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Friends of Tennessee's Babies with Special Needs

Friends of Tennessee's Babies with Special Needs Quarterly
May 2022

Each quarter we'll highlight how we're working to enhance the potential of infants and young children with special needs by offering support to their families and the early intervention professionals who serve them...Because Babies Can't Wait!

Spring is in the air bringing new life and new growth all around us! It is a time to spawn new ideas, expand and revitalize the tried and true ones, and give a fresh clean look to everything around us!  With our wonderful Board of Directors, we were able to do just that at our annual planning Retreat on January 26th, 2022.  We met at the beautiful home of one of our Board members, and brainstormed ways we can make our organization even more effective in providing programs and services to our families and meeting their needs.  Throughout this newsletter, you will see the results of some of those ideas.  Thank you for sharing the passion and commitment to help these most vulnerable babies to thrive and grow! 

Same Mission, New Look 

Friends of Tennessee's Babies with Special Needs has undergone a facelift! As part of our growing process, we have updated our logo! As you can see, the sweet, interlocking hands remain the same, but they are now encircled by a heart. The name of the organization is now linear for easier reading. We felt it was time for a fresh, updated design that retains the original brand recognition while reflecting a modern look and feel.
Watch for the new logo to replace the former logo in all areas moving forward, including on a brand new Friends website that will debut in the very near future. You can still find us at and also at our new domain, Our hope is that these renewed brand assets will more clearly showcase all our offerings for families, and our commitment to helping special children.

Family Encouragement Conference

We are busy preparing for the first annual Karen Hollingsworth Family Encouragement Conference for families on July 23, 2022.   A day when families will come away with a renewed sense of hope and with information to best help them to help their child with special needs. There will be stipends for child care and transportation. The Conference will debut in Knoxville with plans to later expand to surrounding counties. Encouragement is defined as “The act of giving someone support, confidence, and hope” which embodies what Karen Hollingsworth’s life was all about. Many thanks to the Formall Company for their generous gift to make this opportunity possible for families of little ones with special needs!  

For more information on how you can support this project, click here.  

Family Events 

Easter Egg Hunt 2022

On March 26th, we had our 2nd Annual Easter Egg Hunt at Mane Support in Rockwood Tn.  We had approximately 350 people attend this wonderful event. Families came out to enjoy crafts provided by TN Wesleyan OT students, time to interact with therapeutic horses, accessible egg hunt and the Easter Bunny. We are so grateful to Mane Support and the 35 Volunteers for supporting and encouraging our TEIS families.

Zoo Day

Families from all around the Knoxville area and surrounding counties were able to enjoy a lovely day at Zoo Knoxville on April 23rd.  Moms, dads, babies, and siblings, totaling over a thousand, were able to come spend quality time with their families – a special time of bonding, making memories, and networking with other families in the special needs community.  Seeing the smiles on the faces of the children is definitely a highlight of our year!  Thank you to the Greater Knoxville Sertoma Club for providing snacks and to our wonderful volunteers who so graciously come to greet and make families feel welcome! 

Chandler Farm

What a beautiful day at Chandler Farm on April 30th!  This annual event is exclusively for families who are Deaf/Hard of Hearing and is graciously hosted by the Chandler family.  25 different families with children of all ages came from several different counties to enjoy riding trains, seeing the baby goats, hogs, St Bernard dog, and pony, and eating hot dogs and homemade ice cream.  Resources were also available for families to learn about the 0-5 Language and Literacy program, TN Hands and Voices, and plenty of opportunities to network together.   Thank you to all who came and to the Chandler family for their hospitality!

Mother’s Day Campaign 

Mother’s Day is the time of year when we get to honor those very special people who love and care for our precious little ones!  FOT Babies has found a very unique way to say how much we love and appreciate these special ones in our lives.  Each year we highlight a family by telling their unique story of bravery, endurance, love, and compassion.  This year we tell you about a brave little boy named Bowale and his very special Momma, Soniah!  You can read their story in the brochure and then honor someone special in your own life by sending them one of these beautiful cards.
With your donation, you will receive this beautiful card that also features pottery made by Olivia Campbell, a local artist with Down syndrome.  We will send the cards directly to you, along with postage, so you can personalize them and send them to your loved ones.  These cards are not Mother’s Day specific, so can be used for other special occasions.  “We wish you a day filled with blessings”! For ordering information, please go to our website

Financial Growth for my Family training series 

The diagnosis of a disability can be financially and emotionally overwhelming to families, especially parents. After the diagnosis, it is common for families to have financial challenges. In 2022 Friends of Tennessee’s Babies with Special Needs will offer a series of free virtual classes called “Financial Growth for my Family”.  Each month, families will find ideas to help them have control over their finances as they care for their child and prepare him or her for adulthood. 

This training series includes 11 video modules to be a resource for financial planning. We will discuss topics such as organization, spending, payment methods, credit, identity protection, and future planning for families. 

Families of young children with special needs who participate in this training will receive support from a certified financial planner and a notebook full of resources at no charge. The training series is made possible through a grant from Westfield Insurance.

Upcoming Events

For more information –

May 21 – Smokies Baseball Game    

June 16 – Jazz Baby Kick-Off meeting 

June 18 – Parents Day Out 

July 23 – Family Encouragement Conference 

August 16 – Lindsey Nelson Golf Tournament


A core part of our support to babies and young children with special needs, their families, and the professionals who serve them relies on volunteers to make our programs and events a success. Are you interested in volunteering with Friends of Tennessee's Babies with Special Needs? Register today Because Babies Can't Wait!
Volunteer Today

Your Contributions in Action 

This family sent us a picture of their son who received this book and little emotion characters from FOT to help him regulate and process his ‘big emotions’.  The family said he loves interacting with them and it has helped him communicate how he feels.

The Family Feedback Corner

"They provided a weighted blanket to help my little guy sleep. Sleep is so hard for him, so anything that could help is so appreciated. We've also enjoyed several social events hosted by FOTB and it has made such an impact."
"It helps so much to have extra support with special needs."
"My son is an extreme proprioceptive seeker, and FOTB provided us with exactly what we requested to help him. They could have went with the lower cost option that may not have fully met our needs, but they provided the best option we could have asked for and for that we are so thankful. I can’t even express how grateful we are for this program. If FOTB hadn’t provided the sensory swing for us my son would continue to be seeking in unsafe and destructive ways. We wouldn’t have been able to get this on our own, so we just feel incredibly lucky to be a part of this program. They have made our lives so much easier! Thank you so much!"
"It really has helped us get things we couldn’t afford otherwise!"
"They provided a weighted vest that would help our daughter to regulate her sensory needs in a classroom setting. It took financial pressure off as we navigate her needs without TEIS assistance in the coming months. "
"They sent us a seat for baby Riley to use so she can practice head control."

Become a Friend

Miracles are happening everyday with Friends of TN’s Babies with Special Needs and the many families we serve.  Please consider being a part of these miracles by becoming a monthly donor or giving an end of the year contribution.  If you are interested in joining our circle of Friends, please contact our volunteer Executive Director, Don Thompson at 865-603-2581. 
Donate Now
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