My husband Daniel and I own a business in the medical billing field. Our business allows us to work in tandem with medical providers to help families procure the medical care they need for maintaining healthy lives. As part of our daily work, we advocate tirelessly for many special needs families. We see firsthand the struggles they endure. We have an unenviable, ringside seat to witness the battles they must fight just to give their families the most basic forms of special services and supports. We are honored to work alongside our special needs families. We proudly walk with them, in lockstep and shoulder-to-shoulder, as an integral part of effectively facilitating the medical care their family members require to live healthy, successful lives.
In addition, some of our very dear friends have children with special needs. We have watched these families struggle over the years, desperate to find a replenishing support system for themselves as they fight for the special needs of their children. The stories they have shared with us are brutal and heartbreaking.
The admiration and respect we have for the parents of children with special needs is immeasurable. Their fortitude and enduring commitment to provide the appropriate special supports and services for their children is both awe-inspiring and humbling. As parents, we are all, of course, undoubtedly dedicated to our children. The parents of children with special needs, however, have a deeper layer of devotion to their children, as their children are unable to fully advocate for themselves.
Parents of children with special needs demonstrate a steadfast loyalty to their children. Their determination to secure healthy, successful futures for their children. They know that their children’s lives are depending on them…literally. Yet, special needs families are oftentimes forced into the margins. They fight relentlessly for a foothold in the level playing field of life.
Daniel and I have been incredibly moved and affected in our personal and professional lives by parents and families in the special needs community. Therefore, we decided to follow our hearts and do more.
A few years ago, we started searching for an organization in our own local community that genuinely serves the unique needs of special needs families. We hoped to volunteer our time locally while contributing to a good cause broadly. We did not want an elite, specialized organization. Rather, we wanted to become part of an organization that was all-inclusive, irrespective of any singular type of special need. Simply said, we wanted to find an organization that would help any child and any family.
We experienced great difficulty, however, in finding such an organization. Some organizations were too specific. They helped individuals with one specific type of special need while excluding all others. Other organizations were highly impressive, but they were established to serve special needs at a state and/or national level of scope and range. We wanted to be of service to families locally, right here in our own Northern Valley and Pascack Valley areas.
Despite endless hours of searching, we were unable to locate any single such organization in our area. Our fruitless search for a local organization reminded us of the repeated words of special needs parents. They are the unfulfilled, voiced concerns echoing from special needs community. Time and time again, in our personal and professional lives, Daniel and I would hear the same frustrated plight of local special needs families. They would tell us, “There is no place for us. There is no place for our children. Nobody cares about our daily fights that exhaust us emotionally and financially. It’s like we don’t matter.”
Yet that fruitless search gave us vision. Out of that momentous search was borne the idea to serve our local special needs community by creating our own organization.
These families matter. Their blood, sweat and tears matter. Their tenacious, relentless fights for the special needs of their families matter. Their children matter. Valley Kids Matter!
Our vision came to life on January 1, 2020. Daniel and I are extremely excited to serve our local community through our Valley Kids Matter Foundation. We gladly step into the ring to fight for the special needs of our local families. We hope to significantly contribute to changing lives and giving a clear, loud voice to the special needs community!
We hope you will like our page on Facebook and support our vision!
Heather and Daniel Garcia
*Although our nonprofit foundation was created in mind with supporting the special needs of our local Northern Valley and Pascack Valley area families, we are here to help all families!!
Heather Garcia is an elected member of the Board of Education of the Borough of Norwood. In order to avoid any potential, perceived or actual conflict of interest, or any potential violation of her ethical obligations to the Board of Education, Valley Kids Matter Foundation, Inc. will not provide services to Norwood families for such time as Heather Garcia is an elected member of the Board of Education. Additionally, for the same reasons, Valley Kids Matter Foundation, Inc. will not conduct fundraising activities directed towards, or accept contributions (financial or otherwise), from Norwood residents or families for such time as Heather is an elected member of the Norwood Board of Education.