FEBRUARY 3, 1997

 The Edwards Agency

Opinion

A way to participate in caring

Children's Country Home In Lisa Albright's letter (Jan. 13), she voiced considerable concern about Children's Country Home. Ms. Albright's commentary indicated that she harbored multiple reservations about the wisdom and motivations underlying the whole endeavor. In a subsequent response, Mary Shemesh, nurse, local businesswoman, and founder of the home, graciously addressed specific issues and hopefully served to bridge any misunderstandings about Children's Country Home.
   Hillary Clinton reminds us that "it takes a village to raise a child." We are the village and our children come to us with all their abilities and challenges. For so long, our society has endorsed the importance of communities providing for our able-minded, able-bodied kids (i.e., public education, local playgrounds, organized sports). Yet, we balk when an attempt is made to integrate care of kids with lesser abilities into our lives and neighborhoods.
   Mary Shemesh has begun to fill an important societal gap in providing a neighborhood-based home-away-from-home where chronically disabled children can live, play, and grow in a safe, dignity-preserving environment. Children's Country Home, a sunny and sacred haven conceived by Ms. Shemish and her associates, has been enthusiastically supported by many individuals and businesses throughout the Eastside. Within its walls, parents can know that their children's physical, emotional, and spiritual needs are being competently and lovingly addressed by people whom they can trust.
   Just as we are all prepared to benefit from our personal and financial investments in the most able-minded and able-bodied, we must be equally prepared to offer responsible and compassionate care to our most vulnerable. Children's Country Home is one way that our community can participate in caring. The intense needs of physically and developmentally challenged children should not and must not continue to be the burden of a few.
   As nurses and village members, we are proud and thankful that Mary Shemesh has put her heart, time, talents, and business acumen toward the care of all our children.

Kristen M. Swanson, RN, Ph.D., Hollywood Hill