Hi friends of TEAMWorks! We are excited to update with some information about our TEAM Talent Art Show coming up next week! TEAM Talent is a local division of TEAMWorks, that adapts acting and art programs for children with special needs! It is a great way to let kids participate in something fun and creative, while receiving as much or as little help as they need to be successful!
Please come join us and walk the TEAM Talent RED CARPET and enjoy an evening of art and fun!
Some exciting things to share:
-Our TEAM arrived home safely from Guatemala with hearts full from a wonderful week! A special thanks to all of those who supported the trip financially and with prayers! We are so thankful for YOU!
-Our TEAM Talent Art Gallery is approaching quickly, we would love to share the wonderful works of art made by our local TEAM artists! The artist’s work will be displayed at The Botanical Gardens in Fayetteville, Wednesday, May 22, 2013 in the evening! Please come join us!
-Play golf for TEAMWorks!! We are planning our 3rd annual golf tournament to benefit TEAMWorks, tell your friends and family to sign up for a day of golf, fun and fellowship! We hope to see you there! Please click on the flyer to register a team!!
One of our goals for this trip was to use the zoom ball at least once each day. So now, without further ado, here is….
We spent the entire day at Anini today and really enjoyed getting to know a lot of the kids. There’s so much we could say about each kiddo, but we wanted to share a few of the highlights from the day.
Paige’s biggest moment was when the director of Anini agreed to start incorporating safer feeding methods using proper positioning and thicker liquids for the more involved kids with CP. This is a HUGE breakthrough!! Paige also shared a lot of information with Allen, including incorporating PECS with some of the non-verbal kids. It’s so encouraging to know that information was able to be passed on to someone who will be there consistently.
In the past, the OT’s on the Guatemala trips have mainly worked on equipment. But since we have an equipment specialist on our team for this trip, Julie got do a lot more OT with the kids and adults at Anini. One of Anini’s biggest concerns was fine motor skills and craft activities, but Julie realized that a lot of that had to do with visual-perceptual problems. So she was able to make recommendations to address these issues. With the help of Eric, she also got to make some orthotics today for a boy named Daniel (her first pair of lower extremity orthotics).
Eric and Gregg worked on tweaking several wheelchairs, which was very much needed! Eric also was able to work closely with several of the Anini workers, including the director, to show them how to help a girl named Karen breath more easily. He also had the opportunity to play a little game of soccer with one of the older kids at Anini, and got beat by the Guatemalan – 5 to 3.
It was such a good day, and we can’t believe we head back to the states tomorrow. Please pray for safe travels for our team!! And stayed tuned for a special “Zoom Ball-a-palooza” post tomorrow….
Carlos sporting his new kicks, compliments of Charity Williams
As you'll see tomorrow, the Zoom Ball was put to good use this week. And then it broke...
This morning we visited an orphanage we’ve never been to before. We were told there were lots of kiddos that need speech therapy, but as soon as we walked into the children’s school room our eyes were drawn to one particular boy. Little Alejandro is the son of one of the orphanage workers, and Paige and Julie were able to work quite a bit with him. It was so nice having his mom right there to give her important information for Alejandro.
Alejandro gets occupational therapy, physical therapy, and speech therapy once a week. However, his mom said that because his diagnosis is not as involved as the other children that get services around him, he often doesn’t get as much attention as he needs during therapy. Paige introduced PECS to him and he picked it up so quickly! She also introduced some sign language for mom to use with him. Alejandro was VERY hungry to communicate; he just needed to be shown a way to do it non-verbally. Julie was able to leave a weighted vest for Alejandro so that he could be more aware of where his body was in space and feel more stable. Eric tried to find orthotics for him but unfortunately didn’t have the right size…
The orphanage workers were really concerned with a couple of little ones who have trouble paying attention during activities. We gave them some strategies, but explained that sometimes little ones like to have fun during class.
In the afternoon we went to Anini, the orphanage we have worked with for the past two years that is home to over 60 kids and adults with special needs. We only had a limited amount of time there today, but Allen (our contact at the orphanage) prepared a list of kids that they would like help on for each discipline. We were encouraged that children from every room are represented on the list so that hopefully less kids fall through the cracks this year. In the past, we’ve mainly worked with just House One, but now we’ll get to work with lots more kids that we haven’t gotten to see before.
Gregg and Eric developed a game plan for tackling lots of wheelchairs tomorrow, and they were able to get started on Israel’s chair today. His chair has been one that the previous teams have noticed as needing the most modifications, so we’re very thankful that Gregg and Eric will get to fix up his chair just right for him.
Paige got to work with Lupita, a little Guatemalan firecracker. Once we took her out of her House and headed to the work area, she decided to take advantage of her freedom and us gringos. Paige worked on approximating words more precisely and increasing vocabulary and word length.
Julie got to work with Paola, a 34-year-old gal who tricked Julie into believing she was 18. Allen’s biggest concern with Paola was working on her fine motor skills, so Julie was able to assess her current level of function and make recommendations of what to work on next.
We have a big day ahead of us tomorrow – we’ll spend the entire day at Anini and hope to get through all the kiddos on our list. Please pray that we are efficient tomorrow and that each person on the team can see all of the kids that the orphanage has requested us to work with. There is lots to do, but we are confident and eager to get rolling and help these sweet kids. Also, pray that traffic wouldn’t be bad tomorrow. It took us 2.5 hours to get home today, when it usually takes about 1…. We are hoping to get to Anini earlier than normal so that we have more time to work, but supposedly traffic is pretty bad early in the morning as well.
rockin' that weighted vest!
the wheelchair repair station
Kelly, Charity and Carol - this one's for you
This morning we visited Mama Carmen’s orphanage to follow up with the kids we’ve worked with on the previous trips.
Gregg and Paige worked together to make some significant changes for Merlin – a “new” revamped chair, a wedge to sleep on, and educating her caregiver on signs of aspiration. Prior to the trip, Julie had anticipated that she would mainly work with older kids and only threw in a few smaller Beniks while we were packing. Thankfully, there was one that fit perfectly for Merlin!
The entire team was able to work with Cesar. Since he is unable to go to school due to mobility, Paige introduced educational materials and left some books and flash cards for him. Gregg modified his wheelchair for better positioning, and Eric gave him some new orthotics since he outgrew his last pair. Julie fitted him with a new Benik and after instructing his caregivers on wear time, he later kept repeating, “I’m going to put these on every morning and take them off every night.” He also told us, “Thank you for everything!” So sweet.
Eric got to help a boy named Jonathan who has some leg deformities. He knew he needed orthotics, and guess which ones were a perfect fit? The ones that Cesar has outgrown!! With a little help from the heat gun, Eric was able to make them work.
In the afternoon we headed to God Bless The Children. We got to see Angel, the little baby that was new to the orphanage last year. He’s now 10 months old but they said he can’t sit on his own or roll over. Julie and Eric worked hard to convince his caregivers that a little tummy time wasn’t going to kill him. Eric shared, “Men want to do what men want to do, but women have the power to convince men to do what the women want them to do.” The caregivers laughed and agreed to work on these various exercises.
Paige introduced PECS for a little boy named David, and he totally ran with it. Or, shall we say, he scooted on his knees with it. With a little help from Julie and her pom-pom wig, they were able to quickly move into phase 2. Eric also gave him some new orthotics and we’re hoping that we can bring a reverse rolling walker for him on our next trip to assist with walking.
Regarding our prayer requests from yesterday – Unfortunately we aren’t able to go to San Jeronimo tomorrow, BUT we will get to see some new kids! The orphanage director at God Bless The Children connected us with a nearby orphanage that has some children with special needs, so we are heading there tomorrow morning to see how we can help.
As we meet some new children and caregivers tomorrow, please pray that we are able to help improve the quality of life for these precious kids and that the orphanage workers are open to learning from our team. We will also head to Anini tomorrow afternoon, so pray that we are able to use our time wisely and able to help as many kids as we can.
special prize to whoever can guess what's wrong with this picture
Total we headed to a rural community where Mama Carmen’s farm is located. We’ve visited families in this community each time we’ve come to Guatemala, and we were looking forward to following up with those families to see how the kids are doing and what new things we might be able to help with.
Our first stop was seeing 16-year-old Keila. She’s been using a walker given to her by someone else, but it was a little too big for her and also a little broken, so we were able to give her a new one that is a much better fit and will help her walk with better alignment. Eric also tweaked the orthotics we gave her last year and showed Keila’s mom some helpful stretches. Paige gave her a chapter book and she and Julie gave her exercises to increase her lung capacity and support her breath and speaking. Her mom seemed very eager to learn from our team and she jumped right in with practicing all the different stretches and exercises.
Next we visited 24-year-old Benicio. He just had a birthday in March, so we gave him a belated birthday gift – new shoes!! Benicio LOVES shoes (we gave him some last year as well), so he was really excited to be getting a new pair again this year. But, we told him he had to make a deal with us – he could only use the shoes if he promised to also wear the Benik for his right hand. He smiled and agreed. Paige remembers Benicio from our first Guatemala trip, and noticed a decrease in his drooling.
We then headed over to Wilder’s house. Eric delivered the custom orthotics we had casted for him last year. They fit perfectly! Wilder’s mom seemed most concerned with his education. He doesn’t go to school, and she really wanted some guidance on how and what to teach him. Last year, the team made some letter flash cards for Wilder out of paper. But this year we were able to give him some letter tiles that are more durable, as well as several books to develop pre-literacy skills. Paige also gave him some Spanish flash cards to help with word production. Julie gave Wilder different activities to work on fine motor skills, and also educated his mom on the progression of pre-writing skills. Julie and Eric also adapted a folding chair to help him stabilize at his trunk so that he could stay in a good position while doing all these various activities with his hands.
Our last stop was to see Cindy, a little girl who has leg-length discrepancy. Eric worked hard to rig up a built-up shoe from scratch. This was a first for him! Big shout-out to Juan (our driver) and Joel (our original connection to these families) for being such a huge help in assisting Eric.
Tomorrow we head to two orphanages that we’ve been to during the previous trips. Please pray for::
- good health for our team for the rest of the week.
- we are still awaiting confirmation from one orphanage we want to visit – pray that it will work out for us to see those kids.
- that we would come into contact with new children to serve so that we can continue expanding our work in Guatemala.
Today our team held a seminar for special education students and professionals at a university here in Guatemala. We got to meet the dean of the special education department, as well as several faculty members who helped organize the event. Everyone was incredibly welcoming and so grateful to have us there.
The students packed the auditorium and were very eager to learn! Our team did a great job covering as much information as they could in a limited amount of time. The students had some great questions and really seemed to appreciate all that was shared. We were also able to give them some education packets with lots more helpful documents and videos that we weren’t able to cover.
After the presentations were over, several people came up to ask specific questions regarding family members that need therapy help, and Paige, Julie, Eric and Gregg were all able to offer additional information and exercises. One of university faculty members has twin boys with cerebral palsy, and she was able to bring them up to the university after the presentations were over. Our team was able to work with both boys, Jose and Pablo, and it was such a joy to get to spend some time with them. Claudia and her husband are great parents, and they really want the best for their sweet boys.
We want to thank you all for your prayers! The presentations were truly a success. We can’t wait to see what else lies ahead for us this week as we re-visit all the precious kiddos we’ve worked with in previous years. Tomorrow we head to the rural community where Mama Carmen’s farm is located. Please continue praying for our team as we visit families and orphanages this week!
We arrived in Guatemala!!!
If you’ve ever traveled internationally, then you are probably quite aware of how adventurous airport situations can be… TEAMworks has had it’s fair share of airport adventures. When you’re taking the maximum (and sometimes over) amount of luggage per person that is often a pound or two over the limit, PLUS wheelchairs that may or may not have walkers duck-taped to them, PLUS your personal carry-on… well, let’s just say we’re always crossing fingers and saying prayers and smiling really big in hopes that they airline employees will let us through will all of our items.
Well, our situation this morning seemed quite hopeful. The kind gentleman helping us at Delta waived our excess fees for the standers that we were checking onto the plane, and everything seemed to be moving right along….until we mentioned that we also each had a wheelchair to take with us. And no, the wheelchairs don’t fold up… Needless to say, they finally graciously agreed to try and squeeze all of the wheelchairs onto the “very little plane”, but that left us with about 20 minutes to get through security and to our gate. No big deal, right?
Well…. one of our team members got stopped at security. (Note to self: When you take the weights out of weighted vests, apparently they are too dense to go through the security check machine…. Also, when a certain OT **ahem-Julie** asks you to carry the weights in your bag, just say no.) Once we finally got approval to take our little weights, we hurried off to our gate just as we heard our names being called out by the flight attendant, followed by “Last call for…..” Yep. We were those people. BUT, it’s all a part of the adventure. And the good thing is, we all made it on the flight with all of our things.
The unfortunate thing is that one of our bags didn’t make it to Guatemala…. But we’re hopeful that it will show up at the airport tomorrow.
Today was a relaxed day – we got to have lunch at the house of Diana, a sweet friend we met during our first trip to Guatemala. The authentic Guatemalan meal was DELICIOUS, and it was topped off with a personalized “Welcome TEAMworks” cake.
We’re anxious and excited for tomorrow. We’re heading to a university to do therapy presentations for approximately 180 special education students and professionals. Please be praying for Eric, Gregg, Paige and Julie as they try and share as much as they can in about 4 hours. We’re so thankful for this opportunity, and we trust that the Lord will use it to continue transforming the lives of children with special needs here in Guatemala.
Not sure how everything fit....but it did.
Our TEAMWorks Guatemala group flies out for a busy schedule this Friday, April 12th! We are so excited and thankful for this opportunity to continue to serve and love the children in Guatemala. The TEAM will have a busy schedule visiting several different orphanages, including Mama Carmen’s, serving children in a local community, as well as the opportunity to speak at a university to students studying special education.
We feel this trip has so many chances for our TEAM to help children with special needs as well as form relationships with those interacting with the children daily.
We ask you to please follow along and pray over our TEAM members, Paige Funkhouser (Speech Therapist), Julie Marvin (Occupational Therapist), Eric Pate (Physical Therapist), Gregg Watson (Equipment Specialist) and Blanca Garcia (Trip Coordinator) as they finish preparations this week and as they travel.
-to finish preparation and packing of supplies and equipment & that they also have everything they will need to serve the children they meet
-peace and safety over them during the trip
-continued energy and wisdom as they work a busy schedule and love on the children
-that their presentation to the University students would be successful and the information provided is on the level that is the most beneficial for learning
-that God’s love would be shown through each of them
“We know only too well that what we are doing is nothing more than a drop in the ocean. But if the drop were not there, the ocean would be missing something.” - Mother Teresa
Thank you for loving and supporting TEAMWorks!