The Santa Cruz Parent Love Connection was founded in 2009. The organization began as a small support group for parents with special needs children and youth. Today, the non-profit organization provides a variety of services to Santa Cruz County families with special needs children and youth. The organization offer services to all children and youth with special needs regardless of their disability. “We take education very seriously and want to make sure special needs children and youth receive equal opportunities,” said Program Director Maria Scholnick.
The SCPLC has 12 support group parents. They meet monthly every 1st Monday of the month from 9:00 a.m.-10:00 a.m. at the McDonald’s on Mariposa for coffee. The organization encourages local families with special needs children and youth to attend their monthly meets to join their efforts towards improving services for children. “We empower parents with special needs children and youth in our community to become advocates for their children. Parents are able to obtain information on services and special education resources available to them in our area,” said Maria Scholnick.
The organization has accomplished many of their goals which include: organizing educational workshops, art summer programs, family playgroups, social activities, and conferences. This year SCPLC hosted their first Down Syndrome Awareness Walk in October with support from the Santa Cruz Valley Unified School District #35, Superintendent David Verdugo and Special Education Director, Dr. Lunderville at the Teyechea Park in Nogales, Arizona.
Parents and grandparents of children with special needs gathered for a Christmas Night Celebration on Saturday, December 16th. The Christmas Night Celebration was hosted by the Santa Cruz Parent Love Connection and funded by SANDS the Southern Arizona Network for Down Syndrome, parents, and contributions from the community. The event took place in the dining room annex at the McDonald’s on Mariposa Rd. in Nogales Arizona. Children and youth with special needs along with their parents attended the celebration. Special needs children and youth received a free meal and a present from their parents. The celebration included holiday trimmings with Santa Claus distributing presents to all special needs children and youth in attendance.
“We were happy to have families visiting from Tucson, Arizona this year. SCPLC enjoys hosting group activities that fulfill our mission statement to promote awareness, value, and inclusion for special needs children, youth, and their families,” said Mrs. Scholnick.
SCPLC is affiliated with the NDSS and Southern Arizona Network for Down syndrome. SCPLC is funded in big part by SANDS. For more information about SCPLC call (520) 470-5833, you can also find them on Facebook.