2012 Duck Race: Best-Kept Secret

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EUGENE, Ore. — At Happy Hearts Kids Care, every day has a set routine, one the kids who come here can get accustomed to. That’s something the owner and director Christine Friedemann learned from her experience with her own son years ago.

“He just socially wasn’t doing well in the classroom. He wasn’t interested in academics,”¬†she said. “I was really struggling. At that point, it was time for me to get help. That’s when I discovered Direction Service.”

” Christine is a very skilled parent, she’s very articulate and she’s always been passionate about her children,” says Aimee Walsh, Direction Service’s family coordination director and the Friedemann family’s advocate. “But she still was running into barriers and was finding she wasn’t able to get the things that her family needed.”

Ten years later, the relationship between Christine, her son and advocate is strong.

“I know that he’s built a relationship with someone who is going to continue to be that person who represents his best interests and helps him to interpret that world, just like they’ve helped me all these years,” she said.

“He’s been involved in his school program since the get-go,” Walsh lauded. “So he started coming to his meetings and talking about what’s going well and what isn’t. As he becomes a young adult, he’ll be really prepared to become a self-advocate and say, ‘Here are the things I need help with and here are the things that are hard for me.'”

Christine’s experiences with Direction Service prompted her to start her own daycare. Now, she tells every parent about the non-profit, hoping it won’t be our community’s best-kept secret anymore.

“Having someone to call when you don’t know what to do is huge,” she said.

Said Walsh: “Seeing the success of Christine and her family really helps families in distress get through those moments.”

To buy a ticket for the Great Rotary Duck Race, click here.

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