LAFAYETTE, Indiana — Grant’s House, home of the Wabash Center’s youth services, will hold its 7th annual “I’m Happy and I’m Alive” celebration in support of the special needs children and young adults who are part of Grant’s House Family.
According to its website, Grant’s House is “designed to meet the needs of children with disabilities or special needs, to help them and their families navigate life’s transitions, to connect with valuable resources, and to learn skills that matter to them help make their dreams come true.”
Grant’s House – located at 1500 Salem Street in Lafayette – was founded in 2016 in honor of Grant House, the son of co-founder Tamara House, after Grant passed away in late 2015. Grant was born with a brain tumor and after several surgeries he had some challenges with his motor skills.
“Grant’s House honors the life and legacy of Grant House, a remarkable young man who, despite his own disabilities, lived a life on his own terms and in the service of others,” reads the website, “and inspires a community to share his vision of a place where special needs children could thrive.”
Programs at Grant’s House serve as a safe place for children and young adults with special needs and disabilities to learn life skills, make friends and encourage others.
“(The facility) is near a 50,000-square-foot building,” Tamara said. “And kids come after school and then we have what’s called the Emerging Adults[program]. When (participants) graduate from high school and don’t know what their next step or place might be, they move on to Grant’s House for Emerging Adults.”
Tamara spoke about Apartment 54, a simulated apartment within the Grant’s House facility where participants in the Emerging Adult program can learn more about cooking, making beds, folding and storing clothes, and other everyday tasks.
“We have a garage where kids learn how to work and how to get a job,” Tamara said, “with tasks like folding towels for one of the hospitals or filling salt and pepper shakers for the restaurant. You learn professional skills. We also have music therapy there… Each room caters to different sensory needs of the children.”
The 7th Annual I’m Happy and I’m Alive Celebration will be held on Friday from 6:00 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. at the Tippecanoe County Fairgrounds. Funds raised at the event will be used to provide Grant’s House attendees with the opportunity to attend Camp #54, a full-day summer camp.
“Families have the option of bringing their children with them all day five days a week in the summer or a combination of that and coming to day camp five days a week allows them to do that to the fullest of (up to) three months of summertime.” And the great thing is that they are literally field trip experiences throughout our community.
“…that’s what we want to achieve with this event. We need the help of the community to sponsor the children’s experience for Camp 54. Some children and some families cannot afford to send their children to camp… so these kids need sponsorship and they need help.”
Should guests be unable to attend Friday night’s event, donors can contribute online towards the $185,000 goal.
“If you are unable to attend, you can go to wabashcenter.com and register for the silent auction items and/or donate directly to help the children. And it gives you the option to sponsor them for the month, such as a field trip or just a $5-$5,000 donation. Whatever you need to give and whatever your heart wants to give.
In addition to the silent auction, other activities at the Friday night event include an all-you-can-eat catering by Dan’s Fish Fry, a beer garden by Bedrock Liquors, a concert by “party band” The Flying Toasters and a live auction.
Jason McManus, President and CEO of the Wabash Center, commented on the importance of Grant’s House.
“Grant’s House is a community treasure,” McManus said, “it was designed specifically for children and young adults with disabilities or special needs as a place where they can develop the skills they need to gain independence and the Finding the Support They Deserve I personally look forward to the opportunity to call on the community that has been so generous to our cause to make our summer program available to all children and young adults who wish to participate, regardless of ability to pay. “
Tamara was reflecting on a specific story from Grant’s House that has caught her attention over the years.
“Especially with the pandemic, for example, many parents are trying to move and figure out how they’re going to make it to work and care for their child,” Tamara said, “and/or other kids (but also) her.” Child with special needs….
“One mom I remember walking in she said, ‘I homeschooled my daughter just because it was better and easier for her than being in a class (in) the mainstream. Now that we have Grant’s house after school, it’s a wonderful break in her day and mine. And a resource she can’t wait for that keeps her asking throughout the day, “When do I go to Grant’s house?” That’s what it’s all about, creating excitement for the child and also being a wonderful advocate and resource for the parents.”
To learn more about the programs Grant’s House offers, visit www.wabashcenter.com/youth-services.
Margaret Christopherson is a reporter for the Journal & Courier. Email her at email@example.com and follow her on Twitter @MargaretJC2.