Commit to Fit Nation: Connecting Parents to Experienced Service Providers
Run a Google search on “speech therapists in Grand Rapids, MI” and you’ll get over 34,000 results. “Attention deficit disorder resources in Grand Rapids, MI” nets more than 50,000 hits. If you really want to be overwhelmed, try “physical therapy for kids in Grand Rapids, MI”. A staggering 277,000 pages are waiting for you to sift through.
This is the exact scenario Christine Morse doesn’t want parents of a child newly diagnosed with any special need to face. She recently launched a new venture, Commit to Fit Nation, which aims to connect families with kids who have special needs with the community resources that can help them.
The group is working to build a directory of providers in the Grand Rapids area that serve a variety of special needs requirements, from wheelchairs, audio therapy and equipment, physical therapy, even summer camps catering to special needs kids. If there’s a need, Commit to Fit Nation wants to be able to connect the person experiencing it to the right solution.
For Morse, finding great service providers is personal. When her daughter Paige, now 15, was an infant, she was diagnosed with hypotonia, a condition that affects muscle tone. Later, she was diagnosed with attention deficit disorder and other learning and social disabilities. Before the internet had become a research tool, Morse worked her contacts to find the right people to help Paige. Still, it was challenging, time-consuming, and oftentimes frustrating.
“It’s a crazy maze that you just keep going through,” Morse said.
Bringing together trusted resources who have already been vetted by parents facing the same situations would help immensely, Morse explained.
“Some of the best advice I received came from other mothers who had already been through it,” she said.
Commit to Fit Nation plans to host a monthly event to bring parents and providers together, and serve as a place to allow kids to hang out and enjoy each other’s company. Morse said parents she’s spoken to are very willing to give their provider recommendations in the hope that it will help the next parent facing the same situation.
“This directory is going to grow,” she said. “There’s no other resource like this out there.”
Providers will also have the option to utilize Commit to Fit Nation’s marketing services to spread the word about what they have to offer. Although the group plans to start initially by focusing on the Grand Rapids region, Morse said she’s hopeful the idea will grow and eventually be a nationwide resource for parents and children.
Photo credit: Sarah Gilbert