As I reflect on 2020, it is with mixed emotions. The obvious overwhelming dark cloud that is Covid is hard to ignore when looking for bright spots. So much loss of life occurred from this pandemic. RNH suffered the loss of one of our own, Karen Schroedel, to cancer. I also suffered a personal loss in the tragic death of my dear nephew. I know many, many people who lost beloved family members and friends this year.
This year started out bright with my middle daughter, Nora marrying the love of her life, Joe, on February 29 in a dramatic, lavish wedding that would be the last big party of 2020 for most of our family and friends. So glad to have seen most of the people I love in one room that day!
It was heartbreaking to close RNH on March 12, 2020 after the governor closed the schools and issued a stay-at-home order. This shut down occurred just weeks before the 4-year anniversary of the ribbon cutting for the first RNH brick and mortar office. We tried tele-therapy, and it worked for some kiddos, but certainly not all.
On June 1 we reopened with precautions and protocols. The kids flourished and we knew this was the right decision We moved to our stunning new location on August 1 and we finally felt like we were home. The benefits of having all three disciplines together is evident in the progress our kiddos are making.
Our team has grown. As of January 4, we will have 19 therapists providing services to our families and one office person. From 1 employee to 20 in less than 5 years. The team we have now is so strong, devoted, and united. It is staggering to me to see these incredible women change lives daily.
I rarely “toot my own horn”, but every time a parent tells me I have changed their lives, I have given their child a voice, I gave them hope when they were hopeless, or as one cherished Mom says they often say “Thank God for Donna”, I am humbled. It simply takes my breath away.
As I say goodbye to 2020, I suggest we all be kind, give grace, and leap. If you believe and you do what’s right, the net will surely appear.
Donna Rowan Culley is the founder/owner of Reaching New Heights and is an experienced Speech Language Pathologist with a specialty in Autism. She is passionate about helping nonverbal children find their voice.