Daily Point of Light # 3131 Feb 3, 2006

Dave and Kim Smith are the parents of a daughter with a chromosome deletion condition and also the founders of Grace Ministries. They know what it is to have a special needs child. They have a very supportive family, but many parents, with special needs children, do not have any support at all.

Grace Ministries has helped more than 20 families and an excess of 50 children have participated in this respite night since its inception. This ministry is supported by the Smith’s local church, Jubilee Family Church (formerly Sonrise Church of God.) Many of the church’s congregation help in this respite night. The Smith’s have also enlisted the help of professionals in the community that have specialized training in working with special needs children.

The Smith’s have created a respite night for families with children with special needs. The child and all siblings are able to attend this special night of fun, food, games, and crafts, while the parents can spend time with each other dong whatever they want to do. This night is open to children in the community. The Smith’s pass out fliers through the schools and contact the radio and television to let them know when a respite night is coming.

One parent said that this is the first time they have been out since the child was born. It is very difficult to get proper care for their children so many families decide to just stay home, many of them, for years. The respite night provides one-on-one care for the child with special needs and their siblings are cared for with a 4-1 ratio of adult/child care. There are usually 25 workers at our respite night. These respite nights are offered the first Friday of the month bi-monthly. These nights are open to the children in the community on a first come first served basis. The members of the church usually provide snacks but many times the Smith’s have paid out of their pocket for these items.

Dave Smith has spoken with many churches in the area encouraging them to start a respite night of their own and so far there has been one that took the challenge, they held their first respite night last month. The ministry that the Smith’s have started is a great opportunity to help special families. The respite night is only the first step in their plans. The Smith family plans on continuing to love and nurture each other as well as working to help others in need.