A little over one year ago, A Mother's Rest was put into public service as a full-fledged 501c3. As the parent of a disabled teenager myself, and after having served special needs adoptive families for the last 11 years, I KNEW the very real daily strains. I knew that parents needed a break. I knew that it needed to be more than just enough time to shower. I knew that it needed to be more than a child-less trip to the grocery store. I knew that it needed to be extended time away, in the fellowship of others like me, to do absolutely nothing but SLEEP.
I launched a grand, ever-evolving vision for A Mother's Rest to "fill in the gaps", one hole at a time, to create a proactive, self-care paradigm shift throughout the disability community.
As we are faced with our own selves aging, and our natural fears of what "adult care" looks like in this country, I could only wonder how we as a community can address those concerns proactively. Building a national network of bed and breakfast inn partners has proven highly effective and valuable to the dozens of moms (and dads) who have been able to participate. Three nights away, on your own, with breakfast, at an affordable cost, was just the incentive moms needed TO take that time for themselves and not feel guilty for it.
In 2017, we hosted 6 retreat events, including (2) moms retreats at the Ashland Mountain House in Windham, NY, an #ATLASCLUB Dads retreat at The Rockfish Valley Inn in Afton, VA, a Couples retreat at the Mark-Addy Inn in Afton, VA, and the Buddy Cruise.
In 2018, we have already completed (5) moms retreats: The Camas Hotel in Washington, The Rosemont Inn in Utica, NY (twice), The Holladay House B&B in Orange, VA, and The Mast Farm Inn in Valle Crucis, NC. THIS weekend, we're hosting our first "Mommy & Me" retreat at the Jekyll Club Hotel in Jekyll Island, GA. We will again host families on the Buddy Cruise in November, as well as have our 1st Annual Glamping Trip at Jellystone Park in Mammoth Cave, KY. Our inn partnerships have grown to include locations in Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Illinois, Alabama, and Texas.
I walked away from a very meaningful, personal, world-changing charitable organization knowing in my heart that THIS meaningful, personal, world-changing charitable organization (AMR) also needed a chance. With each retreat "in the books", the feedback from these guests echo each other. "THANK YOU".
For anyone who knows me, I don't serve like this for kudos. I serve because I KNOW the need exists and because I KNOW that I am creative and passionate enough to bring real relief to these parents. We can leverage many organizations, foundations, charitable trusts, churches, businesses, corporations, private philanthropy and government grants to "be our own village".
"So hard to put into words how wonderful this retreat was. Andrea, thank you sooo much for creating this organization. Every morning I awakened to the smell of a wonderful breakfast being prepared, finding a basket of coffee outside my door and enjoying the fellowship at breakfast with these amazing women. Being able to share my journey and hear from other women who share this walk with me is something I will never forget. Many many thanks to Danielle and her amazing breakfasts! Thank you Jessi for sharing your own story with me and being so attentive to our needs."
"I’ve had a great day! Went to sleep early last night (after a relaxing warm bath), got up early, read, did some yoga, ate a delicious breakfast with a lovely group of women, toured and hiked Montpelier, sampled hard ciders at a fairly new and very cool cidery, ate a delicious bbq dinner and now I’m back at the inn, ready to start the whole process again! Thank you so much for this opportunity!!!!!"
"Andrea, I cannot thank you enough for a fabulous weekend! From the treat bags on our beds to the coffee baskets at our door...everything was WONDERFUL! And what a great group of warrior women! I hope you see by the expression on our faces the lasting impact this has, not only on us but our families as well. Thank you from the bottom of my ❤ and to The Mast Farm Inn ...THANK YOU! You bent over backwards for us with coffee each morning delivered to our door, clean towels and made beds, AMAZING breakfasts and the sweetest staff! Thank you so much for making us feel special!"
"I had never heard of AMR, but just two days after hearing about it, I was enjoying the best rest I ever had since becoming a mom. Andrea is a genius for coming up with this idea, and being able to fund it. It was so easy to sign up and attend a carefree weekend with other moms in the same situation. I know the cherished memories will last a very long time, maybe forever. If you are able to go to one of these, please do. I didn't know anyone going, and I feel like I found new friends, as the bond is so great when you have a child/children with special needs."
"A Mother’s Rest offered me respite from my everyday life at a time I was running on empty. I am so thankful that they see that parents of children with extra needs have needs, too, and offer places to pull away from the daily routine once in a while to rest and recharge before complete exhaustion and burnout. I can not say enough good things about A Mother’s Rest. Thank you!"
"I can not say enough about how important respite is. Not only a break from the daily needs of your children with extra needs but the opportunity to connect with others who are walking a similar path is priceless. This is an amazing organisation that is providing a critical, overlooked need."
"As the mother of a child with extra needs, I can't tell you how often I've wished for an organization like this in my life. While I've not been on my retreat as yet, I'm booked and going on my first one in October 2017. This will be the very first time I've had a break in 14 years and I owe it all to AMR, as I would never have been able to afford it on my own nor would I have ever gone by myself. The thought of being able to connect with individuals who know what's it's like to be "me" on this upcoming retreat is priceless. AMR is helping to fill a huge gap in the world of our families, one that's usually forgotten in the urge to assist the children; the parents are not inexhaustible and we need respite."
Need I go on? SPECIAL NEEDS PARENTS, SPOUSES, AND EDUCATORS NEED REST AND FELLOWSHIP. They can attend any number of educational conferences and conventions (all of which are also valuable), but the opportunity to be program-free, worry-free, child-free, for just a few days.....the parents are speaking for themselves! #SLEEPMATTERS
Thank you to everyone who has already stepped up to volunteer their time, has donated to support the costs of these retreats, and who has offered their inns, their livelihoods, to SERVE THESE PARENTS. Thank you to the moms who were nervous about leaving their kids home but did it anyway. Thank you for giving your own selves a chance to truly rest. And thank you for continuing to share A Mother's Rest with EVERYONE in the disability community.
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