Virtual Opportunities bring kids with PWS together from across the country

As part of Latham Centers’ Virtual Learning Initiative, our Virtual Program administrators established an online Story Time. Katrina Fryklund explained, “Initially, the concept was to give our students at home and students on campus the opportunity to see one another during the residential hours, as well as to provide a calming activity prior to the kiddos starting their nighttime routine.” 

Later, a member of the team suggested inviting students who are not part of Latham Centers’ program but who are part of our larger Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) community. Latham Centers is a resource for families and children who call Latham a second home, but also for families around the world interested in learning more about our program and PWS consultation. Upon sending out an invite to these families, we realized there was a huge interest.

It has turned into a real delight: three times per week, upwards of forty individuals with PWS between the ages of 10 and 22 are coming together over Zoom. First, either a staff member or special guest reads a short story. Then, new online class members introduce themselves, and old friends catch up. Kids seem to be most interested in one another’s pets, where everyone lives and their ages, and what life is like right now for the kiddos at home and on campus. All participants enjoy a quick and calming mindfulness activity before waving goodbye and settling into evening routines.

One parent of a student who is here at Latham Centers was able to have a virtual meet-up with her son during Story Time and wrote, “Thank you for the virtual storytime this evening… Your staff are so gracious to do these events (after typical work hours) and taking your own personal time to do so. The staff at Latham continues to amaze me daily. I pray every day for all of you and for you to be blessed for the work you do!”

It’s amazing to see a community grow through such a challenging time. Through Story Time, we have witnessed growing friendships and consistent companionship despite social distancing.  Stay tuned to read the May Guest Readers highlights in celebration of PWS Awareness month!!

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