Blogathon: Respitality

Guest Blog: This blog entry was contributed by the Developmental Disabilities Association’s Assistant Director of Family Support Services, Terry Schenkel. I’ll also touch up a bit more on Respitality on my next Blogathon post.

This week I invested some time into speaking with the general managers of local hotels about DDA’s respitality program. The respitality program has operated for nearly seven years. It was created to offer parents a complimentary night stay at a local hotel with the hope they get some relaxation and needed sleep. To be eligible, parents must have a child with a developmental disability and a connection with DDA’s services and supports. Fifty families are currently registered in the program and last year more than ten free nights were given out to families in need.

The program operates with the gracious contributions of corporate partners, many of whom have contributed for years. We thank them for their participation and help. Many times a family emails me after their experience with a letter of heartfelt thanks. Parents have said: “it was the first time in months I slept undisturbed for an entire night”, “it was the first time me and my husband went out for dinner, a walk and came back to watch movies on TV”, “it was first time in years that an hour in the tub was possible”. Who would think that just one complimentary night stay at a hotel would be so beneficial to a mom and dad? But small things are so important.

So far, even with the Olympics, I received an immediate “yes, we will contribute to this valuable opportunity” from several local hotel general managers and sales staff. We’re hoping to expand the program and offer more opportunities to parents so they can have a mini break from the daily care of their children with special needs.

Always on the lookout for contributions.

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