Leopoldo Vollmer cradled by Mother Theresa
“For us as parents, the benefits of the program are another amazing thing, worth telling. The tragedy of realizing that our son, Leopoldo, was so terribly handicapped was transformed into the energy to do something about it. To understand the brain and how to improve his condition was life-changing. Not only it turned our grief into energy; it gave us an insight into so many realities which were helpful with our other 6 children, plus grandchildren, friends and neighbors. Our experience with setting up Programa Leopoldo for poor children in Venezuela has proven that this program can be done by any devoted family. And the sooner children are brought on to the program, the more efficacious and rapid is the improvement. One by-product of this program, especially important with poor or culturally deprived people, is the respect and understanding which is developed by the community surrounding a family on the program. And so, love and support and respect surrounds, and values radiate from, these families. Brain science has become a huge interest to us and we find we are always abreast of the latest scientific findings. Charles and Concecao Solis and the REACH team have since developed many more facets to the program and we are absolutely sure that nowhere can better treatment be found than with them.”
Ambassador Alberto J. Vollmer, former Ambassador of Venezuela to the Vatican, President of Alberto J. Vollmer Foundation, Businessman, Philanthropist; Christine de Marcellus Vollmer, founder of Alliance for the Family & co-author of “Alive to the World“
“As I thought about sharing my experience with the Reach program, I realized that perhaps it was more important that I should share my experience without it. Change must be viewed not merely by how things currently are, but as the difference from what used to be. Believe me; I am very thankful for that difference! I was one of those “apparently normal” kids; the type of child with no obvious difficulties. My parents knew something wasn’t right, and had me tested when I was about five years old. The doctor confirmed that I had mild cerebral palsy, but my parents could not afford any form of therapy for me. Their solution was to ignore the problem. They figured that I could do most things acceptably well, and if I weren’t told, I would grow up to be “normal.” Yet I knew instinctively that something wasn’t right, as kids usually do. However, I was too young to realize that I had a genuine physical problem. Instead I believed that I was clumsy and stupid. After all, I was always the last one picked to play any team game in school, and my problems in the classroom constantly landed me in trouble with my parents. Most of my peers shunned me, and grades were a constant problem.
Even though I eventually managed to get my grades up enough to get into a four-year college, I had to drop out after only two years. Over time, I was able to compensate for the lack of a degree by working hard and gaining practical experience in my chosen field of engineering, but life could have been much different if I had been able to get help early on. How much different I can only guess, but I can say this with certainty: The progress I have seen since beginning the Reach program is amazing! Before I started the program, I would drop things without warning. The problem was so bad my wife would not let me handle her good china at all! I would frequently run into doorways, desks and chairs. My balance was unsteady, and depth perception virtually nonexistent. Perhaps the most troubling issues were constant difficulties with ADHD, and hypersensitivity to light and sound. Though I had developed coping mechanisms for all of these issues they were always a problem.
Even as president of a high-tech engineering firm, I still felt as if I was a clumsy, stupid oaf. While I knew, intellectually, that I wasn’t stupid, it still felt that way, nonetheless! I am thankful that my mother told me the truth before she died, and that the Reach Family Institute has been so helpful to me in gaining improvement. My story is not unique: I see the results in other kids as well. My own grandson has had many positive changes since he began the Reach program. One of my colleagues has a grandson in the program, and his progress is amazing! Other kids we’ve referred share similar stories; the list seems endless!
I cannot help but ponder how my life would have been different if someone had told my parents that help was available. Even back then, the techniques used by Reach were known and available, but my parents were not in a financial position to properly research the issues, let alone take advantage of any program that was available. Just knowing that change can happen is a big piece of the puzzle which most parents never get, simply because they don’t have the means even to find out what’s available to help their child. Given that the program is designed to be accomplished with the help of parents rather than costly therapists makes it all the more important that those families on a limited income be given the chance to know how to help their children. Think of how many children, who live functional but difficult lives, could be helped with just a little information, rather than “fall through the cracks” and wind up as burdens to society, rather than the valuable assets they were created to be.
Keep up the wonderful work. Though you are able to see the progress of those you help, including me, you cannot even begin to imagine the impact you are having on the future, not only of our lives, but also of the lives of those around us.”
James Hendershot, President, Radio Design Group, Inc.
“REACH’s work is the culmination of western civilization. It is the epitome of what is good in the West. It combines the whole two thousand-year tradition of Christian love and humanism with modern natural science. REACH’s work combines, in some ways, elements of Mother Theresa and Jonas Salk. This is the best of the West.”
Dean Clancy, Specialist on Health, Education, Welfare, Family and Social Issues
“The family is an irreplaceable community in these situations because of the quality, talent, and tenderness of the loving care which only parents can unselfishly offer their children. REACH’s Programa Leopoldo in Venezuela is an extension of the Gospel of Life from the family itself.”
His Holiness Pope John Paul II