Serving 150 children annually, the United Services Organization for Children was created out of a heart for advocacy and compassion for children with disabilities. In 1975, The United Cerebral Palsy Association and St. Louis Hearing and Speech, along with committed parents and other professionals in the community, began their search for a way to provide assistance to children with disabilities in St. Charles County. With the help of grants through the United Way, this non-profit dream found a foothold and the United Services for Children was born. Through the efforts of the United Cerebral Palsy Association and St. Louis Hearing and Speech, the organization was officially incorporated in 1977.
As the needs of the community grew, this faithful organization rose to meet them. In 2013, an outpatient program was established named “Uncommon Grace Pediatric Therapy.” Uncommon Grace offers physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech and language therapy, aqua therapy and feeding therapy. Children ages birth through eight years old are eligible to receive these services. In addition, these therapy options are available to both groups and individuals, with coverage provided by most insurance companies.
For children ages 18-36 months, early intervention programs are also offered through United Services. Children in this age range, who have been diagnosed with a delay or learning disability, will partner with their parents and specialists to tailor a program that meets their specific needs. Social, motor, and language development skills are just a few of the services attainable through this program. In addition, there are a wide variety of valuable resources and programs that offer support services to the parents and siblings of children with disabilities.
United Services for Children casts a wide net as it looks for children, adults, and groups that could benefit from assistance, compassion, and understanding of the unique challenges that those with disabilities face on a day-to- day basis. Tens of thousands of children have been impacted by their involvement, and this organization looks to help tens of thousands more. The future is promising as United Services continues to dream big and advocate well for the young disabled members of the community.
This desire for advocacy has spilled over into a new initiative for the organization. The Midwest Children’s Museum would be a space unlike anything presently available in the St. Charles area. The owner of The Meadows retail center, Meir Cohen of Cohen Equities, has offered United Services for Children a gift of three acres to build the museum in Lake St. Louis. The City of Lake St. Louis has also approved for two acres to build a park on the museum campus.
The Midwest Children’s Museum would provide year-round play and enjoyment for children, designed with complete accessibility so that children and adults can share the experience together, devoid of limitations. The space itself would provide a play environment, educational spaces, multicultural opportunities, and activities for all generations. The physical space would be suitable for those with a wide range of disabilities including wheelchair accessibility, and experiences for those with sensory issues. In efforts to become further educated regarding the functioning and feasibility of this museum, members of the organization have visited over 50 children’s museums across the country and attended a variety of conferences, to determine the best way to make this hope into a tangible reality.
At this time, steps are being taken to determine the feasibility and magnitude of the Midwest Children’s Museum. If you wish to inquire more about this project, donate toward the museum, or contribute toward other future or present programs, do not hesitate to reach out to Denise Liebel, President & CEO of United Services for Children at 636.926.2700.
Photo courtesy of M+H Architects