My name is Renee Green. My son, Adam, is the reason Adam’s Clubhouse – Quality Care For Special Needs Children, Inc. exists! (Yes, it is a long name for a business but there’s no doubt what we do!)
Adam turned 12 in April 2021. Like all of us, he has good days and bad days. However, a good day for Adam simply means he’s had 5 seizures or less that day. Adam is considered to be medically fragile. Our little angel does not communicate or hold eye contact for more than a couple of seconds at a time. He is unable to walk, move his arms voluntarily, support his head, or even eat. There’s no doubt, Adam will never be capable of caring for himself. He will always be our “baby” (mentally he is a newborn).
Approximately two years before Adam was to start school, I began my search for the perfect after school care program for him to attend. I began the search early because I learned with my daughter that the good child care centers will have a wait-list!! I was disappointed time and time again to learn, that after school care and summer care for school aged, disabled children does not exist in Central Arkansas! I even expanded my search to include private schools in our area that cater to special needs children, as well as, alternative learning facilities but since Adam does not communicate and unable to test – still no luck. After 2+ years of stressing over what we were going to do, the only two options my husband and I could come up with were private care in our home or in-patient care. Neither of these were desirable to us since Adam is nonverbal and nonambulatory.
How can there not be a place for Adam? Wouldn’t that be discriminating? As much as it sounds like it is – it is not. Currently there is not an existing child care center that can provide a “safe environment” for him. Any ONE of Adam’s conditions, especially the seizures or the feeding tube, would be intimidating to the average person.
Adam’s first day of school was just a little more than two months away when my husband and I finally accepted the reality that I had to quit my job of 16 years. I had to be available to care for him in the afternoons, school holidays and during the summer. It was hard going from a two income family to managing a tight budget but we have survived. Since Adam started school in August of 2015, I cannot count the number of people I have met that have the same story as my family’s. It didn’t take me long to realize ADAM’S PURPOSE was to make me take on the challenge of creating a safe, childcare environment for him and others in our area.
In November 2017, we received our Letter of Determination from the IRS, approving Adam’s Clubhouse as a 501(c)(3), public charity (therefore, donations are tax-deductible). In June 2019, we found the perfect location in Jacksonville, Arkansas, became a licensed childcare facility in the State of Arkansas and in 2021 achieved our Level 2 (out of 3) Better Beginings status, as well as, became an approved provider by the state to accept vouchers.
Although it has taken us a while, we have come a long way and are accomplishing one goal at a time.