Millie Vicky Gennarose

INCLUDEnyc Voices

Alfonso Lori Jean

“What can I do to make my child’s life better?” My work on INCLUDEnyc’s Resource Line

“You’re the first person I’ve actually been able to talk to.”

This is a statement I have heard more than a few times working INCLUDEnyc's Resource Line. Sometimes they sound frustrated, sometimes tired; but more often than not, they sound relieved.

This statement usually follows an explanation of how they called countless different places trying to get assistance, but eventually gave up because no one answered.

Our parents call for incredibly diverse reasons: Some are trying to fix their child’s busing issues, to find summer camps that will accept their children, or to find vocational programs for after high school graduation.

The questions we get are extremely varied, but the central theme is this: “What can I do to make my child’s life better?”

Each time I pick up the phone, I get a snapshot of their lives and their struggles, and though I’ve worked with students with disabilities before I began working at INCLUDEnyc, these are parental  struggles that I can’t even begin to imagine.

Over the phone, I hear just the basics. They are tiny glimpses of much larger lives, and to me, they are the most compelling.

My part helping parents and caregivers on the Resource Line is small, but the accomplishments of our advocates whom I pass the calls to are immeasurable to me. They help to give these parents hope when otherwise there seems to be none.

The work and heart that goes into each parent is astounding and inspiring. The best part is seeing first hand how the consideration goes beyond the end of the first call. It continues until the work is done. When I think about this, I realize that we may be a small organization, but I truly believe our work is immense.

If you or someone you know needs help navigating the special education or disability services process, or who has any questions about their child with a disability, please don’t hesitate to call our Resource Line.