Joni and Friends understands that families living with disability need respite. In fact, a recent Joni and Friends survey identified respite care as the number one unmet need among special needs families.
Many parents and caregivers who lack respite care options have to “just keep going,” despite exhaustion, isolation, and discouragement. Just ask Anna and Rajesh, whose 12-year-old son Joshua has Asperger syndrome.
“When you have a special needs child, their demands are so great that you’re consumed.”
That’s why Joni and Friends created Respite at Home, a program that connects nursing school interns with families in need of respite care. Respite at Home gives parents and caregivers a break from the relentlessness of disability while their loved one in need of care enjoys crafts, music, games, and meaningful connection with trained staff, volunteers, and college interns.
For Anna and Rajesh, and families like theirs, provision of respite demonstrates God’s love.
“Respite at Home is so pivotal for families to grow in their faith in humanity because it shows us that we won’t always be marginalized. Respite is God saying, ‘I see you there. You are not alone. I have not forgotten you. I am sending someone to love you,’”
For Joshua, Respite at Home has also brought encouragement and friendship. Before his family found Respite at Home, Joshua often felt lonely. Now he looks forward to seeing Tara and Taylor, the nursing interns who regularly spend time with him. With Tara and Taylor, Joshua has fun and feels understood. The experience has grown his confidence.
“Tara and Taylor are the highlight of our week! I love the interaction between the interns and Joshua. They’ve become like family to us,”
For Anna and Rajesh, Respite at Home has provided a new outlook on life. Like most parents of disabled children, Anna and Rajesh found themselves silently carrying heavy burdens. Sometimes they just needed rest. They needed someone to remind them to take up the light yoke of Jesus Christ—to embrace him and let him carry their burdens.
“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
Respite at Home offers not only respite, but tangible evidence of God’s love. About Respite at Home, Anna says, “It’s been the greatest gift!”
In addition to blessing families living with disability, Respite at Home offers unique hands-on training for interns, volunteers, and church communities.
“Providing Respite at Home has changed my perspective of families with disabilities.”
Joni and Friends Intern
Beyond Respite at Home, Joni and Friends now holds a variety of respite care events across the country. And with your help, we can serve even more families living with disability, meeting their greatest needs and demonstrating the love of Jesus!