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10 Years in the Making

As a born and bred Brit, I arrived in the States with my family 11 years ago in awe of everything that was different from the UK, the multi cultural environment, the huge food portions, the Special Olympics opportunities and Walmart! I was very disappointed with the American tea, chocolate, baked beans and the complete lack of multi sensory environments for my little one Bronte!

In England I could take her to a multi sensory room whenever I liked; she had daily access at her special nursery school. But in Fremont, CA and later Antioch no one knew what I was talking about! We were able to make our own multi sensory room at home for Bronte, but it concerned me that other children did not have the opportunity to experience this valuable part of their education. So it became my mission to spread the word to every teacher I met and referred families to websites for info and equipment, but still, we did not have a fully functioning multi sensory room in our local community.
In 2009 I received my green card and I went back to school to get trained and licensed in massage, reflexology and aromatherapy. I was very lucky to meet Beed and Scott who shared my dream, to build a healing center. They were so enthusiastic to hear about my plans to work with children with special needs and to build a multi sensory room! When we opened Intuitive Healing Center together in July 2010, Special Haven, a non profit was always in our future plans. In April 2011 we rented the adjacent space which had the perfect room for Special Haven and soon after we settled in we began looking for people interested in starting this exciting project with us and in September of that year Special Haven was born! The timing was finally right with the perfect group of people (Patti Zanotelli, Ana Chuey, Christine Schwab, Vicky Dunn, Melanie Pavlovic, Neta Robinson, Beed and Scott Lawler and Michael Worley) passionate about building this room for our special needs community and the right space we were ready to start our journey! We began fundraising straight away and with the wonderful donation of a mobile unit from Special Kids Foundation we were able to open phase one of the room in May 2012!  At that time we were also joined by David Chuey who organized our first golf tournament and Michele Munson a special Mom with a lot of energy and passion for the cause! In July, we also acquired our 501C3 status with the hard work of Chris Demay, who is not a board member but devoted many hours of his time to get Special Haven approved as a non profit.

This year we were also approved for a grant by The Christopher Douglas Hidden Angels Foundation, a non profit foundation who provide funding, a design team, training and support for non profit multi sensory rooms. We have $3800 more to raise and our state of the art multi sensory room will finally be complete. We have several fundraising events planned so watch this space in the coming months for details and join us to make this dream a reality in 2013.
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