12/19/15 Students, faculty bring holiday spirit to homebound classmates

Joy to Community Alternatives
Southern Alamance High School multiple disabilities students sing Christmas carols Friday at Katelyn Andrews’ home in Haw River. Andrews, 16, is a homebound student.

Sam Roberts / Times-News

Southern Alamance High School multiple disabilities students sing Christmas carols Friday at Katelyn Andrews’ home in Haw River. Andrews, 16, is a homebound student.

Students, faculty bring holiday spirit to homebound classmates
By Isaac Groves The Times-News 12/19/15  
Reprinted with permission.  

HAW RIVER — When Katelyn Andrews, 16, was wheeled out onto her porch Friday morning, Santa Claus was walking up the driveway along with about 40 carolers.

“OK, guys, this is Katelyn, who you got to say happy birthday to,” Amy Chinnici told the students from the Southern Alamance High School’s class for children with multiple disabilities.

These are Andrews’ classmates, but her health is fragile, and a cold could put her in the hospital, so she is a homebound student. Her classmates, some middle school students, teacher assistants, general education students who help out, and Santa came to bring Christmas to her.

They started out with “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” A few carolers were in wheelchairs like Andrews. Several were dancing. One stood with a walker and danced. One boy stood with a teacher who signed the lyrics to him.

“They’re all dancing and singing for you,” Katelyn’s mother, Andrea Andrews, told her.

After the carolers finished “Jingle Bells” and “Feliz Navidad,” Katelyn’s family got a picture of her with Santa, her mom and dad, older sisters, one’s husband and the other’s fiancé, niece, 3-month-old nephew, grandmother and her nurse.

Years ago, Andrea Andrews said, someone with Katelyn’s disabilities would probably be in a long-term care facility, but those are expensive to run and easy places to get sick.

Now, because of the Medicaid-funded Community Alternatives Program, Katelyn gets care at home from nurses like Iwona (pronounced “Ivana”) Tauer, who has been one of Katelyn’s nurses for 13 years.

“It keeps people from having to go to institutions,” Andrea Andrews said.

Katelyn Andrews is not the only one in Alamance County benefiting from CAP, Andrea Andrews said. Nor is she the only homebound student in the Alamance-Burlington School System, Chinnici said. So the carolers got back in their buses and went on to sing to one another.