When you step foot into Sammy’s House, the expansive building feels like an overly large daycare. But you’ll come to find that it’s much more than that. Isabel Huerta, founder and executive director, started the center as a family home child care center in November 1999. At the time, only four children were in her care.
Sammy is Huerta’s late son, who was developmentally delayed and needed plenty of help from his family. Huerta took it to heart when he passed, desiring to assist other families and their children. She developed the curriculum for what was soon to become Sammy’s House, “a special place for special children.”
Overwhelming Need Inspires Sammy’s House Expansion
Since that time, the needs of children from underprivileged homes has been overwhelming, leading Sammy’s House to become the nonprofit it is today. The organization opened a newer center in March 2002, focusing on child development and respite care programs.
The day programs offer daily learning with a combination of therapy, educational goals, and care helpful to all students and their growth. The child development and day programs require enrollment, whereas the respite care programs don’t. The latter are meant to assist families with economic disadvantages who have busy schedules.
All the programs focus on filling in the gap of services needed for children who are medically fragile or developmentally delayed, from newborn to 16.
In order to accommodate the growing number of children in need, Sammy’s House moved to its current location in January 2007, off Burnet Road. Though the child development and respite care programs compose the bulk of their work, Sammy’s House has added a summer camp program, which has done remarkably well over the years.
The center’s philosophy, that all children have the ability to learn and contribute to their community, regardless of economic background or developmental stage, helps children and their families grow in spite of hardships. The facility has an array of professionals helping families, with skills that include occupational therapy, speech therapy, special educational services, and physical therapy.
During the summer, the number of employees can reach 21, with 13 employees during the academic year. Hundreds of volunteers and sponsors pitch in, as well.
“Sammy’s House has built a strong relationship with the community, due to an obvious passion for helping children and families in need. The Austin nonprofit hopes to grow with the community over the years, continuing to facilitate learning experiences for each child who comes through the doors.
2415 Twin Oaks Dr. – Website
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