Vlad’s Story

Fifteen-year-old Vlad has a magnetic personality – the first time you meet him you instantly feel connected. One would never know how difficult it was for Vlad to make friends nor the impact the daily physical and social challenges of cerebral palsy had on his self-esteem. Vlad shared he often felt alone, wishing he had friends to hang out with, talk to and lean on.

The team at Safehaven saw what an amazing young man Vlad was and knew they wanted to support him as best they could. In addition to drawing him out and advancing his progress through incredible programming like pet therapy and music therapy, in true Safehaven fashion, the staff went above and beyond and organized regular social time for Vlad with other Safehaven kids his age which ultimately led to planning – his Exceptional First sleepover.

Vlad’s sleepover with his friend was such a special experience. The two were able to lay the foundation for a meaningful friendship. Now, every time Vlad comes for respite, the team at Safehaven books his friend at the same time. The two boys stay up talking and laughing all night long. Vlad always feels re-energized after a sleepover and has tons of stories to tell his mom. For Vlad’s mom, seeing the joy on her son’s face means the world to her and her appreciation for the Safehaven team’s efforts in supporting her son is overwhelming.  

At Safehaven, Vlad is able to “hang out” with friends and do things that kids his age like to do – like play video games, watch movies and as he puts it – “talk smack.” Most importantly, he now has friends he can depend on, confide in and share new experiences with. He now has the sense of belonging he deserves thanks to the community of care he has found at Safehaven.

Safehaven is a leader in providing respite and residential care to vulnerable populations with complex care needs and multiple disabilities. They have impacted more than 2,000 children, youth and their families over the last 25 years. Safehaven is creating Exceptional Firsts every single day!

You have the ability to create more Exceptional Firsts for kids like Vlad. By donating just $50 you can provide pet therapy to a child to support their development and foster a love of animals.