In April, 2012 the Garfield county Sooner SUCCESS coalition created a local respite program to provide one free evening of respite care per month to Garfield County children with special needs and their siblings age 6 months to 12 years. The program is hosted by Christ United Methodist Church and operates solely on community volunteers and donations. Each child is assigned a regular adult buddy to facilitate relationship building. Buddies are trained by local providers who volunteer their time to provide training on CPR, positive behavior support, safety protocols when working with children and youth.
Volunteers receive a program orientation, program t-shirt and individualized instruction from parents on their assigned child. All volunteers must agree to background screening and provide personal references. So far the program has served 25 children from 15 families and recruited over 50 volunteers to serve as buddies, volunteer support, & cleanup crew. The volunteers receive a free meal before each session, provided by a supportive community group or civic organization. Recently the community celebrated the success of the program by providing holiday gift cards for each family & volunteer along with personal gifts for each participating child, hand delivered by Santa.