Our partnership helps parents see that self-care isn’t selfish

An autism diagnosis can be overwhelming for parents. That’s what David and Joreen Varecka heard shortly after their son Gavin’s second birthday.

“I like to fix things, and this was something I couldn’t fix, but we knew there were a ton of services available to us and that’s when we came across David’s Refuge,” says David.

David’s Refuge provides respite, resources and support to parents and guardians of children with special needs or life-threatening medical conditions. Through an Excellus BlueCross BlueShield Health Equity Award grant, the organization can now provide mental health counseling services for full-time, unpaid family caregivers.  

“It can be difficult at times to communicate with Gavin because he is also non-verbal,” says Joreen. “Sometimes it’s just too much, I need help and my family is right there to support us along with David’s Refuge.”

“With our mental health counseling services and wellness programs, we give caregivers the tools they need to be the best version of themselves,” says Kate Houck, Executive Director of David’s Refuge. “From overnight getaways to community events, caregivers get a chance to connect, talk, recharge, and know they are not alone.”

(Video) David and Joreen share more with us on being parents to a special needs child and how their lives have been impacted by David’s Refuge.

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