Organization provides free services for families with chronically ill children.
By Valerie Champion
A local nonprofit for families who have special-needs children is recruiting student volunteers to help provide its free services, a representative of Any Baby Can told the Future Teachers’ Organization Wednesday at this college.
Angelica Martinez, outreach and volunteer coordinator, spoke to about a dozen students and faculty members at the club’s meeting in Room 103 of Gonzales Hall.
“We try to be a really great road map for people,” she said of Any Baby Can.
The nonprofit agency provides services to families who have a child with a chronic illness, disability or developmental delay, Martinez said. Families must reside in Bexar County or one of 18 surrounding counties, including Atascosa, Bandera, Blanco, Caldwell and others.
Martinez played a short video depicting smiling children playing with toys, the kind of childhood Any Baby Can strives to help create through their programs, counseling services and training events for parents.
Any Baby Can has programs that help the families of special-needs children from infancy to age 17. The children have conditions such as autism, asthma and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, Martinez said.
Martinez said families do not need a referral or a diagnosis to qualify for the free services Any Baby Can provides. Parents who are unsure of their child’s condition are put in touch with an intake specialist who helps determine the needs of the child.
“It can get very overwhelming, and I run into a lot of parents and legal guardians who just don’t know what to do,” she said.
Any Baby Can also offers prescription assistance to individuals of any age who have a chronic illness and can’t afford medication. The program provides individuals with a free prescription for up to a year, Martinez said. She said the program is often helpful to senior citizens.
The organization also provides health and wellness training, where parents learn healthful eating and exercise habits, autism training where doctors address parents’ questions and a center for infant and child loss where families are provided counseling and burial services.
Martinez said Any Baby Can has sibling support services at 6 p.m. every Friday. The siblings of children with a chronic illness or condition are able to play and talk about their emotions with counselors.
“For those few hours, it’s all about them,” Martinez said.
Any Baby Can has been around since at least the 1990s, she said. It now has branches in Kerrville and New Braunfels, as well as a San Antonio branch at 217 Howard St. All facilities are open 8 a.m.-5 p.m., according to the organization’s website.
Martinez said Any Baby Can is looking for volunteers to supervise children in the afternoon. To volunteer, students can go to anybabycansa.org and click on “application.”
The Future Teachers’ Organization will meet again at 1:45 p.m. Wednesday in Room 103 of Gonzales.