Focus on the Upstate 75 - A Night to Remember - 9-24-2017

Focus on the Upstate
Sunday, September 24th

Crystal Holder, Anderson Count Buddy Walk Coordinator and Founder of A Night to Remember, shares the history of her fledgling organization dedicated to serving foster and special needs families and the personal experiences that led to its creation.


Transcript - Not for consumer use. Robot overlords only. Will not be accurate.

Welcome to focus on the Arab state a program dedicated to informing you about organizations that serve our community. How you can get involved with him. Here's your host Chris Evans. Good morning and welcome to focus on the upstate my name is Chris Evans to gain my guest is crystal holder. These buddy walk coordinator Anderson county buddy walk coordinator and the founder of a night to remember good morning good morning. Thank you I'm glad you're here. Tell me I was very interested to it to receive an email from you a little while ago about the Andersen can anybody walking we're gonna talk about what that is in a minute but. The organization that you founded a night to remember tell me usually the first question I ask is what you do and if you do it forced to tell us what you do in Haiti do it for. While I am the founder and executive director of the night tour member and I term member is eight. By the one C three that was started in September 2000 sixteenths and we are right at a year old. He and we serve children that are either in the Foster care system or that especially means we served them about providing experienced this for them that would be typical for children and did not live in the financial constraints. That they live in due to being a Foster care or gay having special. Got you. So you said via the organization is just a year old. Not much history to talk about but tell us what led you to scientists to sort of disorganization. Well on. Several years again my husband and I started process of becoming Foster parents and Anderson can't money. And we attended the Foster can't association meetings in order to keep up our training hours. And Alice involved as a volunteer with that and the situation are raised where Foster child in the community. Wanted to participate in a school field trip that was an overnight filled trip and was quite expensive to. And the Foster mom. Could only afford to pay partially for the trip and needed assistance to cover their arrest that it was brought to our attention and at the Foster parent association that this this young man was in need and our family was well aware of this neat because our niece was in the same grade at the same school as a how to mush participating in the same trip so we island was legitimate and we knew all the fundraising that she had been daylight. And so we wanted to do it somehow step in and help and it was really difficult. Alma was and social services to get that kind of money at the somewhere in the neighborhood of 500 dollars. And so my husband and I decided to reach out some facts that we need and pulled money together and so we were able to collect the money. To help pay for the show on man who we still don't even know I was nine at this point. To you on to go on that field trip this was probably about eight years again. And at that time when that happened it just and you really start thingy how many other kids are missing now. Because the Foster parent didn't think to say I need some help raise he can help me make this happen for the shot. And that's a very typical childhood experience that most any other kid would get to have going on a school for coach a tour. So we started thinking about you know how many other kids this is affecting and what we can do to help but we never really felt it's. Ready to get to that next step right on so we sat on it for awhile. And just a few years later we. Became parents of a child with special needs and so we began to see that as financial constraints are often very similar. With a special needs family as a with a family that has children that is being face to Foster children. So the will's got attorney and again and we realize that recently had not felt that piece to take that next step yet was because there was more than we needed to develop rise at. We took that next step and we founded the organization and I'm knowing that we needed to serve both children in Foster care and children that. Actually plus interest seeing it because you really kind of saw that opportunity and and were able to help this is one of the things we love on this program is the sort of grassroots you know did somebody just had an idea they saw an opportunity and I had an idea. And now it's turned into a foundation or earn organization to you to help. Other people who. Might be in the same situation and said give this a little bit of your background you mentioned you were the parent of a specially Cha know what's that experience like. While we and we were Foster parents and we adopted our oldest son from Foster care we were his Foster parents for a short time before we became his adoptive parents and then we birth a child with special needs so we have by that experience and Ellis. Fostering a child also giving. Or do a child. Haven't a child with any difference is is a little overwhelming and it's very overwhelming we had a prenatal diagnosis and say that is. Very ever will make you little time to prepare though I do rush yes and and we I'm very grateful for that and we were very blessed to be able to start to form a network and and good to have that support and placed before he actually was here with us. The hat and a child any type of difference can be very difficult it is overwhelming it can be very difficult it's crucial to have support and a lot of times people don't know. Where to reach out to begin my support so that was another. Think that we wanna do through and I remember is not just provide these experiences for these children also. Become a support system for the families that are caring for their children as well. That and that seems like something that that I hear an awful lot is that people are just unaware of the opportunities that are available to any I mean. You you mentioned special needs children you know that that they obviously they take more care even something as simple as a field trips and overnight field trip. There are special he can just tell a kid go to bed you know you there are special things that the have to happen. In order for them to participate in a way that says that other kids wouldn't even think of would take from granite again. So tell us a night to remember where does that name come from I'm interest it. Love the night the name comes from. My thought process in the form in the organization and my thought process I'm very dramatic cannot come from a theater background and say everything kind of slavery I had like a script and salad steak and eat at like. About eighteen editor and how would I want energies show it all these kinds of things and sailed like pain in my mind. One is just this this feed of think about your childhood think about the things that stand out to you is that your prom is that. Friday Night Lights for a football game is that when the current epic for your first dance recital you know all these things are playing through my mom and and and those are the kind of experience is we want east has to be it would happen so. What came theory that was to say every kid deserves that night to remember missing. And so that's where the name came from whether that be you know being able to be on a sports team and you scored the winning goal or you just scored your first goal. Whether it be that you got your opportunity to dance for the first time that dance recital stage or what ever that typical childhood thing once you got that chance to have that night to remember and we wanna make sure every kit has the chance to have and I tournament. It reminds me of another very well known organization the revolves around making wishes and yet and it's not it's not a specific. Wish that they're talking about it's just it's whatever you were wishes and that's kind of what you're talking about right what every you or night to remember would be. That's what you wanna help them happen. Bright and ours where a little different than that organization in that time were a little smaller scale we wanna do very. Typical things whether that be giving a kid a scholarship to be able to play in a local sports eight. Or given them a scholarship though that will help pay for the equipment that's needed for them to be on the school sports team or whether that they. Help to bop prom dress to be able to participate in the homecoming dance or the prom but just more local dairy. Typical kind of smaller scale things even a birthday party a lot of times children in Foster care never have the opportunity to have a burning party. Because sometimes these kids are in homes with five and six other Foster kids and parents just don't have the resource estimate that happens every kid deserves to have his memories and we want to make sure that happens how off. And is it and you may not know the answer this but I'm curious how often is it that a child with special needs will end up in Foster care. Because it seems like it that if if somebody already doesn't have the resources to deal was that sort of special situation. The. That does happen I don't have statistics on that but that is a different level of Foster care. I ain't you have to apply for a different tight a Foster care I gotta get trained a little differently to be able to land to take on days children you have medical concerns or are little more intensive and and need a little more. K year arm may need extra help over what a typical child would have speak. For a minute to to the person listening who's considering becoming a Foster parent what the heck having been a Foster parent yourself. What can the expect in the in the process of going through that. Quite honestly Foster care can be very very frustrating OK but what you have to remember is it's not about you it's about as children and the children deserve. To have someone loves them and care for them and for them how to place a later head every night and not have to worry. If they're going to be able to come back and that same place tomorrow and if there's going to be fade to eat if there's going to be somewhere to take a pat inkling place. It's not about us it's about as kids. And we hear I ever and ever and ever again a lot of times people say I couldn't do that it would be too hard to let them go. It needs to be hard to let them know it's not hard to let them get you probably haven't served them well I think it's hard to let them get and you know you flub them whale and they you've shown them even if that was for the very short period top. They wearing your home at least for that portion of their life. They know what what real. Loving care to. So becoming a Foster parent really is more of a cult of surface and something did he might do you free yourself exactly. It is it is all about these kids and it can be quite fresh Cheney it is a government run pregnant or any anything to do with the government has hoops to jump through and red tape bright red tape. And a lot of times this staff that you're dealing with from social services. Their hands are oftentimes Todd and things and you know right I would like to do with a different light too but they have to do it in the regulation right things to follow Jose can be very frustrating. But if you can step back and not look at it from what you're dealing wit but look at it. As the opportunity that you're given that child. Then and makes it a little easier to tolerate. There's frustrations that you have to deal with in the process well. And I feel like I've got an opportunity here because not only have you been a Foster parent but you're also the parent of a special needs child. And that we touched on this a little bit but oh when ask you to expand on the idea. Now speak to that listener who may have just received the news that their their child has special needs. Or is is worried about that you know what did they need to be to prepare for it. They hear our organizations all across the statements from state to state if there's other effects lesson that aren't from South Carolina and there are organizations that are appear to parent organizations and so what they do is they were with the local doctors and hospitals says stunts. And to help. Hair appearance together win at someone and he has a similar or the same diagnosis is what you're expecting to try to help people start to build. That network. The Internet at Townes can be a great resource and other times when you're dealing with medically complex kids it can be a very scary place and proverbial double edged sword correct but if you are. And locally here in the upstate we deal with Greenwood genetics and it's so a lot of families again a prenatal diagnosis. It's. Some type of disability will be connect it to win it bring what genetic tinkering when genetics is very yet about giving you. Theory reputable resource is that you can go to Internet T that are specific to what ever diagnosis she'd been kid then. Two on to found reputable information there. Became a hospital system. Is wonderful. With helping you get to spy on days those. Accurate read sources say you can follow through the Children's Hospital Ryder Children's Hospital in this specialists office is that you get connect to win and they will gladly. Share resources ready to help you find reputable. Information about what encourage unity have gotten some sort of prenatal diagnosis she do need to reach out for support. That's a few art if you do take that bold step to Google on your own different. There's a shirt that I would encourage you to just make sure look at it made sure that it is from a hospital. Or that it is from a nationally recognized organization may be light the American academy of pediatrics a work so reputable sources like that are not just some Rand dom. I'm a mom and here's my website or where I have a special needs kid dot com right yes. Yes it. And and real quickly afford via for the listeners who's just become aware of your organization tonight to remember which is probably most of them sings how you have been around very long. And and thinks that's you could today could help them in their situation how to get in touch with a year. Well in order to be it gets short of the money we've been given and that people trust us with that we are biographer. Oh if he is if you think we could serve your family then reach out to you or early interventionist at teacher. It's your guidance counselor someone of that nature we do deal wit. We deal with social workers we deal with DS as staff we deal with guardian ad lie down. With medical professionals. You can ask them. To refer. Your situation to us we just want to make sure that we use our money as wisely as possible because it is very hard to come back of course and so it's the same Pauline. Is able to partially contribute to whatever needed as they have done we will stepped in and cover that other part but we just want to make sure that it is a legitimate need. And that we're dot are out across our t.'s manager where you harmony whale. And so we. For referrals so if people are already involved in those organizations or or maybe smother let as you said reputable organizations they can ask for that. That's sort of referral having now become aware of it yes. And our referral forms are on our website so it's very easily see if it's someone that we haven't met with an actually put referral forms and their hand and they are available on our website and the website is. Www. AE and TR SE dot com and that stands for a night to remember South Carolina. Dot com. Gadget so a night to remember just the first initials there AT&T. RSE. Dot com is the website people can go find their referral form done imagine you don't need a referral to make a donation. Now that we're not at all we will gladly taken donations and again please nag that we are vary. And try to be very gets yours and our money we are like essay about referral so that we can reach our money is used wisely and we don't ever directly hand money to. Right that person that we start out will gladly make. That connection went. Whatever place means that Patti met and how old meg that payment personally myself just to make sure that money is being used for exactly one week they get it's been useful hour. And so the the same web the web site a and TR SC dot com people can get information to make donations can you actually makes donation online. And they are here say on our menu bar there is again now spot that she can click and we can take credit card payments and then of course there is an address where you can mail checks or cash to got a now some people. Are are less able to donate their money but more able to donate their time do you have any volunteer opportunities with we will that we don't. Have to necessarily only yo we knew right now but none that as. Wishes come into us there will be east there will be different things it will need faxed to help us with intimate days happen. And said there's always opportunities for that and then as we have fundraisers which and the labor gonna talk about one as I guess we're going to be yet and has we have fundraisers we definitely Chinese volunteers spread is that on a day to day basis there's not necessarily. Exact two jobs to do that as events come out that's where we can mesh used volunteers got you. Let's go ahead and get into this buddy walk that you have coming up October 14 to think and get that correct yes sir. Tell us about the buddy walk what is it for. The. Buddy walk is a national program that. I was start about a national down's syndrome society in 1995. And it is designed to celebrate people down Sen Graham and to promote awareness and inclusion in the community. They are buddy walks all over the country in ten different organize different nonprofit organizations partner win at the National Down Syndrome Society to bring a while to their local areas. So we are a night to remember we are the highest for that Anderson an area. But he while and we and focus on the tri county area semis of our families will come from Anderson county and county county and Pickens County there will be others mixed and that that's our main focuses those. There's counties and that. In the corner they're routes stay. And there is a walking greens on spark for green owns farmer is well that of and it's it's associate it was some kind organization the. That's fine so I assume paint the picture for a listeners what can they expected the Andersen can anybody wants. Well the buddy walk is like a. PH family reunion day so all of the families from Oliver are counties will com and it's just a lot of fun we'll have bounce houses we have carnival tight games set will have different vendors to our local businesses that have services that. Directly relate to our offense with disabilities. And things like Special Olympics and they're peace Anderson different things like that that may be an interest. I'm into our folks some of the different dance programs. And sports programs that are. I'm like miracle Lee and things of that nature that are geared directly towards. People with disabilities. So we'll have those things we will have a while it is a short while because a lot of our kids. I was gonna ask alone and as it's done it's just don't there's a walk contract around this small ponson is probably a quarter of a mile while. But it is a short while but we didn't want to go to Italy adds as he wanted to an incident it is so all we will all just not very far that's his foot down center and one of the things that comes about as high pretend yeah which is why muscle tone so a lot of times people accounts and I'm tire out a lot more quickly than a typical. Able bodied person and pounds so we won't keep that in mind and keep it fun and then. Light for them that it is such a Hyundai are we'll have different athletes from the community cheerleaders. Will have bang and he's an all kinds of fun things sisters is like a big festival on the kids love to come out a dance and they main goal and they take a lot to sell fees and and they loved. Taken so fees with than the visitors that have come to different athletes and and band members and things of that nature from the community to come out it's just it's a lot of fun and it gives a families as well an opportunity to network with each other. To start to build support and to. Continue building the sport that they are ready made. Now you mentioned that this this particular walking is organized by the National Down Syndrome Society curry but a night to remember is not exclusive to Down syndrome and other special needs children can benefit from it. That is here and now for our family our son has downs and I'm Wilson is where the connection comes and has been the highest for. And the buddy walk say we we do have a special place in Hartford by Axel downs and I'm because that is very real to our family on every day daily banks it's. And people can again go to the website a NT RSE dot com and find out more information about the bodies are there is a tab on arm and you that is has all the different things you need to know about the law. Okay so I definitely go to AT&T RSE it stands for a night to remember South Carolina dot com. Don't spell out just use the initials AN TR SE dot com. And that click on the buddy want to have if you want more information about that and we talked a little bit about donations people can make donations through the website but I know that for this kind of thing other types of donations are. Typically required what what are the opportunities there for people to give you something instead of money. I'm for the body while we gave half financial sponsorship opportunities in the eyes are on our website we Osce had. Sponsorship opportunities. In counts sponsorship opportunities we would like to provide lunch for our volunteers that will be there earlier in the day sending out so that's a great opportunity for a local business to jump on it. Her got a bag lunch for our folks on. We will be ease of volunteers show local high schools to help what's said and things of that nature senate. Volunteering time is is a great way to get involved we also will be doing a silent auction sale and for businesses that want to. Maybe donate gift card or on some other type of service that's a great way that they can get beyond soft as you know am. And I think we mentioned as Saturday October 14 is when the the body walking is 1 PM to 5 PM. Add Chris Taylor memorial park in Anderson. So people can find all that information if you if you haven't they gotten your pencil out fast enough and written it down as I just said he could find him information again. A and that TO RE SE dot com. And and click on the buddy walked tab before we end here crystal tell us eighty we've mentioned that your organization is rather young. What do you see in the next year what do you hope to go in the next year. Well we would like to be able to reach at just serve at least one child every month. Okay the coming year or so we definitely need measure referrals coming in and we would like to continue to build the relationships that we have with the organizations and the community like. Social services guardian ad item family connections the different agencies and organizations that. Have direct access is used to use beyond the children that we would like to serves we wanna continue to build that. And of course obviously we wanna. Continue to build financial stability for the organizations say that the money's there for us a long term continue to help families small Myron you we'd be that as back. Our annual calendar we are Ers calendar this last year. And our calendars will go on sale around Thanksgiving and he will be able to check those out Almonte as whale and that they calendars and clean it. The children that we serve in the community whether that is B and children that have. Then adopted out of the Foster care system or and children has special needs. Senator there are lots of beautiful smiling faces yeah yeah we are all local kids they are there off from the upstate. There and they're just beautiful pictures is really in a very nice calendar that that that you show me this the 2017 version but the avenue and he said to be out. The around the end of November yes we are gaullist starts on them at Thanksgiving and then again you can go to the website a end TR SC dot com to find those. Crystal holder is the founder of the night remember Andy coordinator for the Anderson can anybody want has been my guest today thank you very much for being here Kristol thank you for sending this to my pleasure I'm Chris Evans and this is been focus on the upstate. You've been listening to focus on the yet state with Chris Evans if you would like more information on today's topic. Email Chris. At C Evans