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Each month we spotlight a local nonprofit that's in need of help. It's a way to connect our listeners with charities that make an impact.

Get Involved Spotlight: VELA

From VELA, this month's Get Involved spotlight non-profit:  

No one prepares you for having a child with special needs. There will be ups and downs, acronyms and paperwork, and special education services and doctor’s visits to figure out. VELA was created to empower families of children with special needs through hand-on courses, support and community building. VELA stands for Vibrant. Empowered. Limitless. Able- this is how we feel about the families we serve!

Overview of Services: We know that providing parents with brochures and websites is simply not enough to empower them on this new journey. Instead, we aim to build a community around them through our Family Empowerment and Training Program. Through the parent, for the child. VELA’s programming includes free courses designed to teach parents how to support their child’s strengths and needs, connect to community resources, and navigate systems (Autism, Special Education and Taking Care of You Courses), Monthly Support Groups, Supportive Case Management and Family Fun Days! All programming is in Spanish and English and includes specialized childcare services. 

Program partners include Dell Children’s Medical Center, Seton’s Comprehensive Care Clinic, Austin ISD, Round Rock ISD, Autism Society of Texas, and 60 referral partners. Since our onset in 2010, we have served over 1,000 families through our hands on-courses and wraparound services and look forward to creating a community where all families of children with special needs can thrive.  Check out our Impact Report.  

Want to help? VELA loves its volunteers- community members can support VELA’s mission is many ways! Right now, we need help with getting ready for our Holiday Family Fun Day- a play for all abilities Saturday on December 9th!  Can’t make that? You can also join us as a weekly volunteer for our specialized childcare services- with your help, we can provide inclusive childcare services while parents are in class. As a volunteer, you will play and interact with kiddos of all ages and abilities either during our daytime or evening courses. Additional volunteer opportunities are listed here .

Can’t volunteer, but want to support VELA? Make a tax deductible donation, help us fulfill our wish list or sponsor a Family Fun Day

Mike is the production director at KUT, where he’s been working since his days as an English major at the University of Texas. He produces Arts Eclectic, Get Involved, and the Sonic ID project, and also produces videos and cartoons for When pressed to do so, he’ll write short paragraphs about himself in the third person, but usually prefers not to.
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