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Friday, 08 June 2012 23:54

Pay it Forward: Lara Kitts, Chair of Family Hope Foundation

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Pay it Forward: Lara Kitts, Chair of Family Hope Foundation PHOTO: Elijah Brumback
For Lara Kitts, paying it forward is steadily becoming a full-time job.

Kitts chairs the board of the Family Hope Foundation, a growing all-volunteer organization launched in 2010. The organization works across West Michigan to unburden families that have special needs children.

Families that have special needs children face high stress levels. The financial burden to accommodate the child's needs can be tremendous, Kitts said.

"We're trying to be a support umbrella for all kinds of disabilities," she said. "We want to spread the message that the foundation exists and that there is a huge need."

Through private donors, corporate sponsorship and grants, Family Hope Foundation provides scholarships to families to help offset the high costs of quality treatment and therapy necessary for children with special needs.

Not only does the organization provide funds, but it also puts together community outings and trips for families to enjoy together.

"When you have a child with special needs, for a wide variety of reasons, it's really hard to do things together that are fun for the whole family," Kitts said. "We want provide low-stress, low-cost, fun events that everyone can participate in, (and) that families can go to together and feel safe physically and emotionally."

To date, the Family Hope Foundation has given out 76 scholarships and has partnerships with the Visser YMCA in Grandville and Celebration Cinema for family fun nights. The group has 20 community partners across West Michigan that provides therapy.

Kitts said the next step is working to get paid staff and administration support.

Read 2329 times Last modified on Thursday, 30 August 2012 22:49

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