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Natalie's Everyday Heroes: Ginny Brydges of Every Child's Place

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KENOSHA, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Finding child care for kids with special needs can be challenging. As a speech pathologist, Ginny Brydges saw it firsthand.

“I watched parents have to give up their jobs, give up their opportunities to go out to lunch, give up their chance to be with their family and friends,” she said. “Because they would have to take their children to therapy.”

She retired after 30 years in speech pathology, and had the idea to create a place where every child is accepted. With the help of Gateway Technical College, she established Every Child’s Place on the school’s campus. Now, children of all abilities between the ages of six weeks to 12 years have a place to go.

CBS 58 had the chance to visit Every Child’s Place recently, and right away, it’s evident that it’s different.

“So, red is rojo,” the teacher can be heard saying to the class. But the students aren’t just learning their colors in Spanish. At the same time, they’re also learning sign language. Every child here learns to communicate in multiple ways.

“There's nothing more beautiful than seeing a child learn how to communicate with his or her friends,” Brydges said. “Our mission statement is that everyone must feel a sense of belonging.”

Brydges is the executive director at Every Child’s Place. She wanted to create a place where children could have all of their needs met under one roof. And because of the school’s partnership with Gateway Technical College, nursing and therapy students get to learn in the school, too.

“Whatever their needs are, we need to be able to address those needs,” Brydges said. “And give them a place that is safe and happy.”

The big smiles on the kids’ faces say it all. Brydges said they aren’t shy when it comes to learning about differences and disabilities.

“They will come right out and ask, ‘why does he have that tube in his tummy? why does he need that?’” she said. “Part of our education here is that we teach the kids to ask those questions.”

Batrice Boswell has been a teacher at the school for 11 years. She sees Brydges’ passion for children in everything they do.

“I feel like with her bringing this vision to life, she has really created a place in the community that has been able to be a pillar here,” Boswell said.

And she also sees the way it benefits the kids.

“I think it really prepares them for when they go to school and they know that already, friends are different all the time,” Boswell said.

It’s not just children who benefit, either. Every Child’s Place employs 40 people.

“We employ adults, men and women, and some adults with special needs as well, because we feel it's very important for us to embrace them,” she said.

And that’s Brydges’ philosophy, teaching patience and acceptance, one day at a time.

“I am absolutely amazed by the miracles that happen here every day,” Brydges said.

If you’d like to nominate someone for “Natalie’s Everyday Heroes,” just send Natalie a message at nshepherd@cbs58.com. Tell us about someone doing great things in your community.

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