Box: Gifts for the family can be sent to MORC, Reimbursement Department, 16200 19 Mile Road, Clinton Township, MI. 48038. Call (586) 263-8977 for more information if needed.
By JERRY WOLFFE
An Oakland County woman and her two grandchildren with autism are likely to have new clothes and toys this holiday season due to the generosity of workers at a Clinton Township nonprofit.
The family recently moved to Oakland County from Florida, leaving all their possessions behind, said Nancy A. Ricotta, reimbursement supervisor at the Macomb-Oakland Regional Center, Inc.
All nine members in her department including Ricotta – Shelly Cousins, Audrey DiFranco, Sue Lencheck, Teresa Miller, Tracy Paris-Koka, Renee Stroze, Joanna Tohme, and Kathleen Zelmanski -- are donating to the family so they have enough food and some new outfits for Christmas.
Ricotta asked Executive Director Teri Donaldson of the Futures Foundation learned the family’s needs after providing them with furniture donated by White Star Movers.
“Their story touched my heart and I wanted them to have a wonderful Christmas.
“We are lucky” to have identified a family “who is badly in need of our assistance this holiday season,” Ricotta said.
“Please, please help me” to help my granddaughter and grandson to have a nice Christmas, the grandmother said. “I’ve been waiting to buy a weight blanket for my grandson and some stuff for my granddaughter but because I don’t have any money I haven’t been able to buy anything.”
MORC so far has acquired some basic furniture and household goods for the family. The gifts will be delivered around Christmas.
The grandma, Carmen Nieves-Sosa, and her 10-year-old grandson, Isaias Ortiz-Hernandez, and 7-year-old granddaughter, Aiyana Jordan, live in Clarkston and the children attend Andersonville Elementary School in Clarkston.
“The grandmother is an extremely strong advocate for her grandchildren,” Ricotta said.
The grandmother is eager to learn about the needs of her grandchildren so she can help them develop to their full potential, Ricotta said.
“With the determination of the grandmother, the support of family, and supportive services, this family will have the tools to help the children learn the skills they will need to live happy and fulfilling lives,” she added.
Items needed for Aiyana include shoes, boots, a coat, tops, underwear, artist training cards, and a pink/white Hello Kitty among other things. Isaias needs pants, shirts, shoes, boots, tennis shoes, hat, gloves, and scarf and would like balloon rockets with a pump.
The grandmother still needs pots and pans, sheets for twin beds, pajamas, gloves, a coat, pants and tops, snow boots, and any type of developmental or educational materials for the children.
“We are truly lucky to live the lives we live,” said Ricotta, a six-year veteran of MORC. “This is our way of sharing some of our good fortune, especially during the holiday season.”
Jerry Wolffe is the writer-in-residence, advocate-at-large at the Macomb-Oakland Regional Center. He can be reached at (586) 263-8950.