Non-profit brings Respite to Northwest Houston's caregivers
A new organization called Desperate For Respite will launch a new push
Friday to help families endure the stress of caring for loved ones with
Tonya Frye, whose son is autistic, actually started the project in 2008.
However, she put it on hold when she realized how great the demand was. Now
incorporated as its own non-profit, the DFR has earned some high-profile
supporters, including the Lakewood Church.
It'll start first with the Spring and Cypress area, holding a ribbon cutting
Friday at 6:30 p.m. at Shirley Acres, 217 Woerner Road. Guests at the event
will include Harris County Judge Ed Emmett and former Houston Rockets player Robert Reid.
Frye explains that family members taking care of children or adults with
autism, Down Syndrome, or any number of other conditions endure
"unbelievable" stress, comparable to taking care of a wounded combat
"We can't take our kids to regular daycare—they get thrown out," Frye says.
Often, family caregivers suffer financially, but save other taxpayers
thousands by not relying on the state to provide care.
One of Desperate For Respite's programs will be called Caregiver Night Out.
Caregivers can bring their kids to the event and take a little time off to
recharge. "I've had family members tell me that they sat across from each
other, husbands and wives, for the first time in five years and had dinner"
because of these events, Frye says.
The inaugural Caregiver Night Out will take place Saturday, May 7 at the
Cypress Creek EMS facility. Frye says she chose this location in order to
help emergency responders learn about how to deal with people with autism,
Down Syndrome, or mental illnesses.
Still, Frye says, it's hard for some caretakers to stop worrying even when
they're supposed to be getting a break. Some spend their "respite" time
worrying about when they'll get a phone call asking them to come pick up
their loved one early.
Frye says DFR has about $16,000 worth of goods to auction off at Friday's
event, and that Lakewood Church and other interested parties will help her
expand the program all across the Houston area, and possibly in other
states. She says impending cuts in state and federal programs only highlight
the need for community-based respite programs.
"This is a perfect time for it, because the budget cuts are not just cutting
education we're talking about the few resources that caregiving families
have, are gonna be cut at least in half," she says. "Big government cannot
do this, it's up to the communities to do this."
For more information on DFR go here.
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