Time for another Cubsmom Spotlight. I met Laura Sefcik through a friend, and I was immediately drawn in by her lovely smile and kindess. Along with meeting Laura, I got to meet her adorable little girl full of fire and gumption. Little did I know that her daughter was born with Dup15q Syndrome (a chromosomal disorder), autism, and celiac disease.
Laura created “Fluttering Families,” which brings our community together and offers events and activities geared toward children with special needs. Let’s hear from Laura:
In 2009, my daughter was diagnosed with Dup15q Syndrome (a chromosomal disorder), autism, and celiac disease. This was a life-altering moment. For about six months, I was in a very dark, isolated place all while trying to care for my (then) two young children. As we began to adjust to our new life path, I felt disconnected from the community because of the lack of opportunity for families like ours. We couldn’t participate in many of the activities and events that other (typical) families were enjoying, like Easter egg hunts or going to the movies, without feeling judgment and scrutiny from those around us. All children and families deserve to feel included and respected in their community, regardless of their challenges or abilities.
So, in 2011, I decided that I needed to change all of that, for both my family and all of the other families that shared similar circumstances. Everything that we do takes the entire family into account. So, the siblings, parents, grandparents, and caregivers of children with special needs can all participate together.
Tell me about what you anticipate for Fluttering Families in the future.
I anticipate big things for Fluttering Families in the future! Each event doubles in size each year. Our first Easter egg hunt in April 2012 had about 100 children participating (both children with special needs and their siblings); our hunt this past March had over 300 children registered! As time passes, we have really found our niche in the community. No one else is doing what we are doing to this degree.
We rely strictly on donations and sponsorships to provide our services, and every penny raised goes back into the events and activities. We received 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status from the IRS in 2015 which grants us much more opportunity to collect donations to be used for the events and activities. I do not get paid for being the Executive Director—my wealth comes from serving others and making a difference in the lives of families with special kids. Including my own.
We recently ventured down the path of being a vendor/exhibitor at conferences that are relevant to special needs, along with selling unique products to generate revenue, including apparel, accessories, and office supplies. You can check them out at flutteringfamilies.org!
My “wish list” for Fluttering Families is to have a building/space to use, so that we can decrease the amount of funds that are spent on rental fees (as appropriate). I would be happy with after-hours access to an existing building, or one that we can call our own!
What did you do before this or what do you do now?
I have been a clinical social worker since 2001, having both a bachelor and master’s degree in social work. I also have a master’s degree in public health (2005) and have recently become a registered nurse (2015). I have been working for the Wexner Medical Center at The Ohio State University since 2002 and have just begun my nursing career at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.
I was born a helper, and get my energy and spirit from serving others! I operate Fluttering Families in my “free time”, and love to include my children in the experience. My kindergartener serves as the Assistant Director, and is a huge asset to the organization.
What events do you have coming up?
We have a few events already scheduled, and many that we plan on short-notice to meet the needs of families.
All events are posted on our website: flutteringfamilies.org, under “Events”.
How can families be a part of it?
The best way for families to receive information about our activities and events is by signing up for our mailing list atflutteringfamilies.org by entering their email address at the bottom right of the page. They can also “like” our Facebook page atFacebook.com/
Tell me about your family.
I have a fantastic family! I have been married to my college sweetheart for 11 years and we have had three awesome children together: Ava (9), Caleb (6), and Jonas (3). Both of my boys are typically-developing and are the most amazing siblings that my daughter could ever want. We have three cats: MaryEllen, Gretchen, and Phannie. So, we eat and sleep in a lot of cat hair! My parents, known as “Nana” and “Papa”, moved into our neighborhood last year from the Cleveland area to help us raise our familyand support our needs—because we have a lot of them!
What is your favorite book?