Horizons offers compassion, care for children

Briann DiBenedetto smiles while jumping on a trampoline and is one of nearly 20 children in Rio Blanco County receiving support from Horizons as well as participating in other activities such as a horse-drawn sleigh rides.
RBC I We have so much to be thankful for as this holiday season is upon us. At the top of the list are the children in our communities. An organization that embraces the spirit of giving and deserves much praise is Horizons. They are an organization that facilitates five counties in northwest Colorado: Routt, Jackson, Grand, Moffat and of course Rio Blanco, working with children from birth to age 5 who have developmental delays and disabilities. Horizons focuses on early intervention and also provides a support program for eligible families with disabled or developmentally delayed children to be reimbursed for the care of their child. These include home modification, adaptive equipment and respite care. The idea is to provide home-based care and assistance.
Horizons raises money in each county that is to be used within that county. They receive state and federal money but the money is cut each year even as the demand on their services increases. This year Horizons will host the Little Points of Light Campaign in Meeker on Dec. 2. The event will be a tour of five homes in Meeker to enjoy the decorations and finish with warm drinks and snacks at Wendll’s and Cuppa Joe’s, with food from Ma Famiglia. The cost is $12 per person or two for $20. Money goes toward services in this county and donations will be accepted through December.
Each year Horizons is involved in the Child Find Program hosted by BOCES with the goal of early identification of developmental delays in children. They participate in the health fairs every year as well as take referrals from physicians, teachers and parents. Horizons made a declaration that no child would be turned away and they stand by that oath. In Rio Blanco County alone they work with nearly 20 children and 10 to 15 families.
One family that knows firsthand the benefit of Horizons is the DiBenedettos. Antina had brought her 4-year-old daughter to the health fair when she first came in contact with Horizons. She had a 1-year-old daughter who was not sitting up and decided to meet with staff.
“It is scary at first,” she said. “You meet a lot of people, and there is a lot of paperwork.” She met a therapist from Steamboat named Jody who came into her home with a positive uplifting attitude. They started young Briann on exercises in her home and within two weeks, she was already pushing herself up. The goal was originally for Briann to be standing at 18 months, but by then she was walking. Briann is now 20 months old and still working on some core exercises every two weeks but is doing very well.
“It is amazing, but the word needs to get out to reach younger kids,” Antina said, adding, “In the beginning, it is scary because your child isn’t meeting milestones and nobody wants to hear something is wrong.”
This is where Horizons came in and made such a positive difference by introducing exercises she could do in her house with things she had there.
“Briann made leaps and bounds in two weeks,” she said, and continues to grow. “It was a great experience and a great blessing.” A picture of Briann jumping on a trampoline with a huge smile on her face displayed at the Horizons booth at the Fall Festival is worth a million words. She is obviously a happy, successful young girl.
This is just one of so many heartwarming stories made possible by an organization dedicated to helping children in northwest Colorado. Horizons helps overcome the stigma that can come with developmental delays and disabilities through compassionate care and early intervention. It is certainly an organization worth supporting. This year come out and enjoy an evening of hospitality on Dec. 2, from 4-7 p.m. and help Horizons continue a standard of excellence we are so thankful for. To find more information on Horizons and how you can help, they have a website at www.horizons nwc.org as well as a Facebook page at “Friends of Horizons.”