FECTS Director Message
- Written by Colleen Gallant
It’s hard to imagine we are already halfway through the summer.
So many great things are happening with Florida Elks Children’s Therapy Services.
Our new occupational therapist, Camille Arevalo, started July 11 in the Miami area. We are excited to have Camille with us and give us an occupational therapist in the Miami area along with our longtime physical therapist, Chantal Salnave. We are all very pleased that Camille will be treating children as far south as Marathon and I know that everyone in the Keys will welcome Camille. We have waited a long time to be able to offer services in the Keys.
On May 12, we attended the Harry-Anna Trust Fund gala in Daytona Beach. Our FECTS CHAMP of the year, Jackson Barth, along with his parents, Mick and Katie, and his brother, Everette, joined us for the event. As you can image, Jackson was an instant hit with our members and distinguished guests at the gala.
This year’s state convention was held at the Marriott World Center again. It was exciting to meet so many people and to talk about our amazing therapy program to our members and guests. Jackson and his family were our guests and they sincerely appreciate meeting our members and talking about Florida Elks Children’s Therapy Services.
A special thank you goes to Paula Tarver, occupational therapist from the Southwest Central District, who spoke about sensory processing issues as well as the Autism spectrum at the major projects luncheon. She also showed a brief video of a young man who could not walk when she first started working with him and at the end of the video, he took his first steps. There was not a dry eye in the room. Always remember that it is you, the Elks of Florida along with our Ladies organizations, who make therapy services possible.
We have once again started traveling the state for the state president’s visits. The first stop was at the Central District in Orlando where Jane Russo, physical therapist, spoke Saturday evening, June 9. She had a great success story to share with everyone in attendance.
At the South District visit, Tressy Guadagno, occupational therapist from the West Central District, represented the south as the regional coordinator in that area. As you would expect, Tressy’s presentation at the dinner Saturday night was excellent. On our way to Key West, Tressy and I stopped in Marathon to meet with the first family we will treat in the Keys.
I sincerely appreciate both Jane and Tressy taking time from their busy schedules to speak at these visits. This gives our therapists an opportunity to meet with our members and answer any questions they have and to speak about their patients and the amazing success we are having treating children in their homes.
During some of the board of directors meetings at the state convention, you may have heard conversation about the family that Florida Elks Children’s Therapy Services was sending to the time-share vacation for a week. This is a family of six with a 13-year-old girl we have been treating. Due to her illness with complications including paralysis and partial amputation as well as her father’s illness, the therapists felt like this family was appropriate for the week at the time-share. Adding to their decision to choose this family was the fact that her older siblings were at Parkland High School the day of the shooting and although they were not injured, they were nonetheless traumatized. At the board meetings we asked for funds to help this family of six with theme park tickets and the balance was used on a gift card to be used for food. The family returned from their vacation Friday, June 22. Our therapist was at their home today to treat our patient and her mother said to our therapist, “Because of you, Erica; your boss; and the Florida Elks, our family bonded. Thank you.” I don’t know about you, but I can tell you that when I hear from a family that has been through so much that they had a week together to be able to bond, that makes me so proud to be a Florida Elk. So, for all of you Florida Elks and members of Ladies organizations, this family sends you a special thank you. Thanks also go to Florida Elks Charities and Florida Elk Properties for their help in making this amazing week possible for this family.
If you would like to have a therapist at your lodge for an event, visit our website, floridaelks.org, and under the Therapy Services section, complete the therapist participation form and we will do our best to have a therapist at your event.
Several lodges are having special events for Florida Elks Children’s Therapy Services. Please know how much we appreciate what you are doing for our program and we will do everything we can to make your event special.
On behalf of our 27 therapists and myself, thank you for being the best Elks in the nation and for your amazing support of Florida’s major projects and especially Florida Elks Children’s Therapy Services.
Have a safe and happy rest of the summer!
Colleen Gallant, Director
Florida Elks Children's Therapy Services