Families living with disability often crave a sense of belonging, including the opportunity to give back.
Just ask Kevin and Sarah, parents of six children (Katie, Eli, Michael, Hannah, Daniel, and Josiah), four of whom have disabilities.
After a journey with infertility, Kevin and Sarah looked into international adoption. As they started their family together, they also entered the world of disability. Michael lives with hearing loss, autism, ADHD, and orthopedic challenges that require him to use a wheelchair. Hannah and Josiah have Moebius syndrome, which affects two in a million people; and causes facial paralysis. And Daniel has cerebral palsy.
Like many parents navigating disability, Kevin and Sarah found that ongoing caregiving routines and the complexities of life can become overwhelming. That’s when a friend told them about Joni and Friends Family Retreat…
Finding Belonging at Family Retreat
Families dealing with a disability desperately need a place where they can let down their guard and breathe in the renewing presence of Jesus. They need a safe haven where they can receive spiritual encouragement and have heart-to-heart connections with other special needs families who are on the same path. And it’s exactly what happens at Family Retreat!
Within the Joni and Friends community, Kevin, Sarah, and their children knew they had found a place to call home.
Kevin and Sarah shared: “We were blown away at our first experience! Family Retreat is a place for our family to be… normal. There is no other place where you can step into a fully immersive environment that is adaptable for your family, equal access to worship, and we know that the volunteers will love on our children with God’s love.”
“At Family Retreat, we get to chance to slow down and watch our children enjoy life.”
How Kevin and Sarah Give Back
After years of attending Family Retreat with their children, Kevin and Sarah got a new idea. Learning that Joni and Friends Retreats & Getaways often have waitlists, they asked how they could help other families discover the peace, joy, and connection of Christ at Family Retreat. That’s how Kevin and Sarah became Joni and Friends volunteers!
By coming to serve other families, Kevin and Sarah realized, they could make space for more people to come, and help share the love and comfort of Christ that they had long received. They now serve as volunteer coordinators for two Joni and Friends Family Retreats. So far Kevin and Sarah they have trained and mentored over 400 volunteers—and the experience has made their marriage and family stronger than ever.
Family Retreats offer a safe and accepting Christ-centered environment for families living with disability, making it a little slice of heaven for everyone! At Family Retreat, families are cared for, encouraged, and rejuvenated in an accessible camp environment.