United Cerebral Palsy helps those with disabilities find assistance

"Big step. Very good Felipe. Keep going… this is better than the last time,” Mark Malczynski, a physical therapist with UCP said.

18-year old Felipe Santos is determined to walk on his own -- and his physical therapist at Nemours Dupont Pediatrics in Bryn Mawr is committed to helping him.

"He always comes to therapy with a smile on his face-every time I ask him to do an exercise he is always willing to try, always willing to do what I ask,” Malczynski said.

It's been an incredibly rough road for Felipe who was born in Brazil with a myriad of medical problems.

Felipe has cerebral palsy and is trying to improve his strength and endurance.

"8-years old he started limping, losing control of his legs and the health system in Brazil does not work for a whole lot of people at least it didn't work for us,” Luce Carvalho, Felipe’s aunt said.

Felipe's family moved to the United States in 2012.

And says since then ...he has finally gotten the help he needs.  His aunt brings him to p-t twice a week.

"We are so thankful-there are no words that we can express our thankfulness for all that he has received,” Carvalho said.

"Much better now because I am strong because of therapy, helped me a lot,” Felipe said.

 Felipe can remain a patient at nemours dupont pediatrics until he's 21, but what happens after that?

That's where the organization "United Cerebral Palsy" or UCP comes in...

It helps young people like Felipe who have a disability find new resources for assistance and transition to adult programs when the time comes.

There are different vocational training opportunities -- Kim Glenn heads up UCP’s food services training.

"It's the best thing ever. I mean these guys-- they want to work and I just love teaching them. I like sharing what I know so they can go out and they're working and use the tools that I gave them,” Kim Glenn, UCP food service supervisor said.

Fourteen weeks of training in the kitchen.

Participants learn skills like food prep, how to stock products, customer service, teamwork, and how to take directions.

Markus Johnson says it's helped him a lot.

"You learn new stuff, how to do things and you go out in the real world and do it,” Markus, Johnson, a UCP participant said.

And that is the goal  --  to support these young adults with disabilities, to help them get jobs, and succeed in life.

"It makes me smile. They come back and say Ms. Kim, I'm still working...they are very proud and I am proud,” Glenn said.

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