Carrie Kinmouth (right) stands with Jennifer Choate, who helped with the development of the Kinmouths’ son Ben from age 13 months to 3 years. // Photo by John McBryde
By JOHN McBRYDE
To get an idea of the impact that Waves Inc. has had on a number of families in Williamson County, consider Carrie Kinmouth’s story.
Or, as she shared during Tuesday morning’s fundraising breakfast for the 46-year-old nonprofit, Ben’s story.
Ben was born to Carrie and Steve Kinmouth on March 27, 2015, seemingly a healthy baby boy. But it wasn’t long before the couple noticed he was having developmental issues. By the time Ben had reached his first birthday, he had the gross motor skills of a 7-month-old baby.
“He couldn’t move himself from one position to another, he didn’t crawl, he had just barely started to bear weight on his legs,” Kinmouth told the audience at the Williamson County Enrichment Center.
Enter Waves and its Early Learning program, which serves children from birth to age 3 who have been diagnosed with a developmental delay or disability.
More precisely, Jennifer Choate came into the lives of the Kinmouths when Ben was 13 months old. She would visit with him once a week, working on his motor skills, his crawling, pulling to a stand, and taking his first steps at 18 months old. Ms. Jen, as she became known to Ben, also helped with his social skills and other developments until he turned 3 and left the program.
Through tears while telling Ben’s story from the stage, Kinmouth told of an incident that made her realize how much of an impact that Waves and Choate truly had on Ben. Sometime after Waves services had ended for Ben, Kinmouth took him to an indoor trampoline park in Cool Springs. The parking lot was full, and she knew the place would be crowded and rambunctious.
“I warned Ben that there were going to be a lot of friends there and it was going to be loud, but it was going to be a lot of fun,” Kinmouth explained. “He was really quiet for a minute, then he said, ‘I wish we could come here with my old friend Ms. Jen someday.’ This was nine months after we had ended services, and he still remembered how much she helped him with all these new experiences. I really believe Jen taught me how to be the kind of mother that Ben needed.”
Tuesday morning’s program also featured Waves Executive Director Lance Jordan, who told of the organization’s accomplishments over the past year but also pointed out challenges ahead such as less funding from the state.
“It’s well known that no one gets in this line of work to get wealthy,” Jordan said, “but there are different riches we receive. We get to be a part of changing someone’s life.”
Dan Horecka, Waves board president, served as emcee for the program.
Ashley Perkins, Waves board immediate past president, presented Gina Wilson with the Commitment to Service award
Allie Pearson, Waves case manager, presented Sam’s Club 6249 with the Mary Ann Sugg Community Enhancement award for their efforts in creating a job training program for adults with disabilities.
The mission of Waves, founded in 1973, is to empower individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities to progress toward their full potential.