Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

Southern California Moms "Jump" at the Chance to Help Kids with Disabilities. (What's Happening)

Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

Southern California Moms "Jump" at the Chance to Help Kids with Disabilities. (What's Happening)

Article excerpt

On Saturday, May 11--Mother's Day weekend--a group of ordinary, relatively sane people will parachute out of an airplane at 13,000 feet in order to raise money--and heart rates--for PAUSE4KIDS, a Ventura County-based nonprofit organization that helps children with physical and developmental disabilities.

The event, "WE CAN FLY," was conceived by Keri Bowers and Terri Mandell, community activists, mothers of children with special needs, and recently converted skydiving enthusiasts. After a mutual friend informed them that she'd done a tandem skydive for her fiftieth birthday, the two Southern California moms decided to take a dive for their cause and invite others to join them. While experienced skydivers will be participating, the majority of participants will be people like Keri and Terri, who are novices at skydiving, but, as parents, teachers, friends and supporters, are experts at caring for children with special needs.

Keri Bowers, whose 13-year-old son, Taylor, has autism, is the founder of PAUSE4KIDS and a cofounder of WE CAN FLY. "It's difficult to explain the link between skydiving and raising a child with special needs," says Keri, "but it definitely has to do with fear and risk-taking. Caring for a child with special needs can be a terrifying experience. Jumping out of an airplane pales in comparison."

Terri Mandell, co-creator of the event, has an 11-year-old son with a life-threatening illness. She also finds skydiving to have a profound emotional benefit. …

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