The history of The Super Kids goes back a long way, back to 1974, but the spark that started the fire rests with Dolores Holland Lane and started quite a bit earlier.
Dolores believes that there is a plan and purpose for your life - to prosper you and not to harm you. She believes that there is a plan and a purpose God had not for one life but for many lives.
On a cold day in January, the 23rd in 1944, twins were born in the Holland family. Dolores was a healthy baby without complication, but Frances was born with the extra chromosome that makes a Down syndrome baby.
The two sisters grew up together, experiencing many of the same things that little girls do in their young lives. But the differences surfaced with the problems of the developmental delays that Frances had due to her Down syndrome.
Dolores realized that Frances shared many of the same desires that she had but could not accomplish many of them on her own. The family also wanted things for Frances to give her a more abundant life and to help her overcome the challenges she faced daily.
As the two sisters grew into adulthood, a local pastor told Dolores about a camp in Lynchburg, Virginia called Eagle Eyrie that had a program for those with special needs. They held a retreat yearly for mentally challenged adults. On the pastor's invitation Dolores and Frances attended the camp, expecting to meet with other families who had special needs sisters, brothers, sons and daughters. Much to her surprise, Dolores discovered there were special needs organizations, Sunday school classes and other activities that Frances could enjoy with her family. They had a wonderful time and Frances fully enjoyed it.
When they came home, the family wanted to continue what they had experienced without waiting another year for camp. Dolores loved the idea of a Sunday school class for her sister. Much to her surprise, she was approached to be the teacher. She was a bit wary of her abilities to take on such a task, but being the faithful person she was, she accepted the challenge and a class was formed at her church. There were only a few to begin with but the Super Kids were formed with that little group in Dolores's class.
Other activities were started for The Super Kids such as going to the Richmond Braves games, swimming parties, bowling, dances and holiday parties such as Valentine's and Christmas. The Super Kids began their own ministry by going to visit residents at local nursing homes and those who were sick in their church family. We try now to have one planned group activity each month.
Over the past few years we have had approximately 30 Super Kids and 25 “counselors” attending our weekend retreats to Eagle Eyrie each October. At our last few Christmas Banquets we have had approximately 130-150 in attendance.
Through the contact with families like the Holland’s, Dolores noted a real need in our area for the Super Kids. The families were concerned for the well being of their children when they would no longer be able to care for them. Knowing first hand the requirements for caring for a special needs family member, Dolores started speaking up for a loving, caring place for the Super Kids to reside in after their family could no longer handle their care. She remembered in God's Word that "faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen". That was the seed of her dream for a group home for the mentally challenged adults that would be filled with God's love, protection and joy.
After many years of being the voice of her Super Kids the dream is on the way to becoming a reality.
After many years of waiting, many generous donations, and people getting 'behind' the dream, the process has begun to build the Frances Holland-Woo Daves Group Home for mentally challenged adults. Dolores wanted to do something as a loving memory to her sister who had gone to be with her Lord at the age of 49.
An interesting story is told of Woo Daves involvement in the building of the home. Dolores was preparing for a Christmas party at church and a friend delivered a pie that someone else had baked. Dolores asked if she could stay and help her in the kitchen. I'm sure she will testify that you cannot say "no" to Delores when that sweet smile flashes at you. A casual friendship flourished after that. The week before Frances died in August of ‘93, her husband, went fishing. The story goes that he was not doing so well and said a few bad words that he asked God to forgive him for saying. He also told God that if he won anything that day, he would give it to the Super Kids. God, in His wisdom, blessed him with a win. Good to his promise, he gave his winnings to the Super Kids. He also told his story to another fisherman, Woo Daves. Woo was "hooked" as they say, "hook, line and sinker". He went on to win the Bass Classic and has donated a percentage of his winnings ever since. The dream has caught on bringing in donations from companies like Bass Pro Shops and Georgia Boot. There have been generous donations from individuals in the community. Every penny will count, as the Frances Holland-Woo Daves Group Home becomes a reality.
As this home becomes established, parents and caregivers can rest assured that their special needs person will continue experiencing good times. Dreams come true for Lee Donald who comes home from camp, washes his clothes and packs for camp next year. Their Kim, Barbara, Amy and Dolores can get their makeup and hair done just right for the annual Christmas party. The parents dream comes true when they see their Donnie, Winnette or David being a star of a Super Kids production skit. A dream becomes a reality when they know their child will have a place to call HOME like they have been accustomed.
The Super Kids does not end there, it will just continue with each step of the home being built and operating. This is just the beginning as new chapters in the Super Kids are yet to come.