We are the Terselics, a family of six.
Meet our son, Augie.
About 15 years ago, we learned about an opportunity to attend a free family retreat weekend in honor of our son Augie, who has Down syndrome. It was sponsored by a private family on their own land. As Christians, the couple had felt called to start a ministry to serve families with disabilities, even though they had no one with disabilities in their own family. They began by building three tiny, modest cabins to house three guest families at a time. Their family, along with volunteers from their church, hosted these families overnight and provided them with: comfortable sleep spaces, simple, boxed meals, and a schedule that included times for playing board and active games, throwing water balloons, going boating and tubing, and making s’mores by the campfire. The volunteers kept all of our kids happily engaged, even watching baby Augie, so we parents and his big sisters could go tubing in the lake. (And at another point, volunteers entertained all four of our children, instructing Mike and me to lie down and rest for an hour! Priceless!)
We were so honored to be one of the chosen families invited to attend one of their weekend retreats. We were greatly humbled that our relaxation was made possible by generous donations from strangers and the service of such welcoming host volunteers–Christians in action.
A few years after that experience, we learned of yet another free family retreat weekend offered to special-needs families. This organization offered overnight accommodations, as well as a multitude of recreational options on a much grander scale, as the retreat had the support of large corporate sponsors sustaining its programming. It was an incredible feeling to be treated again to a weekend of rest and relaxation, by people who just wanted to lighten our load and witness our joy.
The Seed to Serve Others Was Sown
If it is to encourage, then give encouragement, if it is to give, then give generously, if it is to lead, lead diligently, if it is to show mercy, do so cheerfully.
Those who graciously offered us these opportunities for respite, recreation, and rejuvenation exemplified the meaning of this Bible verse. Inspired by this piece of scripture and having worked jobs in education serving children and parents, I (Heidi) believe God has been preparing me for years to dream big in some related mission.
My professional background includes being an administrator and teacher at various schools for grades preschool through eight, as well as college students. I managed and worked at camps for typical, special-needs-only, and integrated populations of children. I’ve always had a passion for education and parental involvement. My personal life includes marrying Mike (we celebrated our 26th anniversary this year) and having children. After the births of our three daughters, Mike and I welcomed our only son, Augie, and immediately hit the ground running, making a plan for his life with Down syndrome. Meanwhile, our family life has included numerous relocations for Mike’s career which planted us in several states, as well as in Quebec, Canada for two-and-a-half years. At the different locations, I homeschooled all of our children for 10 years, and later enrolled them in Quebecois-bilingual, and private (Catholic) and public schools.
As Augie entered his teen years, with the intellectual gap growing larger between him and his friends, I began to ponder ideas that would allow him to stay socially connected, especially once his friends/peers graduated from high school and moved on. For about five years, I had been dreaming of a way for Augie to stay close with peer groups, right at his home. I suddenly started picturing what it would be like to have a large outdoor area in which he and friends could exercise together. I also imagined a large outbuilding that would provide space for a group of his peers to stay active, even when inclement weather occurred. And I envisioned a place where I could invite other special-needs parents to gather on a regular basis for friendship and support, especially once we said goodbye to his team of teachers and school therapists.
Less than six months later, Mike and I discovered a property that checked all of those boxes—and then some. So we moved in and started researching how to start a nonprofit that could bring all of these dreams to fruition. Less than a year later, Augie’s Adventures was approved as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. And now the challenge is on, to make Augie’s Adventures grow in membership to build community and resources, and to develop its services to best meet those members’ needs. We enthusiastically move forward with plans for lively parent discussions, motivational speakers, and various events/activities to benefit children with disabilities.
We ask that you please pray for the success of Augie’s Adventures, that the good news of this ministry reaches the people who need its services, as well as those who feel called to volunteer to support its mission. Please prayerfully consider making a donation, as funds will allow us to book guest speakers; provide refreshments; purchase materials, equipment, and consumables; and save for making necessary, handicapped-accessible improvements to the property.