Kindness. Inclusion. Neurodiversity.
That's our thing.
The Guide Project Inc. is the heart-child (see what we did there?) of Dan and Stacey Cheney. As parents to two boys - one with disabilities and one without - they know first-hand the joys and challenges of parenting children with diverse needs.
Finding truly inclusive programs
Whenever they set out to find enrichment activities, like camps, sports or other programs, finding ways to meet their "neurotypical" child's needs and interests wasn't a problem. But when it came to their other son, it was a different story. The programs were much harder to find. And it turned out, simply accepting children with disabilities didn't make a program inclusive.
The cost of special needs parenting
They also discovered that an availability of programs is not the only barrier facing families of children with disabilities. Between therapy bills, medical bills, and a variety of other costs, sometimes an inclusive program, if it is available, is just not affordable, on top of everything else.
Inspiration for The Guide Project Inc.
So, like many parents, they researched and made connections and then researched some more. They found valuable programs and resources and funding support. But it took time. And together, they began to wonder: What if all of these programs were in one place? And what if there were more of them?
Then, one day, their older son approached them with a bag full of coins he had taken from his piggy bank and asked if he could give it to those who didn't have anything. And it struck them both - despite the challenges he faced, this was a kid who was focused on how he could help others. It was pure, it was genuine - and it was refreshing.
As parents, they realized that they had spent so much time trying to find programs that could accommodate his needs (though that was and continues to be hugely important), but what about programs that would see him as more than just a disability to address? What if there were programs that didn't just want to help him - but wanted to help others get to know him, as a unique human being with something valuable to contribute to the world?
A merging of two visions
The Guide Project Inc. is a merging of these two visions: we want to create a world with more inclusive programs, so that people with disabilities and their families don't miss out on life-enriching experiences that others may take for granted - and a world that doesn't provide these opportunities out of pity, but instead because they know the value that inclusion brings to everyone.
We hope that you'll join us on our journey.