By Flo LaRoy
Fifteen years ago, we started with a dream, a hope and a vision of what is right and possible for our children. Our mission began with families sitting around a kitchen table looking into the future; seeing their youngsters growing, thriving and experiencing life’s offerings. Yet, we recognized that between dream and reality there stood a lifetime of work. So began Nevada PEP, a homegrown nonprofit organization, offering Education, Empowerment, and Encouragement to families of children with disabilities.
Living with a disability whether through birth, injury or disease can cause considerable stress and strain for a family. Information and guidance is a critical component in keeping families together. Our services are about empowering families to be life-long advocates for their children through education and skill building. Nevada PEP recognizes that parents are experts on their children; but must learn about disabilities, intervention needs, and how to develop a support system to meet those needs.
Nevada PEP is a family of families caring, supporting and guiding one another through the challenges of raising children with disabilities. We have shared many of your experiences! When your family and friends fail to understand, you always have someone to talk to at Nevada PEP. You are NOT ALONE! All of our staff has been impacted by disability in some way and recognizes that navigating Nevada’s challenging support system is frustrating at best.
We are dedicated to increasing the opportunities for home, community, and school success for children with disabilities, including those who are at risk or who have serious emotional disturbances. There are many different configurations of our families; aunts, uncles, grandparents, and friends. We have natural, foster, and adoptive parents all seeking help. No family is ever turned away!
Nevada PEP is a statewide organization serving families with children having an array of special needs from birth to 26 and their service providers. We offer a variety of training workshops on special education and disability related topics. Information on training opportunities and registration is available on-line at www.nvpep.org or through the Nevada PEP office at (702) 388-8899. The Las Vegas office on 2355 Red Rock Street, Suite 106, welcomes visitors to its resource library filled with handouts, books, and electronic media. Families requiring a higher level of support can request individual assistance.
Over the years, not only has PEP made a difference in families, it has also made a positive impact on disability services through its collaboration and advocacy efforts. A professional in the community stated “Show me a family with a positive outlook and optimism for the future and I’ll show you a family that’s got PEP”.
About the Author: As a trainer and founding member of Nevada PEP, Flo LaRoy uses her education and experience in a career dedicated to making a difference for children with disabilities, including her own son. She feels that knowledge of disabilities and information about navigating service systems are keys to success, helping parents meet their child’s needs and maximizing their independence.