Jefferson Award: Wendy Simyab - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Jefferson Award: Wendy Simyab


MADISON (WKOW) -- The Jefferson Awards are a wonderful way to honor and acknowledge some of the great work and efforts that members of our community do on a daily basis. This month, WKOW is pleased to announce the August Jefferson Award winner, Wendy Simyab, to the community.

Simyab believes in "giving a voice, to those who are often not heard." Which is why she spends her life providing important resources and materials for special needs children. 

Wendy Simyab has a heart for kids with special needs. Mother to five, her youngest has cerebral palsy. So, she knows first hand what families like hers deal with every day. 

Wendy says, "The reality is families that have kids with special needs are no different than any other family, they just have to sometimes work a lot harder." 

That's why Wendy started "Kindred Kids."  It's a not for profit organization, run solely by volunteers, including herself, dedicated to helping families with kids with special needs. Kids like Melissa Schenk's. 

Melissa says, "We have a special needs foster child and we were able to get a seating mechanism for her. It's called a tomato to help her sit up. Things that she couldn't do; she was in a bed all the time and we didn't want that."

Kindred Kids provides toys, games, and reading materials, for special needs kids and it's all for free.  But more importantly, it provides a place where kids can be kids.

Melissa says, "You see their eyes light up as soon as they walk in the door." 

Melissa says, There's been a time when I needed something like a larger chair and I couldn't get it. We were able to get it from her."

So, Wendy spends her days and nights caring for everyone that come through her doors. She gives away all that she can, and tries to encourage others to do the same, by donating to Kindred Kids.  

Wendy says, "We treasure the resources that are donated to us." 

But, most of all, Wendy hopes to encourage a dialogue where everyone sees a special needs kid as, "a kid. It's a child and those other needs, need to be addressed but they are so secondary to that child being first."

And that's why, Wendy Simyab is this month's Jefferson Award winner.  Congratulations Wendy and thank you for being a part of our community. 

For more information on Kindred Kids, you can go to their website at

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