About Jacob

   It all happened because two people fell in love....Jacob was born July 2, 1992.  From the very beginning we knew that Jacob was special with his never ending smile and deep dark brown eyes that just sparkled.  But just behind that sparkle he seemed to be a little distant.  He would look as if he was "somewhere else".  Those of us with special needs children/teens/adults understand that "somewhere else" look.  

  Jacob was diagnosed with Autism, severe ADHD by the age of 18 months.  When the holidays came (Easter, Christmas) the stimulation was just too much for Jacob.  He loved the holiday itself but not the over stimulation of being in a crowd at the mall.  We all know that the biggest frustration for special needs families is the want for your child to experience the treat of seeing the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus, having a picture taken, etc.  We found that it always ended up an emotional disaster because the wait was so long, there was too much noise, too much stimulation and the inevitable "overload occurred".  We'd have to leave exhausted and frustrated.  


  1995 was the beginning of what is now Jacob's Gift.  Jacob's Aunt Lisa and his Grandmother formed a "Special Needs Christmas Party" beginning with only three children.  The simple seed that blossomed into now what is know as Jacob’s Gift.  Over the years Jacob was involved in the fundraising for the parties.  He has meet with Rotary Club members and the EMWD Retirees Association, speaking on behalf of all special needs children who needed a safe, welcoming place to visit with Santa.  Every year Jacob looked forward to his special party and seeing all of his "peeps" as he would call them.  


  In 2004 Jacob and his family moved to Bloomington, Indiana to find a more suitable treatment plan for Jacob's autism.  Jacob is now 24 years old and a resident at Damar Services, an Academy that works to meet the needs of special needs clients and provide the most innovative and empirical treatment methods so that eventually Jacob will be living in the community.  


  Jacob wishes you all a wonderful Holiday Season and is thankful that you all have kept his very Special Gift alive.


                                                                                                              Marylou Raby

Jacob helping us celebrate our 20 year anniversary in 2015