July 27, 2020
Written by Elean Gersack
Inspiring hope for children with disabilities
Castle Pines Village residents Matt and Kari Ansay have an amazing home full of love, laughter, hope, and gratitude. The two met in the late 80s at the University of Denver, and in the years since, got married and had five beautiful children.
Two of the Ansay’s children have Fragile X Syndrome (FXS), the most common known genetic cause of autism disorders. FXS can cause intellectual disabilities, attention deficit, and anxiety among other symptoms. Their youngest child, Jessica, who turns eight in July, struggled so much through her early years and into kindergarten that Kari and Matt wondered if they would ever even hear her sweet voice form words or if she would ever understand what they were saying to her.
“After years of early intervention and a year at our home elementary school for kindergarten, we realized she needed a much more intensive program than what a public school could offer. So, we began our search for a private school to meet her needs. Little did we know, our journey would lead us to one of the most specialized, unique, caring, and dedicated special needs programs in the country,” said Kari.
So in 2013, with a referral from the Douglas County School District, Jessica moved to The Joshua School (TJS) in Denver – a school dedicated to children with significant autism disorders and developmental disabilities. “We are overjoyed by all that she has mastered in her short time at TJS. To hear Jessica say, ‘I love you mommy’ is priceless,” said Kari.
Thirteen years ago, six special educators created The Joshua School after a special needs student, Joshua, passed away in the larger public school system. They each cashed in their savings, left the public system and ventured into new territory to create a place dedicated to children who need so much more. It is now the first referral for educational services for Children’s Hospital Colorado, Autism Society of Colorado, and more than 18 school districts around the state, including Douglas County.
The Ansay family is so grateful for all TJS has done for Jessica that they want to make sure another child has the opportunity to attend the school as well. “They are miracle workers, angels on this earth,” shared Kari. According to the Ansays, if children are not placed by a school district it can be a financial strain on families – depleting their savings, retirement and more.
To be able to share the gift of TJS with another child, the Ansay family, along with some very close friends, has created a golf tournament benefiting the school. The X Drive Classic is planned for Monday, August 3, 2015, at The Club at Pradera. Event check-in will start at 11:30 a.m. with a shotgun start at 1:00 p.m. Dinner, cocktails, a silent auction and awards will cap off the day at 6:00 p.m.
All players and sponsors are welcome! The cost to play is $275 per individual and $1,000 per foursome and dinner tickets are $75 each. Individual and business sponsorships are encouraged and range from $500 (hole sponsor) to $5,000 (title sponsor).
The tournament will be a fun day but more importantly, it will help provide a precious gift to another child like Jessica. “The Joshua School sets such a high standard in the world of special education. They believe in the abilities of these children and in their futures – giving them the opportunity to be the best they can be. That belief restores hope for us as a family and gives us the support which we so desperately need,” said Kari.