Our Stories

UCP Clients – Our Success Stories

UCP clients – the children and adults with developmental disabilities, are the reason UCP is a success. They tell the real story of UCP’s programs and services. It’s their stories that motivate us. Seeing how they take what they’ve learned, then turn around and inspire others, in the same situation, to see past their disabilities and live a life without limits…it’s what UCP calls amazing.


When Jennifer and Steve’s twins, Shane and Shelby, were born 11 weeks premature, Shane suffered minimal effects, but Shelby was diagnosed with multiple challenges, including cerebral palsy and epilepsy. Fortunately, familiar with UCP’s Family Respite Care program, Shelby’s parents knew they had a partner in caring for Shelby.

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Shawn was living with her sister in Fair Oaks two years ago when she took a podcast sermon to heart. A local pastor was preaching about the importance of change. Shawn decided it was time for a change.

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Mike does not walk, but he has a sharp eye for safety. At UCP’s Adult Day Program, he carefully inspects each room he is in to ensure there are no safety violations – zipping across the room in his wheelchair to see if a table or wastebasket is too close to an exit.

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Lisa was counting down the days until her son, Matthew, could join UCP’s Autism Center for Excellence at Sacramento State. “The only programs I found before ACE were maybe 90 minutes in a sterile room with no pictures, just a chalkboard, a toy or game and discussions about what behaviors were appropriate,” Lisa said.

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Logan and Michelle

Urgency takes on a whole new meaning when your child is diagnosed with a developmental disability. Michelle remembers the panic she felt when she heard her two-year-old son, Logan, had autism spectrum disorder. Appointments, urgent needs and recommendations swirled around her head.

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Diagnosed with cerebral palsy at a young age, Lezetta was warned by her parents not to speak up. Thankfully, she did not listen. Now, Lezetta advocates for herself and others with developmental disabilities.

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Krissy had enough trouble walking – the idea of being strapped onto water skis and sliding backward into the water seemed impossible and frightening. Little did she know, camp would help her accomplish much more.

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Ken McCracken, one of the Heroes Astride veterans, was just twenty-three when he arrived home from the Vietnam War in 1969. He had experienced the harsh realities of combat and witnessed disturbing situations.

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Meet Cetarra Lewis, a young girl with a beautiful smile and cheerful spirit. She was born with a rare genetic disorder known as Angelman Syndrome, which robbed her of her speech, is the cause of frequent and often severe seizures, and left her unable to walk without assistance.

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When Carlianne joined UCP Saddle Pals – an adapted horseback riding program – at age 5, she could barely walk without falling over. After just one year of riding, Carlianne could not only walk without falling, she could climb onto her horse.

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It took a flood for Arielle to finally get the help she needed for her disability.

Arielle was living in New Orleans in 2005, barely passing each grade level as she tried to stay afloat. No one noticed. Then Hurricane Katrina hit. Suddenly she and her mom were living in Elk Grove and felt like they were drowning in diagnoses of “speech delay” and “learning disability.”

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