Barbara and Jim Parks
In the summer of 1991, Barbara and Jim Parks sent their son, Wade, away for the first time in his life. The Texas couple enrolled their teenage son in a summer program at the Institute of Logopedics, now Heartspring, in Wichita.
Wade had a diagnosis of cerebral palsy, but that didn’t stop him from enjoying life and the people around him. His family heard of the Institute, and after much deliberation, decided the services offered would be helpful for their son. While he was there, he went to school, received therapies and went on a number of fun outings. The experience really made a big impact on Wade.
“He had changed,” Jim said. “He was much more mature. He had developed more maturity that summer than in any year prior to that.”
Barbara and Jim shared that Wade improved in social interactions and handling instructions.
The next summer, Wade had a seizure and passed away. Even after Wade’s death, Barbara and Jim continued to support Heartspring and its mission, but more than 20 years later, they decided they wanted to make an even bigger impact with a gift of $25,000 to the organization. It was something the couple had been planning for a long time.
“We’ve had a special place for Heartspring.” Jim said. “We felt like the staff met Wade where he was and worked to help him develop what he had. It was pretty individualized.”
Their gift will support new curriculum and educator training. This will help ensure students continue to receive individualized education from well-trained professionals. Their generosity will also allow for new technology on campus, by providing SMART Tables, an educational device that gives students a new, hands-on way to learn. Barbara and Jim said they particularly liked the social interaction the tables encourage.
To honor Wade, they have arranged for a plaque in the memorial and tribute courtyard. His name will always be a part of Heartspring. People in years to come will know about Wade, and the impact he and his family made on the organization. Barbara and Jim hope their gift will continue that standard of care and instruction so children can grow, just like Wade did.