NightOWLS (Night Out With a Loving Sitter) is a respite care program designed to be an evening of care and fun for children with special needs and their siblings. Our trained volunteers provide individualized care for each child and participate in pre-planned activities and events according to each child’s interest. A nurse is present to assist with any medical needs. An off-duty policeman is present to insure security and a quick emergency response if necessary.
NightOWLS is held 7 months out of the year. It is not offered in December, January, June, July and August. On the months it is offered, NightOWLS runs from 6:00 to 10:00 PM. There are two NightOWLS groups. One group meets on the first Friday of the month; the second group meets on the third Friday of the month.
Who is eligible for NightOWLS?
- Families with children who have Special Needs
- Children age 1 month to 13 years
- Siblings are invited to participate
Families must pre-register by completing an application on each child attending.
What happens at NightOWLS?
As soon as you walk in the door, you will be greeted and introduced to the volunteer(s) assigned to your child(ren) for the evening. You are required to sign in your child(ren) and sign a medical waiver. If your child needs medication administered during the evening, you will meet with the nurse and write down instructions for the nurse to follow. Then you are free to leave and your child’s volunteer will help your child explore the different rooms set up with fun activities.
Examples of some of our rooms include:
- Memories in the Making – two different crafts are available each night, as well as playdough
- GPS (games, puzzles and more) – board games, a wooden train, puzzles, and more
- Computer Fun Zone – a computer room equipped with computer games
- Tower Room – a room filled with toys that is a safe environment for children who prefer to play independently from other children
- Owls Nest – a dimly lit, quiet room where children who are over stimulated can rest, regroup, or take a nap
- Wii Room – multiple controllers allow children and volunteers to test their Wii abilities
- Playgrounds are open during months with daylight savings time
Each evening, special entertainment is provided. In the past, we have enjoyed a presentation by the Tennessee Aquarium on amphibians, a puppet show performed by Kids on the Block, painting lessons given by a local artist, and more!
Our evening winds down with Celebration Time, when we recognize any children with birthdays that month, act out a Bible story, and then settle down to watch one of two movies, each appropriate for children under the age of 13. The Tower Room also remains open during this time for children who prefer not to watch the movie.
Does my child eat dinner at NightOWLS?
Due to complications with food allergies, we do not provide any food for children attending NightOWLS. However, we do provide an Owlettes Dinette where children can eat food provided for them by their parents. We are very strict about keeping food only in the Owlette Dinette and also about not allowing children to share food with each other.
It is our desire to create a community of love and support for families of children with Special Needs. We also offer special events to help foster this sense of community among the NightOWLS families:
- Mom’s Morning Out – A morning dedicated to rest and support for NightOWLS mothers who share a common journey.
- Birthday Party for NightOWLS – An annual party where families and volunteers can gather and fellowship and celebrate life together.
By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.
Request a NightOWLS Application
Click here to request a NightOWLS Application. We will be in touch with you soon.
To volunteer for a NightOWLS evening requires a 5 hour time commitment. It is our desire to keep the volunteer pool large enough that each volunteer is not needed each month. Volunteers arrive at 5:15 PM to prepare for the evening. Dinner is provided while the volunteers hear announcements, learn about the special events for the evening, and review the information for the child they are paired with that evening.
Every volunteer who works directly with the children must attend annual training which is offered twice a year; read and comply with the policies and training manual; and submit to and receive approval from a Criminal History Background Check as required by SMPC.
What volunteers are saying about NightOWLS:
The bottom line of my NightOWLS evening was that you cannot outgive God. I thought I might teach [my child] something and instead she taught me…I thought I was giving something, thought I was serving, and instead I was blessed beyond what I could have asked for or imagined.
Click here to volunteer for NightOWLS. We will be in touch with you soon.
NightOWLS Schedule for 2014
Note: All NightOWLS evenings begin at 5:15 PM for the volunteers and at 6:00 PM for the children.
Check back soon for the Fall 2014 dates.