Every afternoon about 3pm or so I get a reminder to get over myself.
That’s about the time that parents and caregivers are coming down the sidewalk outside my office, headed for the back door at Cortney’s Foundation, which is located next our suite in the retail/office complex at 70th St. and Shea Blvd. in Scottsdale.
Cortney’s Foundation was created to provide continuing education and programs for physically and mentally challenged adults who have aged out of the public school system. The program is designed to give them “an ability to further reach their individual goals [and] elevate their personal potential as members of our community,” according to the foundation’s website.
The organization provides structured activities along with hydro therapy, pet therapy and music therapy. (Marketing Director MaryAnn Ortiz-Lieb can vouch for that; her office is closest to the music room at Cortney’s.) A recent feature is the Snoezelen Room, a sensory integration room full of soothing sights and sounds. Individuals with special needs often struggle with over-stimulation; this room offers an ideal environment for relaxation and soothing of the senses.
President and founder Cindy Carpenter believes that “being handicapped is not a life sentence but a lifestyle.” That has become the mission for this organization, inspired by her daughter Cortney, who was born 25 years ago with a host of medical issues and a very uncertain future.
As their school day ends, many of the program’s 17 students pass by my window, excited to greet the patient, loving adults who take them home each night. Some are in wheelchairs. Some lumber awkwardly. Some can’t control forceful outbursts.
All remind me my own challenges are small.