Editor's note: Light One Candle is a series sponsored by the Mail Tribune that focuses on an individual, group or agency that could use a helping hand during the holiday season. Once that need is filled, donations may be distributed to others in need. The series continues until Dec. 22.
Star light. Star bright. Specialized sensory stimulators are needed for a girl who has cerebral palsy, was abandoned by her mother at birth and became a ward of the court.
Due to her disabilities, Alana was not accepted into foster care and was placed in a large state facility in Salem. There she lived in a crib in a large ward with many other children, bereft of any semblance of family life, cut off from her community.
Living Opportunities opened Stone House in Medford specifically to bring four children out of the darkness of institutions, back home to be closer to their families. But Alana has no family, no one to remember her birthday, no one to do the little kindnesses that enrich a child's life.
Alana still lives at Stone House with several of her original roommates, who, along with a caring staff, are the only family and the only home she has ever known.
Living Opportunities staff is seeking to enrich Alana's life by providing her the therapeutic benefits of sensory integration using special products that create a relaxed atmosphere with soothing sounds, captivating aromas, tactile experiences, massage and vibration.
"They will help Alana increase self-regulation and engagement with others," says Tiffany, the house manager.
"Alana loves the lights on the Christmas tree. Truthfully, lights and shiny things are the only things that she is even a little bit interested in."
The light-producing products, made by Snoezelen are, expensive. But they can safely provide the sensory experiences Alana craves. The most beneficial for Alana are fiber optic light sprays ($895), bubble tubes ($1,335) and starry night parachute ($97.95) with accompanying LED UV backlight ($175).
Any contribution will be used to expand Alana's interaction and engagement, and give her some of the gifts she never got to experience as a child.
If you'd like to help, call Living Opportunities at 541-772-1503.