofits have either seen a recent surge in the need for services and they are unsure of how to meet the demand, or on the flip side, they have seen a decrease in services, leaving the future unknown. Either way, it's clear that our area nonprofits need our help.
Whether it's through a donation, offering to volunteer, or even sharing news from their social media channels with your friends, nonprofits are in need of community champions right now. Take a moment to touch base with your favorite nonprofit, or perhaps research one that might have special meaning or interest to you and ask how you can get involved.
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July 27 - 31 marks the fifth year of No Limits week, a collaborative disability awareness event with CP, ASPIRO and Curative Connections. While the week will look different this year due to COVID-19, the message is the same: to show others that having a disability isn't a limitation on being an active part of the community.
There are more opportunities than ever for people with disabilities to engage in community activities, attend school and find meaningful employment. But even with those societal advances, there is still the issue of one's personal discomfort with getting to know someone with a disability. This discomfort doesn't come from not wanting to interact, but rather, being unsure of howto interact. So, just how do you talk to someone with a disability?
An easy way to think about it is to consider the words we use to describe disabilities. As we know from recent experiences in our country, words are very powerful tools. The language we use to describe someone usually creates an attitude. When speaking about a person with a disability, there is proper and improper terminology.
Talking to someone with a disability starts by saying hello!
Words to avoid include:
retard or retarded
confined to a wheelchair
The phrase "people first language" recognizes that someone is a person first, and the disability is a part of, but not the whole person. Refer to the individual first, then to his or her disability when it is relevant and appropriate. Consider these examples: Person First Language:
person who uses a wheelchair
person with a disability
person with a mental illness
person who is blind
When it comes to speaking with someone with a disability, there are a few things to keep in mind that can ease some of the pressure.
First, approach the person just like you would anyone else. Speak to an adult as an adult. Talk directly to the person using the wheelchair, rather than someone else such as a caregiver. Just because they are in a wheelchair doesn't mean they can't understand or interact with you.
Depending on their communication ability, you may not understand the person right away. That is totally okay, just ask them to repeat what they said and be patient. Some folks communicate using a device they key their message into which can take time. Again, just be patient and let them finish their thought instead of trying to guess what they want to say.
While you are talking, don't lean or hang on the person's wheelchair. It invades their personal space.
In addition, you might have to adjust how you communicate in order to better connect with the person. This includes using more direct language, making solid eye contact and keeping the message simple.
Taking the time to get to know someone with a disability isn't a one sided affair. It can open you both up to an entirely new experience that is rewarding and meaningful while creating a new and lasting friendship.
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When most people think of physical therapy, they tend to think of a typical clinic setting in a medical office with different exercises and equipment. While traditional physical therapy is an effective treatment option, aquatic therapy may open a door for those looking for an alternative, or complement, to the therapy they are already doing.
If land-based exercise or therapy isn't an option for you due to the nature of your condition or injury, getting in the pool may be of benefit. Aquatic therapy can be helpful for a host of medical issues including:
Joint and chronic pain
Pre and post-surgical recovery
The key with water - especially warm water - is that it provides muscle relaxation. Once the muscles are relaxed, you may find you are able to do more in the water with less pain and have a greater range of motion. Decreased muscle tension also increases the ability to stretch muscles which means you are able to try, and be successful with, new exercises and in turn can increase your heart rate and overall cardiovascular health.
Working in the water also helps you "buy back" gravity. Aquatic specialists and therapists may start your therapy in the deep end of the pool, where you are completely buoyant and exercises are easier to perform. As you progress, you'll work toward the shallow end, reintroducing a bit of gravity each time as you build adequate strength. Doing this allows you to work at your pace and progress when you are ready and able to.
Warm pool temperatures help to decrease pain which allow increased blood flow which in turn increases healing.
Aquatic exercise can be an energy-intensive work out because you are forced to use more energy to perform each exercise. The resistance of the water allows for increased strengthening and core activation with every movement.
Compression of the water can help with swelling of lower extremities and improve circulation.
Aquatic therapy is also quite versatile and can be done as a part of your current therapy plan, or on your own as a continuation of work you've already done. Options of who to work with are also plentiful, and can include a physical therapist trained in aquatic therapy, an adaptive aquatic specialist or a specialized group class.
If you are seeking another therapy option, talk to your doctor or current therapist about treatment options and if aquatic therapy is among them. Not only can aquatic therapy be beneficial to your overall treatment and health, it can be a fun experience to look forward to doing!
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What to Look for in a Pediatric Physical Therapist
July 14, 2020 9:34 am
There are several reasons why a child may need pediatric physical therapy. It can be due to a developmental delay, an orthopedic condition like scoliosis or recovery from a broken bone, or due to a congenital condition such as Down syndrome, spina bifida or cerebral palsy.
A pediatric physical therapist is specifically trained to work with children and families to provide services specific to each child's needs that improve motor skills, range of motion, balance and coordination and other skills. The goal is to help each child improve their quality of life and ease the challenges of daily caregiving.
Once you've determined with your doctor that physical therapy is a good treatment option for your child, the work to find the right pediatric physical therapist begins. Moving forward with a physical therapist within your medical provider group is a possibility, but, there are different therapy options available. Investigate your choices before you decide by considering the following:
Basic physical therapy principles are applied.
Pediatric physical therapy can be a bit tricky. It isn't as simple as giving the patient a set of exercises and asking them to execute. In most cases that strategy won't work on a giggly, wiggly kiddo. A good pediatric physical therapist will know how to apply basic physical therapy principles through play-based activities that will keep your child engaged and working without really knowing it.
In order to do this effectively, the therapist will need a small arsenal of options and be able to think and adjust on the fly as the attitude and temperament of a child can change quickly.
You receive a treatment plan you can understand.
For any therapy to be effective, a treatment plan needs to be developed. The details of the plan will vary from child to child, but fundamentally, the plan should identify goals for your child that you and the physical therapist have determined together and that you have a clear understanding of before moving ahead. The plan should also grow with your child's progress and be reevaluated as needed to decide if new goals should be developed or if your child has accomplished what they set out to complete.
It's important to note that physical therapy doesn't only take place in a clinic setting. While the appointment with the physical therapist is part of your child's success, how your child continues with exercises and strategies outside of a clinic setting is just as important. Be sure that part of the treatment plan includes tips and exercises you can help your child complete at home, as well as what you should be looking for the exercise to accomplish. Being able to share what you've worked on and how your child responded when you meet up at your next appointment can help your therapist determine progress and what to continue working on in the clinic.
Take a tour of a physical therapy clinic.
Part of your research in finding the right physical therapist should include looking at the space in which they work and deciding if it's an environment that will best suit your child's needs and personality. Most clinics are willing to provide a tour and answer questions about how therapy appointments typically work, so feel free to call or request a tour. While you're there, ask to meet at therapist, or request to meet one through video meeting. Sometimes asking questions directly to a therapist can help in your decision making while establishing a personal connection with the therapist.
In addition, you'll want to ask a clinic about insurance and how claims are submitted.
When it comes to finding the right pediatric physical therapist for your child, leave no stone unturned. There are more options available to parents than ever before, so taking the time to research your options can make all of the difference and give you piece of mind you've made the right choice for your child.
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Tips to Help Celebrate the 4th of July with Your Child with Sensory Issues
June 29, 2020 8:13 am
As with just about everything this summer, the 4thof July probably won't look the same as it has in the past. And while parades, backyard cookouts and big community celebrations may be modified or cancelled, that doesn't mean the day won't be celebrated. There will still be fireworks, and perhaps you'll attend appropriately socially distanced picnics.
If you have a child with sensory processing challenges, the 4th of July can be a stressful time, no matter how people are planning to celebrate the holiday. It can be overwhelming, especially if family traditions are changing into something new. But there are ways to help your child navigate their feelings and bodies so they can be involved in the fun:
Spend Time Talking About Your Plans
Speaking with your child about plans you have for the day can help prepare them for what's coming up. Talking about how long things will take, where you are going, what you'll be doing and who will be there are all good starting points. Some children respond well to a countdown calendar, which can be a fun way to lead up to the celebration.
No matter how you do it, discussing plans with your child beforehand can help them feel better about what's coming up on the big day. You know your child best, so you are the right person to determine how much to share and when to share it.
Plan Alternate Activities
If there won't be a yard full of neighborhood kids or family this year you might need to come up with your own activities to celebrate the 4th. Making sensory based projects with a patriotic twist can help fill the void and offer up some fun play time with your child. A quick search on Pinterest will provide you with lots of ideas that incorporate materials like slime, shaving cream, water, rice and other things you likely have in your pantry. Or, if it would be best for your child to forgo holiday festivities this year, consider having a movie night at home complete with a few patriotic snacks.
Get Your Child Involved
If you are attending any kind of festivities, or perhaps hosting one yourself, find ways to get your child involved in the preparation. Asking them to help with a few small tasks can better prepare them for what's to come. Simple tasks like setting up chairs around the fire pit, or packing a bag not only allows them to contribute, but helps prepare for the fun.
Have Familiar Things on Hand
Festivities can be full of new experiences, new foods, unfamiliar sounds and lots of people, all of which can heighten anxiety for someone with sensory issues. Having a familiar snack or drink on hand may help to calm things down and provide the consistency your child may be looking for.
In addition, consider establishing a "safe place" where your child knows they can go if they start to feel overwhelmed. Find a quiet spot away from the bustle where you can set up a chair or blanket. You may want to include a favorite toy or book as well.
No matter how you celebrate this 4th of July, it's going to look different, which might prove to be overwhelming for a child with sensory processing challenges, Taking time to prepare them for what to expect can help make the celebration fun and can go a long way to ensure that everyone enjoys the holiday.
Get those walking shoes on people! The 4th Annual Forsite Benefits Move challenge is not too far off. CP is thrilled to once again be the charity partner for this fun company vs. company step challenge in September.
The Move challenge is great way to fuel a competitive spirit while staying active. Steps are tracked by using the Forsite Benefit's corporate wellness mobile app. Anyone with a tracking device like a Fitbit, Garmin, Apple Watch or smart phone and a pair of shoes can participate!
The Move challenge is a great employee event as it's something that everyone can do on their own, or in small groups, but contributes to the overall team. Teams track their average daily steps and compete against others racing to achieve the highest average daily step count. Look at it this way, you can practice social distancing, get some exercise and help a local nonprofit at the same time!
And - BONUS - teams averaging 10,000+ steps during September will walk their way into the 10k Club and CP will receive an additional donation. The top three teams and all 10k Club members will be recognized at the closing ceremony celebration. Last year's celebration was held at Badger State Brewing Company, a perfect venue to recognize everyone who stepped up to the challenge.
This will be the second year that CP has been the charity partner for the Move challenge and we even put our own team together (look out). We are so grateful for organizations like Forsite and their creative ways to help bolster area nonprofits. We are just as grateful for all of the teams that participate, too!
Registration for the Move challenge starts TODAY! You can get all of the details HERE and register your team for this year's event!
We hope to see you and your colleagues out walking in September!
The International Day of Yoga is on June 21. This day, which is also the longest day of the year, has been celebrated since 2015 with people all over the world bending and twisting together in a class, or in their own practice. At CP, we've been incorporating the practice of yoga into our childcareand adult program for a while now, so it seemed fitting to highlight these programs, just ahead of the day that celebrates yoga around the globe.
Children's Yoga & CP Early Education & Care
Yoga has long been shown as an effective way to reduce stress for children, which is one of the reasons why CP Early Education & Care has made it a part of their curriculum for older kids. The class tries to practice at least twice a week, using books and flashcards to help make it fun and kid friendly. Just check out a few of our childcare kiddos in action:
Practicing yoga at an early age also teaches kids body awareness and gets them active without being competitive with others, leaving more room to teach compassion, sharing and develop friendships.
The best part is that our childcare kiddos find yoga fun and a real highlight to the week.
Yogabilities in Adult Day Services
Yoga has proven to be just as effective for clients in our Adult Program as well. Yogabilities is a newer class that was introduced about a year ago and has been popular among clients.
For those with disabilities, yoga offers many physical benefits, the main one being an opportunity to stretch muscles, especially for those who spend a majority of their time in a wheelchair. The stretching done in yoga can help with range of motion and help prevent muscle stiffness as well.
Mental benefits are also plentiful. In addition to stretching, yoga offers an opportunity to focus on the breath, creating a calming and relaxing environment that has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety. This works especially well with some clients with sensory processing issues who do better in a calm environment.
Yoga is a great practice because of its adaptability. Poses can be modified as needed depending on flexibility, range of motion, whether the person is in a wheelchair or has more mobility. A yoga practice may also aide in helping clients achieve other physical goals such as standing or walking as yoga can help improve strength and stamina.
But perhaps one of the best things about yoga is how empowering it can be. With yoga, the client starts where they're at in their current level of functioning and move toward meeting goals from there. It's a perfect representation of what we do in all of our adult classes at CP: help build not only physical strength but self-confidence.
Yoga has infused positivity, a sense of calm and self-confidence throughout CP, and we are fortunate to have partners and staff to help make it happen. To them, and everyone that practices yoga, we celebrate International Day of Yoga with you!
It's hard to believe that it was just over a month ago when we reached out through social media and asked our community to share what they were thankful for as CP took part in #GivingTuesdayNow. It seems like so much has happened since then, and it has. We've all made it through the safer at home order (complicated by a whirlwind supreme court decision), CP reopened its doors a bit differently for clients and families and our country and communities have been shaken with recent national events regarding racism.
Back on May 5, during #GivingTuesdayNow, we celebrated all we were thankful for. As you sent in your messages that day, we developed a Thankful Wall at CP, literally filling up a wall in our conference room with your words of thanks. It was an amazing morning and it was a great representation that we all have so much to be thankful for.
As I was taking down the messages from friends, family and staff who helped us construct our Thankful Wall the other day, I started to wonder, in light of current events, what were we hopeful for?
So I brought the question to some of our folks at CP and I received some great answers. It seemed only appropriate to combine a reminder of what we were thankful for with what we are hopeful for. The message turned out to be a strong one:
Thank you to our community and CP friends and family who contributed to the notion that while we are all different, we are all hopeful.
Videos That Made a Difference During COVID (and even now)
June 1, 2020 10:32 am
While CP opened its doors last Tuesday, we aren't quite back to where we were before COVID-19 changed the way we do things. Families and clients are understandably taking extra precautions to ensure safety, which has meant a slower progression back to CP and services for some. In the end, deciding what to do, when it is safe to venture out and where to venture to, is a very personal decision.
Recalling just a short time ago during our safer at home hiatus, our Adult Day Services staff came together and started creating class videos highlighting activities that would have normally been done at CP. From a DIY lava lamp to practicing daily basic stretches, the videos covered a lot of ground. And while nothing beats doing these activities together in a classroom, they did provide clients with some engagement while being at home.
And while CP is open, and while we wait for others to come back when they are ready, the videos are still proving useful and are providing a way for those still at home to participate in some fun and educational activities.
We've even created a library of all of the videos on CP's website. The Video Resources & Activities page offers an ample supply of projects anyone can do from home, at any time, or just when you'd like to try something new.
But there is something else these videos have created. Although they were developed with connecting to the client in mind, we've done something else - connected even more with our community. It's been entertaining to read the comments as these videos have been posted to Facebook. From a client simply sending a virtual wave to their favorite instructor, to a family - who doesn't even come to CP - sharing the end result of the craft project they created, the engagement has been amazing and has made us all feel as if we weren't too far apart after all.
What started as a staff effort to keep clients engaged, has turned into so much more. These aren't just videos - it's a lifeline, a way to feel united and another way to feel safe by seeing a familiar face or having something new to do. We've ended up contributing to our community - in a way that is very CP.
Who knew an 8 minute video recorded on a phone could have so much impact? Thanks to our CP staff for taking the time to share their skills to everyone.
Like many businesses and organizations in Northeast Wisconsin, we reopened the doors of CP today. And, just like others, we reopened a bit differently than before. Face masks, temperature taking and social distancing have become the sudden norm. We do this, not out of fear of COVID-19, but to do our part to protect clients, families and staff for as long as needed.
For the last several weeks, our team has worked to develop a plan of operating in the new normal, taking all of the important health factors into consideration. We developed new guidelines, policies and safety measures. We consulted the CDC and county health departments. We have sought advice from
area medical providers, just to be certain what we were putting in place was the right course of action. We spent time combing over details, questioning how to put policy into practice, gathering supplies and putting up signage. Finally, after weeks of work, we felt ready to safely reopen.
And what happened when we opened a few hours ago? A few bumps in getting people through the door, sure, but we overwhelmingly saw so many more welcoming cheers from staff who haven't seen each other in two months, big smiles from clients who are so happy to be back and just a general sense of excitement from everyone about being at CP and ready to work, just in a new way. This vibrant energy easily took the spotlight away from new safety procedures. In fact, it was almost surprising to see all of this elation around the building, but it really shouldn't have been. We were so focused on making sure we were reopening safely, that it was easy to forget that when you get people together, it brings a totally different dynamic. Our team and clients were simply ready to be back, masks and all. It's a new vibe, but a very, very good vibe around CP today.
And while the safety of everyone at CP will always be our top priority, we won't let that turn into fear and we certainly won't let that stop our clients from making the gains they've been working so hard toward.
This morning reminded our team that what we are facing isn't insurmountable. We just have to find another way over the hill. We are here, ready to help clients meet their goals, and celebrate every milestone achieved. We have a rejuvenated love and commitment to the community we've been so proud to be a part of for more than 65 years and we are committed, more than ever, to helping everyone live the life they want and go beyond what they thought possible.
Last week we all had a lot to be thankful for. And more the 80 of you shared your messages of thanks with CP during #GivingTuesdayNow. Messages that we posted to our thankful wall right at CP. And to end the day, we announced a gift matching opportunity. Donations made to CP would be matched (up to $3000) by the Kris Van Dinter family. You can still make your donation if you'd like.
In the end, our #GivingTuesdayNow virtual event turned out pretty amazing. You never know what you are going to get from virtual participation, and this far exceeded our expectations. To me, it was proof that not only are we really in this together, but we are all excited and looking forward to being at CP again soon.
Speaking of which, our leadership team continues to work on a plan to reopen the doors of CP when it is safe to do so. When we do, daily operations might look a bit different, but together we'll get there and find our new normal, keeping in mind our end goal of helping everyone live the lives they want to live.
But until then, our very creative staff have done the next best thing by creating videos of different activities to share with all of you. You'll find a new video posted most days on CP's Facebook page, but you can browse the entire library on CP's Video Resources & Activities page. From making guacamole to moon sand, you'll find easy and fun projects you can do at home. While we'd love to have clients back to do all of these fun activities in class, this is the next best thing.
For now, stay well and stay safer at home, everyone. Remember, we'll be together again soon, and that every day, there truly is something to be thankful for.
Next Tuesday is #GivingTuesdayNow, a global day of giving and unity. While the day was created in response to the pandemic we are all facing, it can - and should be - seen as something so much more.
At CP, we are choosing to participate by asking our friends and family to take time that morning and share on Facebook what they are thankful for. It can be something simple like: I'm thankful for my family, I'm thankful for delivery drivers, I'm thankful for sunny days. We are going to collect all of those messages and create a Thankful Wall right at CP. Our hope is that by the end of the day, our wall will be full of thanks.
It's amazing how something so simple, like sharing what we are thankful for, can bring us together. That's the hope with next Tuesday. That despite being apart for so long, we'll be able to see, quite literally, that we are all still connected by simply giving thanks.
We all have had more time on our hands these days and we hope that you take a few minutes and share a message with us.
If you'd like, you can download our I'm thankful for... template to write your message on. Then snap a quick photo and share it with CP's Facebook page (or make sure to tag us). If you can't access the template, no worries, a scrap of paper will do the trick. Or, if you're in the mood, we'd love to see a video. We just hope that you'll take a moment to share.
We'll also be going live on Facebook throughout the morning to give updates on how our wall is filling out and we'll have a few special guests share what they are thankful for as well.
Because after all of this is over, after we get used to a new normal, we'll have a lot to be thankful for.
What's Been Inspiring You? I Have a Few Suggestions...
Apr. 7, 2020 11:47 am
So, we are on day ??? of the safer at home order in Wisconsin. How are we all doing? I know it's hard. For some, it's harder than you thought, and although we know staying at home is the right thing to do, it can feel like you are reaching your limit. At some point, we crave interacting with people, getting back to a routine, doing things, going places. All those feelings are completely valid and totally understandable, but we need to hold tight just a bit longer.
I've seen both sides the COVID-19 effect, mainly on social media, but also around where I live. People are either totally engaged, crafting away, trying new recipes and taking walks, or they are going stir crazy, binge watching whatever is on Netflix and worrying about gaining the "pandemic 19" from sitting on the couch and letting eating habits slide.
The important thing to remember is that it doesn't have to be one or the other. You don't have to be a Pinterest project champ (I'm talking to you, Pinterest class people) or a complete couch potato all the time. There can, and most likely will be, days during this time when you are both, and that is okay. One day you might be willing to tackle that bathroom painting project (still getting myself psyched up for that), and on another, you might decide that watching all 22 episodes of season three of Private Practice is a great idea (don't judge).
What I'm saying is don't criticize yourself too harshly here. We've never been through something like this before, so just take one day at a time. Be aware of your feelings. If you're becoming sad or lonely, or just not yourself, look for help. But know that how you are feeling right now, is okay.
Remember the good that is happening right now. It may not be a perfect world, but there have been some pretty cool and inspiring things that have come from all of this. Have you seen any episodes of Some Good News with John Krasinski on Facebook? This makeshift newscast by Krasinski, with graphics designed by his kids, is all about focusing on the good things happening in the world right now - and it's kind of funny. Watch if you can.
Closer to home, a friend of CP, Dan Rafferty (half of the NEW Piano Guys) is holding Facebook live by request shows a few times a week on his page, Play It Again, Dan. The first time he did it was somewhat impromptu and was only supposed to last 30 minutes, but turned into two hours. It's a great way to spend some time with family and listen to some great music. I highly recommend.
Just outside my door, my neighbors have been busy decorating every inch of the sidewalk in front of their house with inspirational messages. These are great daily reminders. In fact, I've seen messages like this all around my neighborhood when I take my dogs for a walk.
Speaking of which, how can you not smile at these faces?
No matter if your agenda today involves making a baked Alaska or watching someone else do it during episode 118 of the Great British Baking Show, just know that it's okay. Tomorrow is a new day and there is a lot to look forward to as we stay safer at home, and remind ourselves that we are doing this for everyone, including the clients and families at CP that we so dearly miss.
What are some of the things that have inspired you, or have been helping you through all of this? Please share in the Facebook post I shared this message in. I've love to see them.
As you many know, on Monday, CP decided to keep all of our locations closed through April 24, per Governor Evers' Saferat Home order. It was a tough decision, but after talking as a staff and reaching out to some of our clients, we felt this was really the best action to take for the safety and well being of everyone.
Speaking of that, I know a lot of people are home right now, and it might be getting a bit old. How many more movies can you watch, how many more puzzles can you put together? I know I had the realization yesterday of what am I going to do to keep busy at home for a month? I have work, which helps, but what about at night or on the weekends? Luckily, I have two teenagers who, for the most part, keep themselves busy, but even they get bored and need something to do outside of online learning. It was a lot more overwhelming than I thought, really.
But then I thought about our clients - the people that CP serves every day. The infants, the seniors, the kiddos who are medically fragile, those who have compromised immune systems. It's so easy to forget why you are staying at home when the reason may not be sitting in front of you. Well, I'm here to remind you that you are not only staying home for our clients, but for the countless others who may not be as strong as you and I are to fight off a virus like COVID-19. For them, this is a very real and very scary situation.
I did some checking in last week with some of our team to see how everyone was doing, and the reports were pretty good. Lots of folks are finding a new normal - a new routine as we ride out all of this. But there was certainly an underlying theme: they all miss coming to CP and seeing their friends. Pool patrons have shared on Facebook on how they miss coming to the pool to take their class and see people they know. Families are missing their weekly visits with their therapist and interacting with other families. And in speaking with a lot of our staff last week, I know they are missing being at CP, too. But everyone also understands the importance of keeping everyone safer at home.
My take away from that is, if we are going to be apart for at least a month (for some of us longer), then we should all be doing our part to help stop the spread of COVID-19. You know the drill - wash your hands, sanitize everything, practice social distancing and only leave your house when you absolutely have to. I get it, being cooped up is hard and as the days start to get nicer, it will be more difficult, but please - just stay home. What's a few weeks, when the end game is being able to open the doors of CP again and welcome back all of our clients?
In the meantime, I've been trying to make sure we are staying connected with our community using Facebook. I've been calling on our staff to share photos and videos about what they've been doing while we are closed. Now I'm talking to our team specifically: Now that we'll be closed through April 24, I'm hoping I can get some of our staff to share videos on what they would have been doing in class - maybe a cooking video, showing a craft project, or something with music or exercise. Maybe its tips on staying mobile while at home, sensory activities or something else. Maybe its just encouraging words you want to share with our clients to keep them motivated.
I know it's hard to get in front of a camera, and I'm not asking for anything fancy or perfectly edited. Just be yourself. I think it would mean a lot to our clients to see you again and would make the connection to CP just that more real. Just email me and we can talk about ideas. Okay, enough of that.
Just make sure to do all you can to keep yourself and our communities safe through all of this. It's amazing how simply staying at home can make such a big difference. If we all do it correctly, we'll be back at CP before you know it. Back riding bikes down the hallways, jumping in ball pits, playing on the playground, working out in the pool - and safer and stronger together. Stay well #saferathome.
As many of you know, CP made the decision to close all of our locations through Friday, April 3 to ensure the health and safety of our clients, families and staff while we all navigate through COVID-19. Although it was a difficult decision, it was the right one to make.
So, I'm sitting at home, Friday, March 20, trying to figure out my new normal. If I were in my office, I'd be drafting the blog post for the upcoming Monday. But as I write this from my makeshift work station at home, I find that difficult to do. What do you write about, talk about, when you aren't physically there? So I figured I'd do the next best thing - tell you what I was going to write about over the next two weeks.
Monday, March 23
Today was going to be all about CP's Aquatic Center. Our spring registration (which is now on hold) was starting to take off and many of our patrons and new families were coming in to register for fitness classes, swim lessons and specialized exercise. The Aquatic Center is open to the public, so it's always nice to see new faces mixed in with our "regulars" during class registration time.
Spring is a great time to get the kids enrolled in swim lessons so they are ready for summer swimming fun. For others, there is just something about being in a warm water pool that makes you feel good while helping to build balance, strength and coordination through aquatic exercise. Now, I'd normally post a photo of kids having fun in the pool, or perhaps a group fitness class taking place. But, alas, I'm not at CP, so this photo simulation will have to do.
In all sincerity, when we get back at it - and we will - you'll have to stop by the Aquatic Center yourself to take in all of the action. We're a pretty busy place with classes designed for every age. Register for a class while you're there, too!
Monday, March 30
This post was going to promote CP's YouTube channel. Did you know we even had one? We are working hard in 2020 to provide content that will be helpful not only to current CP families, but for families everywhere. It's our way to extend our reach beyond Northeast Wisconsin. We have a pretty amazing staff who are knowledgeable about topics including adaptive equipment, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, sensory activities, play based learning, aquatic physical therapy and adaptive technology. Our team also has experience working with a variety of conditions including autism, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, MS, traumatic brain injuries, post-stroke, and even cases where there isn't a specific diagnosis.
The March 30 post was going to show our latest video, which has unfortunately been suspended due to reasons we all know too well. It was going to feature our Adult Day Services program and the kitchen class sharing a recipe. We'll still get it posted - just at a later date. For now, you can check out our most recent video on using adaptive equipment:
My sincere hope that is these are the only two blog posts that we will miss. I'll think of something to post on March 30 (today is taken care of), even if it can't be what I talked about above. Feel free to subscribe to our blog by sharing your email as well, so that when we do get back to normal, you won't miss anything.
To everyone: be well, stay safe. I think everyone at CP - clients and staff alike - are missing each other a lot right now. You should head over to CP's Facebook page and check out what everyone is doing while we are closed. In this trying time, our clients and staff have found wonderful ways to get through all of this with laughter, fun and grace.
Stay healthy and safe.
UPDATE: As we have learned the last few weeks, things change quite rapidly. There is now news of yet another change for WI regarding COVID-19. Please stay safe everyone. Perhaps I'll have to think of another post for week three after all.
Well, this certainly isn't the blog post that I thought I'd be sharing this week. COVID-19 has certainly kept us busy creating plans and sharing information, only to have them change a few moments later. CP certainly isn't alone in this - my personal email inbox has been full of updates and changes over the last week from school, businesses and restaurants. I think we are all just trying to manage the best we can with the information we have. And so, life goes on...
CP has made some decisions regarding our programming due to COVID-19 that we'd like to tell you about. Today, Wednesday, March 18 at 5pm through Friday, April 3, all of CP's facilities will close. This includes our Green Bay, Kimberly and Two Rivers locations.
We did not take the importance of this decision lightly. We understand that many families rely on CP to care for their loved ones. However, after much discussion, we thought it was necessary in order to protect the health of our clients, families and staff, which is, and always will be, our top priority.
What will happen after Friday, April 3?
Unfortunately, no one really knows what will happen. Although it feels like we finally have a minute to catch our breath, everything could change again. After the two weeks are concluded, CP will assess the situation before making decisions about programming. Those decisions will be communicated as quickly as possible.
With everything going on, CP would like to thank our clients, families and especially our amazing team of employees for standing with us through it all.
More changes may lie ahead, but with such amazing support, there isn't anything we can't overcome.
Well, another CP Telethon is done and, yet again, we have so much to be thankful for. $1,458,664 reasons to be exact.
From the performances, to the hosts, WBAY, the VIPs, our own CP team and, of course, everyone who called in and donated, it all just came together.
Not only did we break another fundraising record, we had one of our best shows yet, with dance and music performances all by local groups and organizations. But one of the real highlights had to be our live remotes that featured CP programs and our in-studio interviews highlighting some pretty amazing clients and the gains they have made. Looking back, now two days post-Telethon, it was a weekend to be proud of.
Our biggest thanks of all needs to go to our community and the people and businesses who make it a point to call in their pledge every year. From $5 to $1,000, every donation makes a real difference to our clients all year long.
So, thank you, Northeast Wisconsin, for your generosity, compassion and support of CP and our families. We couldn't have done it without you.
If you missed the weekend, you can still make a donation to the CP Telethon here.
This is an exciting time for CP. So many new projects are in the works, including our big move in the Fox Cities! Today, marks day two in our new CP Fox Cities location on Truman Street in Kimberly, and the future looks oh so bright.
After five years at our current CP Fox Cities location, we were busting at the seams and moving to a larger site was an important need. It's a small move just around the corner from our first location, but it means big things. While we now have more room for our clients, it also means we'll be able to serve even more people. But on a larger scale, it means that CP Fox Cities is here to stay, serving the Fox Cities area.
When we opened the doors five years ago, we thought the families would be lined up for services, and there were a few months of uncertainty when that didn't happen. But, we were serving a small, dedicated group of families who, along with the staff, wanted to see CP Fox Cities work.
As our name got out there and as we developed relationships, we started to see growth. It was the growth we knew could happen, but just at a slower pace than anticipated.
Today, CP is firmly embedded in the Fox Cities, providing adult day services programming for families from the communities of Appleton, Chilton, Neenah, Menasha and more. We are connected with schools and other community organizations like Fox Cities Symphony, Expressive Therapies and Fusion Martial Arts, and have become a resource that people in our community have come to know and rely on.
As we move into our larger space and open the doors, we are looking forward to welcoming more families and be even more connected with the community.
Fusion Foundation Provides Opportunity for Everyone to Dance
Feb. 10, 2020 9:41 am
There are so many great organizations in our community that provide inclusive opportunities. This week, CP wanted to highlight one of those organizations. Meet the Fusion Foundation.
The Fusion Foundation started from the idea that everyone should be able to dance, no matter the cost or person's ability. Not only does the Fusion Foundation offer dance scholarships, they also develop dance experiences for people from all walks of life. No matter the obstacle, age, set-back or disability, if someone wants to dance, the Fusion Foundation tries to bring that experience to them.
One of the programs started by the Fusion Foundation is their LEAD program. Standing for Limitless Enriched Adaptive Dance, the program provides an enriching atmosphere for children and adults with special needs to experience dance through special clinics, field trips and community dance classes.
Last year was CP's first time partnering with the Fusion Foundation. Children and adults with special needs were invited to participate in a morning dance clinic, then everyone headed over to WBAY and performed their dance on the annual CP Telethon. It was an amazing moment, and one of the top highlights of the show.
Watching this group, who had only come together a few hours before, perform, work and help each other while having fun - at that moment, you could see CP's mission alive and thriving in every face on that stage.
It's very fulfilling to work with so many wonderful organizations in the community that are like-minded and want to offer opportunities for everyone - no matter the ability. It's even better when we can come together to make that happen.
The LEAD dance clinic will be returning to the CP Telethon on Sunday, March 8. The clinic will take place at CP that morning, and is open to children (8+) and adults with special needs. You can register at www.fusionfoundation.org. The cost is only $8 for what should be an experience to remember.
Getting to Know Deena: Adult Day Services Feature Family
Feb. 3, 2020 12:42 pm
The CP Telethon is right around the corner, and as we continue to plan the event, finalize the details and line up the entertainment, it's important to take a minute and remember what the CP Telethon is really all about.
Most think of Telethon as this big community tradition - an opportunity to thank those who have given to CP during the year, seeing friends and family on TV as they answer phones on a VIP panel and hear great live entertainment. And Telethon is all of those things.
But it's also a celebration of people. Those with disabilities, and those without. Those who make an impact every day. Those who set a goal, work hard and reach it. It's learning and understanding that people of all abilities make up the communities we live in.
That's one of the reasons why Telethon has Feature Families. A Feature Family is a client or family that represents what CP is all about. Feature Families are a reflection of the amazing human spirit we see at CP every day.
So, we'd invite you to get to know our first Feature Family a bit better: Deena, her mom, Eleanor and step-father, Ron. Deena attends CPLakeshore, CP's Adult Day Services program located in Two Rivers. There, Deena participates in classes that help her be as independent as possible, while interacting with her peers and building new skills.
Deena and her family will appear on Telethon on Sunday, March 8. We hope you can tune in to hear her story and how CP has made a difference. In the meantime, check out our sneak peek of Deena in the video below.
Next week, we'll introduce you to another Feature Family.Of course, be sure to watch the CP Telethon LIVE on WBAY on March 7 & 8 where you'll meet all of our Feature Families, our amazing staff and other clients. You'll be glad you did!
Autism is a word we hear a lot, but may not totally appreciate, and it's easy to understand why. The word autism represents many different things and can mean many different things. You may have also heard the phrase "autism spectrum." This refers to the range of conditions a child with autism may have and can include sensory processing challenges, communication issues and behavioral challenges.
For a parent, finding out their child has autism can be a daunting and scary realization. While receiving an autism diagnosis may answer some questions, a whole new set of questions start to formulate, the first on most minds being now what?
Finding the Right Autism Services
Autism services can take on many forms and can include specialized occupational therapy, physical therapy and speech-language therapy. Services can be completed in school, through out-patient therapy, a highly structured in-home program or perhaps a combination of programs. Finding autism services and the right team to develop an individualized care plan can be a lot to navigate, but resources like the parent guide shared below can be helpful.
No matter where you seek services, just about everyone will tell parents the same thing: make connections. Talk to others through a parent support group, a social media group, or whatever you are most comfortable with. These groups can be a tremendous source of support and resources as you navigate the future. Most importantly, they will remind you that you aren't alone.
2020 is well underway at CP - and you aren't going to want to miss a second of it! CP is busier than ever, with some exciting announcements to share.
CP Expands Daycare Program to Howard
CP Early Education & Care, our incisive childcare program, is opening a second location in Howard, WI this July. It's a brand new daycare site, but with the same quality programming and personalized care we've been providing children for more than 25 years. We are currently enrolling, so if you are looking for daycare services or know someone who is, contact Mary Campbell at (920) 337-1122 for more information.
A new site also means our staff is growing. CP has several daycare teacher positions available that include a hiring sign on bonus. Help us spread the word!
CP Fox Cities is Moving
In February, CP Fox Cities, our Adult Day Services program in Kimberly, WI, will be moving to a new facility. Our new site is located at 1020 Truman Street, quite close to our current building. While it's a small move around the corner, the impact for our client families is big, with almost 2,000 sq. ft. of additional space, designated classrooms, an enclosed kitchen and an upgraded sensory room.
Since we opened CP Fox Cities in 2015, we've seen steady growth. Today, we have solidified our place in the Fox Cities as a true community resource, here to help clients be as independent as possible while supporting their families.
CP Telethon March 7 & 8
Telethon season is in full swing at CP. Be sure to tune into WBAY on March 7 & 8 for a fun show with lots of entertainment and inspiring stories. Speaking of entertainment, are you looking for things to do in the Greater Green Bay area? Check out our website for more information on some awesome community events coming up over the next several weeks that are supporting CP. You'll see many of these organizations make a stop at Telethon to present a check of their fundraising efforts.
And this is just the first half of 2020! Be sure to subscribe to our blog or sign up to receive CP emails (we promised not to abuse the privilege) so you are always clued in to CP events, community events, client stories and CP updates.
The holidays may be over, but winter weather is still here, and will be for a few more months. Love it or hate it though, snow means something different when discussing winter safety and those that use a power wheelchair or other mobility equipment to get around town.
It can be very problematic for someone in a wheelchair to travel in the winter months. There is a higher risk of getting stuck in the snow, or worse, falling and getting hurt. Think of it this way: you'd be upset if the streets in your city weren't clear of snow for you to travel safely on, right? The same idea applies to sidewalks and people who use wheelchairs.
There is one simple thing you can do to help with winter wheelchair safety: be sure that sidewalks on your block and place of business are clear of snow and ice. It sounds like an easy request, but as the winter wears on, and shoveling gets old, pathways tend to get a bit narrower. Be sure to not only keep sidewalks clear, but wide enough for someone using a wheelchair to pass.
Even more neglected are curb cutouts. Curb cutouts are where the sidewalk grades down to meet the adjoining street. They are typically located at the end of street blocks and in parking areas where there is a curb. Curb cutouts make getting around more accessible for those using wheelchairs and other mobility equipment. When a cutout or parking lot isn't clear, people using a wheelchair are literally stuck, and are left with limited options, like traveling in the street, which is a safety risk.
Spending just a few extra minutes to make sure your sidewalks and curb cutouts are clear ensures that everyone traveling outside in the winter can do safely! - Comments
CP Telethon Feature Family Reveals!
Jan. 6, 2020 12:41 pm
Happy New Year from CP and welcome to 2020!
While the New Year usually means resolutions, at CP, it always means the start of planning for the annual CP Telethon. 2020 marks the 66th year for Telethon, which will broadcast live on WBAY on March 7 & 8. Not only has the CP Telethon become a local tradition over the years, it's also the longest running local telethon in the country, something CP is quite proud of.
While the Telethon is CP's largest fundraiser of the year, it also presents a unique opportunity to give the Greater Green Bay area community an inside peek at what goes on at CP every day. In addition, Telethon gives us the chance to thank the people and local businesses that support CP all year long.
During the month of January, we'll be introducing you to our four Telethon Feature Families. These are families that use CP for childcare, adult day services, therapy services and the aquatic center. Each family will be sharing their own inspirational story, and you'll learn more about each family over the coming months.
In fact, our first Feature Family is being revealed today! We invite you to meet the Kristyn Allen family, then keep a watchful eye on CP's Facebook page, as our three other Feature Families will be revealed over the next few weeks.
We also want to thank Keller, Inc., who is the presenting sponsor for Telethon for the third year in a row. Their generosity and support of CP over the last several years has been nothing short of amazing and we are excited to be working with their team again.
March will be here before you know it. Stay tuned for more Telethon updates, and subscribe to our blog for all of the latest and greatest about CP!
Although the weather doesn't reflect it (or maybe it does), it's November in Northeast Wisconsin. It's the time of year where we tend to self-reflect, give thanks and spread gratitude to others. It's a time of year when the word "giving" has more meaning.
Giving certainly has a special meaning at CP. Every day, our families, staff and clients give back, give thanks and give it all they've got. We are also fortunate to have a very giving community, which makes it possible for CP to help clients reach their goals and redefine what's possible.
All November, leading up to #GivingTuesday and beyond, is our season of THANKSgiving at CP. It's a time of year where clients excitedly share what they are grateful for, friends share why they give to CP, and we spend time thanking our community for their generosity over the last year with special treats and messages.
Check out our video just posted to Facebook. We are excited to bring you more stories as they season progresses, so be sure to like our page so you are up to date.
Our goal is to inspire others to giving thanks, for little things, for big things, for all things - as we spend time giving thanks for you. How will you give thanks this season? If you need some ideas, here are 8 ways to give THANKS for the things in your life:
Send someone a note via snail mail.
Keep a daily gratitude journal.
Thanks someone, by their name, who isn't expecting it (The bagger at the grocery story? The receptionist at the office?
Volunteer your time doing something you love.
Leave random (inspiring) notes around the house or the office.
Call someone you haven't talked to in a while.
Put cookies, cupcakes and candy in the office breakroom for one week.
This has been a long time coming, and I'm happy to say it's finally here... a CP blog! This has been a long time coming and has been in the planning stages since 2016. Why a blog? Because there is so much that happens at CP on a daily basis, so much good around every corner, so many stories to tell and share. It seemed like a blog would be the perfect vehicle.
So what can you expect to read on the blog? We will certainly share the latest on what's happening at CP - from fun events, like the recent CP Auction, to new and innovative therapies. But we'll also show you CP through the eyes of our clients, families and staff, celebrating milestones, making memories, sharing fun random moments and introducing you to some amazing people you just have to meet.
It may give someone hope,
the chance to dream of possibilities,
and celebrate differences
or discover a new way to do something.
No matter what, our hope is that you'll find what is shared worth coming back for each week.
You can expect to see a few posts here and there for now, then a steady Monday post after January 1, 2020.
Be sure to stay connected with us by subscribing to the blog and signing up for our emails (we won't spam or send too many). Feel free to leave a comment and be a part of the conversation as well.