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Leesburg, VA, July 28, 2016 – The Arc of Loudoun announced today that the ongoing effort to provide a permanent home for a displaced local family has ended in success!
The Arc of Loudoun staff, working with a group made up of community-based organizations, small businesses, civic groups, churches, generous donors and volunteers, came together to help Linda Huffman and Phillip Coe, a Leesburg-based mother and son — both with disabilities — to acquire a permanent place to live independently and more importantly, to stay together.
“People with disabilities face tough challenges to live independently with their families in the community,” said Jennifer Lassiter, The Arc of Louduon Executive Director. “But when that independence was threatened last year, Linda and Phillip’s community rallied around them to help them overcome those challenges. I’m proud to have been a part of it! Everyone has responded with love and support for this family!”
The family’s plight was brought to The Arc of Loudoun’s attention via Pam Spiering of the Loudoun County Parent Resource Center and Diane Culp, a vocational specialist with Loudoun’s Job Link and also a member of The Arc of Loudoun’s Board of Directors. Spiering, a member of the Cornerstone Chapel, had started raising emergency funds for the family, while Diane worked to find housing solutions that kept the family together. Then Jay and Lisa Mattia generously offered their Leesburg home as temporary housing; while The Arc of Loudoun launched a “Fund the Fund” campaign to raise much-needed funds to purchase a trailer or Linda and Phillip to call their own. With the help of Loudoun County Community Services Board staff and case managers; Roger Younker, Marcus Gill, Blaire Lee, and Christy Childs; the family’s needs were met while the funds were being raised to purchase the home.
Phillip has been a participant of Special Olympics in Loudoun County and several people from that community donated to the The Arc of Loudoun fund in honor of Phillip. A graduate of Loudoun County High School, Phillip can be seen cheering on the Lady Raiders at basketball games, so the team held a fundraiser for the family during one of their games last season! The members at McLean Bible Church of Loudoun also helped the family by providing meals when Linda was recovering from heart surgery earlier this year. She will soon return to work and is feeling great.
Dr. Strickland at Leesburg Veterinary Hospital provided the family’s pets with free vet care while they were displaced and all pets were placed in foster care. Patricia Martin, The Arc of Loudoun Board member took care of their cat, Jasmine; while Caitlin Marcotte, of Special Olympics took in Hercules, the other.
Linda and Phillip moved into their new permanent residence at the Leesburg Mobile Home Park earlier this month. The location is perfect for them as it is within walking distance of their jobs and they do not drive. Parker Gallagher, a member of Saint Gabriel’s Episcopal Church, located the trailer and negotiated the sale. The new skirt siding was made possible by the Leesburg Rotary Club and A&A Heating and Air donated and installed a new HVAC system. Tom Spiering donated labor and materials to build the new wood steps and a new mailbox.
This story has an added bonus because this family’s dire situation brought about the creation of the ‘Community Action Team’; a multi-disciplinary team that meets monthly to discuss ways to collaborate to help individuals with disabilities with urgent needs in the community.
“It’s good to be home,” says Linda Huffman.
The Arc of Loudoun is a 501(c)(3), non-profit organization that advocates for and provides direct service to adults and children with disabilities, as well as their families and caretakers, through its many programs: The Aurora School, Open Door Learning Center, ALLY Advocacy Center, STEP Up and Maggie’s Closet. The Arc of Loudoun’s very low 5% overhead costs mean that almost 95 cents of every donated dollar goes back to our programs.
Leesburg, VA, February 3, 2015 – The Arc of Loudoun announces a new initiative to “Fund the Fund”; an effort to replenish the Aaron Kisha Memorial Fund, which helps people with disabilities in financial need in the Loudoun County area.
Dedicated to the memory of a beloved Aurora School student, Aaron Kisha, The Arc of Loudoun established the Fund to help any person with a disability that needs financial assistance on and off campus. It pays for therapy, specialized camps and social opportunities that the families would otherwise not be able to afford. It also “adopts” families during the holidays, purchasing items from their wish lists. Each of these acts commemorates the happy, loving and giving spirit of Aaron Kisha.
Helping a Mother and Son Stay Together
“The Kisha Fund also provides financial support to families who have a loved one with a disability to meet basic needs—food, clothing, shelter, or utilities,” said Jennifer Lassiter, Executive Director of The Arc of Loudoun. “Families like Linda and Phillip, a mother and son both with a disability, who recently lost their home in Leesburg.”
A donation to the Kisha Fund today will prevent Linda and Phillip from becoming homeless by helping them get a permanent residence. They have lived independently for decades, they both have jobs, and they do what they can to stick together and to survive. A temporary housing situation has been found for them, but they still need a permanent home that allows them to stay together as a family and to keep their jobs. They don’t drive, so they must stay in Leesburg close to their jobs and to their support system. With help from volunteers, The Arc of Loudoun staff, case managers, and generous donors, Linda and Philip can get back on the path to independent living.
Linda Kisha, Aaron’s mom, is grateful to The Arc of Loudoun for all of the work done to help keep Aaron’s memory alive. “He would want other special children to be helped,” she said. “You all hold a very special place in our hearts.”
Donating to the Kisha Fund is a win-win because it’s also tax deductible. A simple act of generosity can make such a huge difference. To donate, please go to: www.paxtoncampus.org/kishafund and click on the DONATE button.
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The Kisha Fund
Dedicated to the memory of a beloved Aurora student, Aaron Kisha, the Kisha Fund was established to help any child with a disability in financial need. Annually at Christmas time, the Kisha Fund “adopts” families living below the poverty level who have a child with a disability and helps purchase items from their wish lists. In addition, throughout the year, the Kisha Fund sponsors children for camps, therapy, or social opportunities they would otherwise not be able to afford. The Kisha Fund also provides financial support to families who have a loved one with a disability to meet basic needs—food, clothing, shelter, or utilities. Each of these acts commemorates the happy, loving and giving spirit of Aaron Kisha that we always want to keep alive at The Arc of Loudoun.