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Funding innovative projects focused on Education and Technology.

Helping Hands Foundation

About the Organization

The primary mission of Helping Hands Foundation, Inc. (HHF) is to connect parents of children born with upper limb differences (missing all or part of their upper limbs) with experienced families to offer support, hope and encouragement as they deal with the initial challenges of their child's anomaly. Established in 1986 by four couples whose children were born with upper limb differences, the Helping Hands Foundation has a current membership of over 1,000 families across the nation with the majority in the Northeast.

One of their priorities is to reach parents of newborns with upper limb anomalies. By speaking with mentors, new parents realize that they are not alone and can begin to bond properly with their child. As the Fuhs family acknowledges, “Helping Hands changed their outlook on the way we viewed the future for their daughter.” HHF focuses on the children and the challenges they may face, emphasizing their abilities, not their disabilities.

Education
The Helping Hands Foundation provides two annual outings for members. At their Winter Outing, families meet, support each other, and bond in new friendships while learning from one another about how best to deal with the challenges they may face, both physical and emotional, through various stages of growth. Each year, the Foundation invites inspirational speakers with upper limb differences to share their experience of growth and accomplishment. Their life stories bring hope and humor to all in attendance, especially to the children who readily identify with similar situations in their own lives. HHF's guest speakers prove to their children that their career options as adults are just as varied as those without limb differences; in the past they have had a pilot, a concert violinist, guitarists, teachers, models, athletes, and others speak to their members. HHF provides youth meetings and parent meetings for their members to ask questions and get advice, yet conversations happen all weekend long through shared meals, crafts, swimming, a talent show, and other family activities. The Summer Outing is held in July. The first day of the event is a cookout at an outdoor facility with a pool, games, and a visit from the ice cream truck. The second day's activities may include a trip to a museum or sporting event in the greater Boston area. Again, these activities focus on uniting the families and the children mid-year which provides an opportunity to rekindle or initiate new friendships with other HHF families.
Innovation
The Helping Hands Foundation is entirely run by volunteers. Their members only have to pay transportation and lodging costs to attend their events, and membership is free. In addition to the two outings, HHF provides additional support to their members by connecting new families with families near them. Oftentimes a phone call or email is all it takes to help a parent feel reassured. Instant support is provided through the HHF Web site and social media forums, where parents can ask questions and find a variety of books, hospitals and organizations, support groups and website links.