Today is a very happy post, today we beat the budget cuts, today it’s my responsibility and today we continue to provide futures for the most vulnerable!
What is KEEN?
KEEN is a national charity that supports children who have a wide range of learning and physical disabilities, providing respite care for both the children and their families. My particular branch of KEEN is through my university and the local MENCAP center. We have 7 children, all of who have a variety of special needs including, autism, downsyndrome, aspergers syndrome and physical and speech related ailments.
I cannot express the reward of a scheme such as KEEN , the journey that you see the children go through is phenomenal. Their progress and their love of life is so inspiring, and even when faced with adversity they take like head on and enjoy it to the max. The progress that we have seen in our children this year has been incredible, we have seen a mute little boy speak, and we have seen an extremely unhappy little boy smile. Life’s little moments, that reminds you how incredible the human race really is.
It is not the case about being different, it is not the case of feeling different, it is not the case that something can’t be done. It is a celebration of what we can do and a celebration of simply being us.
Our sessions are themed and involve a lot of drama and interactive play and socialization as well as arts and craft and just having a bit of messy fun! You don’t go home from a session of KEEN clean! But we have lots and lots of fun!
Why was this nearly ruined?
At the end of term, we were hit by the ominous budget cut, but this time it was the end, this time money meant we couldn’t continue, this time, despite what we tell our children, there were limitations. I was so angry, why should money stop these children from progressing even further, why should money, something that is supposed to enhance their lives be something that hindered them. A social occasion where they were accepted for the beautiful and caring children that they are and not have to face the nasty judgement of the world and let them flourish into inspiring, unique and funny young people, was being stopped because of money.
That was yesterday …. and now is today
What Happened Next?
After many an hour thinking of ways to reduce costs and persuade people that it was an investment worth its weight in gold, we were given the golden ticket, our last chance saloon. We were granted funding for one more year, a year for us to prove that this was worth the money and that there was enough volunteers behind it to make it work.
Then there was me…. the person that has now taken this project on… who will make this work, who will prove the skeptical wrong, who will continue to fight on behalf of these children, who will never give up on them.
What happens for me?
Well I work bloody hard, i’ll juggle my finals and this project, I will do justice to both myself and those beautiful children. This is what I want to do, to provide futures for those who don’t see themselves having a very bright one ahead. To encourage, to inspire and to make them believe that dreams can come true.
Every child – of any shape, size, disability and background deserves the chance to dream, deserve the chance to pursue what ever they want to do. With support and care nothing needs to be a limitation!
So there we have it, alongside the university, MENCAP we will, at least for now, continue to make a difference, continue to inspire, and continue to care. Money will never rule us without a fight.
The hard works starts now, but my god those children deserve that! They have taught me so much about life and I’m so so proud to know them – they are some of the strongest and inspirational people I have ever had the privilege to work alongside.
Changing lives, changing perceptions and changing people