Christy Reinhardt may look like an ordinary mom, but there is nothing ordinary about her. Aside from her natural vibrancy, easy smile, and willing openness, she is, like any mother, a tigress protecting her cubs; Cross, her older son, and Crew, his younger brother. And, like any mom of growing boys, she cherishes and adores her sons, and celebrates all that makes them unique in this world. But this is where ordinary ends and extraordinary begins.
You see, Crew is eleven, and he is autistic. This is one of the facts that make him unique, but by no means the only fact, and Christy cannot imagine her youngest being more treasured or more wonderfully exceptional. Children require a fierceness of purpose from those who love them, in order to make their life the most enriching that it can possibly be. This is especially true for children with special needs. They are like other children, only more so. What makes Christy Reinhardt perfectly suited to be Crew’s mom, is that she has channeled her energy, experience and hard won wisdom into founding a non- profit organization (Crew’s Voice) that not only benefits and enhances her own child’s life, but all children with disabilities in Pawling and surrounding communities.
When Crew was seven, he was, for the most part, still unable to speak. Christy was determined to help him find his voice…both literally and figuratively. They worked tirelessly together toward achieving that goal, and Crew’s Voice emerged. It speaks for children with disabilities and their families.
Located in the recently expanded space at 11 West Main Street, Crew’s Voice, a 501 (c)(3), is “dedicated to providing educational, social and recreational activities to families living with children with special needs,” including children with autism, autism spectrum disorder and developmental disabilities. Through a program called Crew’s Voice Buddies, children are paired with non disabled friends who encourage them in activities ranging from basketball and baseball to parties and socials, “building self-esteem, trust, communication, and an overall sense of belonging in the community”, and always under adult supervision. It is a win/win for all children involved, fostering patience and understanding among the buddies, and personal growth for all.
Crew’s Voice is always looking for volunteers and fund raising is ongoing. You can contact Christy at 845-855-0364 or Christy@crewsvoice.org. Their website www.crewsvoice.org is full of valuable information about the organization and upcoming events. And as for Christy? Well, she will be happy to speak to you about Crew, his friends, their needs, and how she is just like any other mom…only more so.