Horizons fundraiser under way

Proceeds benefit early intervention program for kids

How to donate to Little Points of Light

Donations to Little Points of Light, an annual fundraiser for Horizons Specialized Services, may be sent to P.O. Box 1483, Craig, CO, 81625. Donations support the organization's early intervention program for children up to 3 years old with developmental delays. For more information, call 824-7804.

Horizons Specialized Services is asking Moffat County residents to help support its program for local children.

The organization kicked off its annual Little Points of Light fundraiser early this month.

Its purpose: To supplement state funds for Horizons' early intervention program, which provides therapy for children up to 3 years old with developmental delays.

The program is designed to help children before they enter school, a step that could prevent struggles later in life.

"(Statistics show) early intervention : is wonderful for the individual child and his or her family, but it also saves money later on because kids enter school ready to learn and, in many cases, catch up," said Susan Mizen, Horizons Specialized Services executive director.

Children who show measurable developmental delays can qualify for the program. Those delays can include a child's inability to stand up, roll over or walk at certain points of their development.

Using a combination of play-based techniques, Horizons' families can help developmentally delayed children build vocabulary and strengthen motor skills.

For instance, a therapist may have children sort toys or maneuver through an obstacle course.

In many cases, children don't know they're in therapy, Mizen said.

As an added benefit, therapists meet parents and children in their own homes.

Service costs are billed to families' insurance. If a family is uninsured, the state helps pick up the bill.

"Unfortunately, the state's in a situation that it can't fully fund all the things it knows are important, and so they haven't been able to fully fund families who don't have insurance," Mizen said.

That's where Little Points of Light steps in. Its proceeds help families without insurance who are enrolled in the program.

The fundraiser, which has been an annual campaign for about seven years, solicits mail-in donations from four of five counties in Horizons' service area.

Residents in Moffat, Rio Blanco, Grand and Jackson counties can contribute to the fundraiser. Routt County doesn't participate in the fundraiser because it has a mil levy that supports Horizons' family and children's programs.

Contributions made in Moffat County stay in Moffat County, supporting its early intervention program and, in some cases, its family support program. The latter offers services to families of developmentally delayed people, including specially trained caretakers to watch for a child when his or her parents are away.

Last year, Little Points of Light raised $5,745 for Moffat County.

"This has been a very successful fundraiser for us in the past," Mizen said.

Little Points of Light is scheduled to end late next month. However, residents still can contribute after the fundraiser is officially over.

Donations can be sent to Horizons Specialized Services, P.O. Box 1483, Craig, CO, 81625. For more information, call Horizons' Craig office at 824-7804.

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