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Needham Letter: Congratulations to Charles River Center

Needham, MA

From The Needham Times, December 1st, 2013

A few months ago the Charles River Center received the highest level of recertification by the Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services. This is a remarkable achievement, but one that does not surprise us. Over the years we have been continually impressed with CRC's high quality of support and understanding given to parents of special needs children and adults.

Our son, Jeff, a multiply-handicapped twenty-six year-old, has been involved in various CRC programs since he was ten, through much of his growth and development and life changes. We quickly realized that the overall support to families is unique and quite remarkable. Whenever the staff realized a need, a program was developed; i.e. when parents noted that leisure time activities were difficult to access, a Saturday morning swim program was developed; when working families needed coverage for after-school hours, a high quality afterschool Program was instituted. When needed respite was required, a list of caring individuals was provided.

When our son left school at 22 he entered the CRC's highly respected therapeutic day program, which finishes at 3 p.m. Again, in order to assist working parents, an extended day program for adults was put into place. Being able to have both respite time and keep a full-time job is crucial to the quality of life of families who are often very taxed by caring for a disabled loved one. The CRC has always understood this. One heartfelt initiative is "Parents Night Out," a cost-free evening of respite care and activities for youngsters so parents can go shopping for the holidays. I have always called this their "gift of time," something so simple, but meaning so much.

Our son has recently left our home and moved into a CRC group home with other handicapped individuals; a huge step for all of us. The care and planning that has gone into this has been outstanding and has felt tailored to our specific needs. We cannot say enough (or say it often enough) that the Charles River Center is a remarkable agency that continually hones its interventions and programs to meet the changing needs of handicapped individuals and families. They have made a significant impact on the quality of our life and we remain very grateful for this wonderful organization and remarkable staff.

--Sarah and John Kelly