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Respite is a Critically Needed Support for Children and Families

HOPe’s Overnight Respite Program (ONR) is the flagship service offering at the House of Possibilities. During the weekends, HOPe becomes a “home away from home” for many special needs children and their families. We believe that occasional relief from the overwhelming demands of care for a child with developmental challenges is essential for the entire family’s health. For this reason, we currently offer overnight respite free of charge to families. We believe that all families in need should have available access to the crucial relief of respite.

We are licensed by Early Education and Care and employ an experienced, highly qualified, and genuinely caring staff.

For caregivers, the financial, physical, and emotional stress often seems overwhelming. These concerns are susceptible to spill over into the family system and create additional anxiety. HOPe recognizes the tremendous effort required in caring for a child with special needs, so we aim to “bridge the gap” by providing a night off for the families to focus on themselves.

ONR provides a nurturing environment in the HOPe House where children ages 8-21 can engage in a kid-centric environment supported by our highly qualified staff. Here children spend an overnight with their friends, participate in a variety of activities, and develop valuable life skills. Activities include preparing dinner, baking, reading, playing games, and socializing.

For our families, this program gives them a night off to relax and recharge from the day-to-day demands of caregiving for a special loved one. They are able to rest assured that their special needs child is receiving the very best in care while having fun.

The program includes 10 children a night for evening respite from 4:30 p.m. Saturday until 10 a.m. the following Sunday. It is offered on 4 Saturdays per month, with 2 nights allocated to boys only and 2 nights for girls only. Since its inception, the ONR program has quadrupled its capacity to four overnights each month to meet the increasing demand.

About our Overnight Respite Staff

Mary O’Toole

Mary is the Overnight Respite (ONR) Director at the House of Possibilities. She leads the overnight respite program with over 17 years of experience in children's respite programs. Mary’s work experience includes 40 years working with children with disabilities. Mary has also worked at the Massachusetts Hospital School as a Program Manager Specialist V, and has been there for 32 years. She is MAP certified and is able to administer medicine. Mary has an Associate’s Degree in early Childhood, a Bachelor of Science in Elementary/Special education and a Master’s in Health Sciences.

Erica Kilcoyne

Erica is an Overnight Respite (ONR) Supervisor at the House of Possibilities. She specializes in working with at-risk children and prides herself in working with children and their families and growing relationships. For over 17 years Erica has been the Owner and Director of a local daycare center and recently opened a second location. She is MAPP, First Aid and CPR certified, has earned her Directors 2 Certificate from DEEC, has an Associates degree in Child Care Administration as well as a Bachelor’s degree in Early Education.

"I just wanted to thank you and all the staff for making Michael’s sleepover a success! I can count on one hand (don't even need the whole hand) the number of times Michael has done sleepovers. He is not exactly at the top of the list for sleepovers when relatives hear us talk of his crazy sleep habits!!! My husband and I struggled over whether to send him and we are so glad we did. As much as we enjoyed the time off (strange at first) we also felt it was important to expose Michael to different social experiences. The House of Possibilities is such an amazing place with equally amazing staff. We are looking forward to some Saturday excursions in the future and maybe another sleepover."– Grateful, A parent of HOPe