Updated: Mar 11
I’m still amazed at what happened at this year’s Sunshine Gala. Just a few weeks ago I shared part of our family’s story with everyone at Horton Farms and their response was remarkable! I want to share with you about the resilience of my son, Mason, the generosity of our community, and the miracles we have seen happen at Sunshine School & Development Center.
The day Mason was born, I was in recovery afterward and the doctor came to me and said, “He’s a weak one, but it’s going to be okay.” She was right about one thing. It was going to be okay! Weak, however, is not a word I would use to describe Mason! The thing she didn’t know yet was that Mason would show more resilience, determination, and courage in his five and a half years than I’ve displayed in my time on this planet.
In May of 2014, Mason developed epilepsy and it escalated incredibly quickly. The daycare he was at wasn’t equipped to care for his needs so, within two months, Cyndi and her amazing staff made sure that Mason was in a toddler classroom at Sunshine School. We knew that he was safe, loved, and cared for every single day. In After School Care, he took his first independent steps. In speech therapy, he uses a talker and can now string together phrases to communicate his wants and needs. In the classroom, he is making sense of and learning to interact with the world around him.
See Mason's first steps!
Starting at 2:24 in the video.
We are so thankful that Mason will be part of the inaugural Kindergarten waiver program so he can stay at Sunshine School for one more year. We get another year for him to be around those that know him best, another year to overcome odds that no one thought might be possible and to make sure that he is ready for when he steps into Kindergarten. I say “steps” for a reason because he will use his wheelchair when he needs to, but he will walk into Kindergarten because he is one of the miracles that happened at Sunshine School. Mason and hundreds of others will take steps in life because of the generosity of our NWA community and their commitment to seeing lives developed and enriched. At the Sunshine Gala, we raised over $440,000! This generous response will ensure that more students and adult clients defy expectations and reach their full potential! Thank you for your involvement in our Sunshine School community and in my son’s life!
JoAnn Stevens Sunshine School Board Member & Parent