What is SHINE?
Like the holiday lights shining brightly all around the country during this festive season, Children’s Craniofacial Association’s 2015 Giving Tuesday theme is SHINE, because when we think of CCA, one image comes to mind: our kids’ lit-up faces at the Annual Family Retreat. From the moment they peep out from behind their parent’s protective grips and see another kid that has “their same face,” there’s only one word to describe what happens: they shine.
Teresa Joy's Story
During our annual four-day event, CCA Kids’ smiles never leave their faces and “can’t” is not a word you hear. At Retreat, CCA Kids’ confidence beams so brightly that even the parents in attendance breathe in the joy.
Darryl and Deena Dyson, proud parents of Teresa Joy (now age 8), describe their first moments at their first Retreat, with Deena saying, “While holding tight to TJ, I was scanning around at faces, curious about who might also be with CCA. I shortly noticed an adorable girl a few years older than my daughter jumping in the pool, splashing around, and having the time of her life… I was dumbstruck to observe this courageous and fun-loving girl was swimming with a tracheostomy!”
Though they had been having second thoughts about coming to the Retreat even just 24 hours before the family was set to fly out, Dyson continues saying, “I realized in that instant that nothing negative could come out of what we were about to experience at Retreat. This was not going to be a weekend of limits, sob stories, or holding back because of fear.”
Our Annual Family Retreat is life changing for every family member involved. Parents are able to see their children in a new light – in a setting where they excel at making friends and trying new things … something our kids often struggle with back home. Siblings who attend can make friends who “get it” – what it’s like to grow up in a family that often gets more stares than smiles. And of course, the children with facial differences in attendance find a new confidence and zeal for life that is sometimes hard to cultivate apart from such an accepting and welcoming community. The Dysons sum it up beautifully, saying, “At Retreat, we arrived at a place of joy, bravery and miracles beyond what we had ever seen. No one we encountered over the next days is living their lives as if being ‘different’ is a tragedy.” Indeed, these kids are shining examples of living life to the fullest.
Why We Need Your Support
We want to RAISE $5000 to send more kids to retreat - new families and those who have been before but can't get there in 2016. We need to add funding to our scholarship program this year to help more kids experience the CCA Retreat SHINE that doesn't wear off.
What Else Do We Do?
CCA provides medical financial assistance to families traveling across the country for specialist care and surgeries for their child. We cover the things that add up but aren't covered by insurance, like airfare, hotel rooms, and meals.
We host the CCA Annual Family Retreat & Educational Symposium where families from across the country gather and share their experiences of living with a craniofacial difference.
And we fund kindness education and bullying prevention efforts in schools across the country with our #ChooseKind Wonder Initiative, which matches CCA Kids with classrooms reading the national bestseller Wonder, by RJ Palacio, about a 10-year old boy with a facial difference. CCA Kids visit schools, Skype with classrooms, and serve as pen-pals to foster one-on-one, life-changing, empahty-building experiences.
Who We Help
CCA is a national 501(c)(3) organization that offers financial assistance and retreat scholarships to families and individuals affected by facial differences, whether as a result of disease, syndrome, birth difference, injury, or trauma.
Our vision is to help create and live in a world where people are accepted for who they are, not what they look like.