Challenged Child and Friends was born when occupational therapist Jean Willers began providing services for a young boy who had been critically injured in an automobile accident. In 1985, the organization incorporated as a non-profit, offering educational, nursing, and family support services in addition to physical, occupational and speech therapy. In 1992 Challenged Child and Friends became a fully inclusive program serving children with disabilities alongside their typically developing peers.
The program, which was originally housed at Gainesville First Baptist Church, outgrew those facilities as more families of children with disabilities became aware of its services. The program moved to Murphy Boulevard where it quickly outgrew that location, resulting in a new state-of-the-art facility being built in 2000 at 2360 Murphy Boulevard. The new facility was expanded in 2003.
Over the past 25 years, enrollment has increased, reaching out to serve children from 14 counties across northeast Georgia. Program quality and services have continued to grow as well, with the addition of extended hours to accommodate working parents and a summer program to prevent regression of skills during the summer. Challenged Child and Friends is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) and licensed through Bright from the Start, Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning.
Randy Owens, the young boy who was the inspiration for Challenged Child and Friends, now serves on our board of directors.
About Challenged Child and Friends