Shannon Miller first developed a love for people with special needs at the age of 13, when she began to babysit a little boy on her brother’s baseball team. Two years later, she spent a week of her summer at Young Adult SEEK Camp, an overnight camp for adults with special needs on Lake Texoma. By the end of the week, she knew what she wanted to spend her life working with this incredible group of people.
After graduating from college with a degree in Music, she began working in a special education classroom in Lewisville ISD. It was in this position that the dream for Through the Clouds first began to take shape. She watched parents struggle to find quality care and activities for their children when school was not in session, and wondered why there weren’t more services available. As she gained her teaching certification and began teaching special education classes, she worked with more and more families struggling to find quality services outside of school. As she sought out resources for her students, she came to realize the extreme lack of options for children who couldn’t participate in a typical program without support. Throughout her 7 years as a special educator, the issue came up again and again and again.
In 2012, she became the volunteer coordinator for the Special Needs Ministry at Irving Bible Church. Through this position she was able to work closely with a large number of very diverse families. She began to gain an even greater appreciation of the struggles facing families with special needs in every life stage. She also began traveling to other countries, and seeing the prejudices and misconceptions that are held around the world about people with disabilities. She was struck by the fact that, even here in the United States where we have so many services and resources available, there are still “gaps” in the system. Parents still face daily struggles to remain employed, have healthy marriages, get services for their children, and navigate the government systems that are in place.
So in January 2013, she began to research what it would look like to open a center which would fill in these “gaps”. The task was daunting, but she felt it was possible and could not ignore the needs facing her every day. She sought out business professionals and mentors who helped her to understand the process, and encouraged her to begin taking steps. Through the Clouds Family Care was incorporated in September 2013, and has been moving forward steadily ever since. God has provided an incredible team of people who are invested in this vision and passionate about serving families with special needs. The leadership of Irving Bible Church has also been an immense support, and Shannon left special education at the end of the 2013-2014 school year to join their staff.
Currently, Through the Clouds is seeking 501(c)3 status as a tax-exempt charitable organization and working to raise money to fund the planned programs. We are looking forward to the future and hopeful that this organization will be a blessing to many families in the DFW area!