Salt River’s Heaven Sent program held the Fourth Annual Heaven Sent Honorary Walk on December 21 to support individuals with special needs and disabilities. Families and friends of those with special needs and disabilities walked with them and in honor of those who were unable to attend the event.
The walk started at the Salt River Ball Field and ended at Friendship Park, where there was a small reception with snacks and a visit from Santa Claus. Walk participants also received T-shirts.
“My grandson has special needs. He is in a wheelchair. I am here for him and the other special-needs kids,” said Andrea Stepp. “The Heaven Sent parents have been a lot of help and support [to us], especially Aaron Carasco. He knows a lot of things. He has gone through a lot of services with the schools and other things, so he is a good person to go to when you need help.”
The Heaven Sent program is a support group consisting of family and friends supporting children with disabilities or special needs. It is a non-profit organization whose members come together to support and share their concerns with each other. The program reaches out to the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community to educate parents on various education and developmental programs so they may receive the right services for their special-needs children. Karen Schurz, Alice Manuel and her daughter Raeann Brown started the program in 2003 after learning that Brown’s son Zereion had autism.