From left: Wendy Hardman, Lauren Silvernail, Dr. Lisa Greenwald, Mimi Siegel and Jenny Lay-Flurrie. (Kindering)

From left: Wendy Hardman, Lauren Silvernail, Dr. Lisa Greenwald, Mimi Siegel and Jenny Lay-Flurrie. (Kindering)

More than $330,000 raised for kids with special needs

Kindering’s CEO is retiring after 40 years at the center serving families in Bothell and elsewhere.

By Madison Miller / Bothell-Kenmore Reporter

Like any mother, Tanya Goodman was eagerly awaiting to hear her son say his first words. It wasn’t until he was 16 months old that he was officially diagnosed with autism. After being recommended to Kindering by her son’s pediatrician, he’s now speaking and just entered the early learning program at Wilburton Elementary School in Bellevue alongside his peers.

“We’re a success story of Kindering,” Goodman said.

Stephanie Collier and her husband also consider their family to be a success story. Their son was not making the average developmental benchmarks, as he didn’t walk until after he turned two years old. Through therapy at Kindering, Collier said they feel incredibly fortunate to be a part of the Kindering community.

“It was so amazing to see him have his firsts there. Watching him take his first steps is something every parent treasures,” Collier said. “Kindering has become like a second family to us.”

Goodman and Collier are among hundreds of parents in Bellevue, Bothell and Renton, and soon-to-be Redmond, that have experienced great advancements in their child’s development.

Kindering provides early intervention services to infants and children who have special needs or are at-risk, as well as their families. Founded in 1962 by five young Eastside mothers of children with special needs, Kindering is the largest early intervention center in Washington State and one of the three largest centers in the U.S. Kindering specializes in developmental assessments; physical, occupational, speech, nutrition/feeding and mental health therapies; special education; parent and sibling support groups; parent education; family counseling; specialized support for children in foster care and their families; private therapy; and an inclusive toddler preschool.

Kindering recently held its 13th annual Salute to Courage luncheon where the CEO of the last 40 years, Mimi Siegel, addressed an audience for the final time. Siegel announced her retirement from Kindering and introduced Dr. Lisa Greenwald as her replacement.

The Salute to Courage luncheon, hosted at the Bellevue Hyatt, serves as an opportunity for parents and children who have attended Kindering to share their stories and encourage the community to consider donating and help ensure future generations of Kindering graduates.

Keynote speaker Jenny Lay-Flurrie, Microsoft’s chief accessibility officer, spoke of creating technologies, workplaces and communities that celebrate and harness the power of people of all abilities, and how she has found strength through her own disability.

The luncheon raised more than $330,000.

“I am so honored to have been a part of Kindering for all these years and I am amazed and touched by all of your support,” Siegel said.

To learn more about Kindering, visit kindering.org.

This story originally appeared in the Bothell-Kenmore Reporter, a sibling paper of The Daily Herald.

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