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VELA empowers families of children with special needs through hands-on courses, support and community building.

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IRS EIN: 27-2451077
Website: http://velafamilies.org
Email: maria@velafamilies.org
Phone Number: 512-850-8281
Address: 4900 Gonzales St
Austin, TX 78702
VELA is the only nonprofit in Austin offering a free Family Empowerment Program for English and Spanish-speaking families of children with special needs.We inform, connect, support and empower families, starting with the caregiver first.

2018 is a year of growth- VELA is planning its expansion! There are thousands of families that can't come to our 1 location- we are piloting new locations with health and school partners so that we can reach those families in the places they live.

Impact Statement

When told that your child has a special need, your life is forever changed. Special education meetings, doctor's appointments and therapy visits become your new normal. Feelings of confusion and loneliness as well as joy and celebration become a part of this unexpected journey. Doing this alone is hard.

For the last 6 years, VELA has served over 1,000 families of children with special needs. By informing, connecting, supporting and empowering the parent, we are creating the best outcomes for the child and their family. Families that participate in VELA's programming share that they now feel like their child's greatest experts- they also know they are no longer alone and know what questions to ask to get the very best supports for their child and family. We are honored to receive your support to expand our reach to serve more families by "illuminating ability" in the child, parent and community.

Needs Statement

Families of children with special needs encounter so many barriers to participate in VELA's programming- the biggest of them being transportation and living too far away from our program site. VELA wants to go to them- with your help, we can expand our Family Empowerment Program to serve families in Del Valle, Elgin and North Austin!

$25 Provides teaching supplies for one of our 6 week courses for parents of children with special needs

$50 Provides specialized childcare services for parents during one of our hands-on courses.

$100 Provides 1 family with one-on-one Supportive Case Management

$250 Sponsors 1 family for one our 6 week courses for parents of children with special needs

$500 Provides 4 families with Parent Toolkits to navigate medical, therapy and doctor's visits

$1,000 Provides activities for 100 children of all ages and abilities at a Family Fun Day
" I walked into VELA and immediately knew I was in the right place. There were other parents like me and providers that understood. They really listened, they helped me see my strength and honored Brenda for who she is, not her diagnosis. VELA equipped me and my family for the road ahead. "

" When they told me Jose had autism, I had no idea what to do. They gave me so many documents and websites- none of which I understood. It wasn't until I went to VELA that I learned how to support him and myself- I feel ready because I know I am not alone"

"There is no parent manual. There is even less of a guide when your child has Down Syndrome. I felt powerless and confused. VELA helped me find my voice as a parent of a child with a different ability. I now know what to ask for and how to ask for it so Isaac has everything he needs to be his greatest self."
There are lots of ways to volunteer with VELA!

Love kids? You can help us weekly with our specialized childcare services or with planning and executing of our 3 amazing annual Family Fun Days (Play for all abilities Saturdays).

Love event planning? Join our Annual Fundraising Celebration planning team- we work all year to create our annual fundraising event in the fall.