What We Do

How we started

Flagged-02-300x225Night Lights was started out of mine and my husband’s journey raising our 2 amazing children; 1 of which has significant special needs. My daughter, Kaitlyn and my son, Zach have truly been the inspiration and motivation for Night Lights. Although this is not the path my husband and I planned as we were starting our family, we are so blessed that this passion chose us. We were so thrilled to give our daughter a younger brother on that very cold New Year’s Day! Zach’s first few months were very “normal”. We adjusted to life as parents of a new born and a 3 year old, and while it felt like a lot to adjust to, it seemed fairly predictable…until it didn’t seem predictable any more. At 6 months old, Zach was diagnosed with failure to thrive. We were told to put him on a high calorie diet and things would change. He did begin to gain some weight, but wasn’t hitting his milestones. When Zach was 9 months old we began the endless journey of medical testing: brain MRI’s, metabolic panels and genetic testing; as well as vision, speech, physical and occupational therapy appointments on a weekly basis. Everything that we knew as solid ground was crumbling beneath our very feet.

This “new normal” was taking its toll on every part of our family’s lives, and my husband and I had some decisions to make about our marriage, our children and our own health. As we began searching for answers, we quickly learned that respite care for parents of children with special needs is in short supply, although the demand is incredibly high. We are learning all of the unspoken pieces that come with raising a child with special needs in addition to raising a typically developing child. We learned that we have to advocate for Zach all day-every day, we have to anticipate his needs and wants, we have to participate in therapy appointments and do extra therapy at home, we have to prepare food for him that is nutritious and high in calories – that he can easily swallow without choking, we are learning to live in the tension of what is versus what ought to be, we are learning how to balance his many needs with our daughters needs, which are totally different, and we are learning the need for self-care. We are still on the path for answers and we still have a lot to learn about parenting a child with special needs. Night Lights offers parents of children with special needs the space for self-care, while their children enjoy an exciting evening with trained volunteers.

Night Lights was started in March of 2011, as a ministry at WaterStone Community Church. In November of 2012 Night Lights became it’s own non-profit organization, maintaining a 501c3 status. Night Lights is governed by a Board of Directors, and advised by a Business Consultant.

What We Do

Night Lights is a respite program for families with children with special needs and their siblings, ages 1 month to 12 years. Each child is paired one-on-one with a trained, background-checked volunteer. There is a nurse on site for all Night Lights events to tend to the children with medical needs. Each evening, the children enjoy a variety of activities such as, sensory and gross motor play, arts and crafts, pet therapy, and movies. Night Lights is from 6:30pm – 10:00pm (Dates vary depending on location. To find a location near you, email
Kristin Steadman).

Night Lights is held once a month from 6:30pm – 10:00pm, year-round. While at Night Lights, each child (the child with special needs and their siblings) is paired one-on-one with a trained, background-checked volunteer. During an evening at Night Lights, the children enjoy a variety of activities such as; gross motor, free play, sensory activities, pet therapy, arts and crafts, movies and a snack (each child brings their own snack due to diverse food allergies). There is a Pediatric Nurse on site for all Night Lights evenings to tend to the children with medical needs. Night Lights is for children ages 1 month – 12 years.

Each family must complete a registration packet for each child, as well as meet with the Leadership Team prior to attending Night Lights. This allows the Night Lights team to pair the children with the appropriate volunteers and plan accordingly. If you are interested in participating in Night Lights, you may contact
Kristin Steadman, call 720.339.7740.

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