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Success Stories >> Alyssa Jones's Story

Alyssa Jones
Alyssa Jones is used to hearing the words "Never Will:" never will walk; never will talk; never will read; never will play. Doctors were certain that Alyssa would never be more than an eight-month old baby for the rest of her life. Alyssa was born with Sensory Integration Disorder, a neurological condition, which causes her to have very little control over her movements and functions in her neck.

Devastated, her family began reaching out for help to provide Alyssa with the most adequate care possible. Distance wouldn't stop her grandmother, Linda Daniel, to intently care for her as her needs grew. Help came by way of an organization called the Henry Center in Harriman, which Daniel described as "a safe place for Alyssa." The Henry Center is a specialized daycare for children with disabilities and provides therapy intervention. The major goal for the doctors assisting Alyssa at that time was to improve her sensory perception in basic areas such as smell and touch. Although Alyssa was the perfect medical candidate, it was an extremely difficult time for both Alyssa and her family, as each was struggling to understand what Alyssa was going through.

The first big breakthrough came when Alyssa started attending public school. “She was probably 5 or 6 years old before she was seen eating anything other than mac-n-cheese. We were at a basketball game and she ate a piece of pizza. I cried. It was such a milestone!” states Daniel.

An evaluation by the school system determined that Alyssa had a "developmental delay." As a result, an Individual Education Plan (IEP) was developed to assist her academically and behaviorally. This course of action along with some inspiring educators has lead Alyssa to be a successful 6th grade student at Madisonville Middle School.

Anyone would probably have thought that it was a dream come true because of the numerous advances that Alyssa had made; however, in June of 2012, her parents found themselves in a homeless situation. Forced to make a decision, Alyssa requested that she and her two younger brothers live with her grandmother here in Monroe County. Daniel was able to provide the much need stability, security, and opportunities that Alyssa so desperately needed.

Daniel enrolled Alyssa at the Boys & Girls Club of the Monroe Area's Madisonville Unit, where Alyssa found a second home. "With encouragement from the staff, Alyssa started helping younger members and becoming more involved in club activities. Alyssa's confidence was boosted as a result of her social interaction, and she started leading club pledges and volunteering in other ways. Alyssa even joined Torch Club, a program that helps pre-teens with life challenges and transitioning into teenage years," said Pam Christensen, Madisonville Unit Director.

With so many challenges conquered, Alyssa has found herself enjoying life. Never walking anymore, Alyssa began running everywhere! In the spring of 2013, she was even asked to participate in a county wide Special Olympics event for Loudon County. Alyssa took on all challengers and left those Olympic Games with several medals hanging from her neck and an invitation to the Tennessee Special Olympic games in the summer of 2013. Again, Alyssa faced her challengers head-on, ran right by them and won her events' once again she brought home medals. Propelled by her strong support team of family, friends and the Club, Alyssa accepted an invitation to participate in the June 2014 National Special Olympics in Princeton, New Jersey!

Inspired by Alyssa's determination (and success), the members of the Boys & Girls Club's Torch Club is working heard to raise money for Alyssa's travel to and from the National Special Olympics in New Jersey. Members are holding various fundraisers at each of our six club sites and are asking for help to get Alyssa to New Jersey. If you would like to help this local girl to continue growing her dream, please contact us at the number below.

As Alyssa heads into a defining moment in her life, she says she's not sweating it. This Olympian has already overcome all the hurdles of "Never Will."

"I am so proud to have this opportunity. It is going to be fun!" Alyssa stated.

Please join the Boys & Girls Club of the Monroe Area and Alyssa's cause. The Club strives to improve the lives of children in Monroe County and surrounding areas by providing a positive atmosphere and opportunities that they would not have otherwise. It takes the tremendous support of individuals, organizations, and agencies that are willing to help and believe in the betterment of the children of Monroe County. For more information on how you can be advocate, please call (423) 442-6770 or find us on Facebook at BGCMonroe! Thanks so much for your support of our local children.