Newsmakers 2017

Newsmakers  began the New Year by featuring a brand new organization in our area, “Brighter Journeys”.  The organization is designed to meet the needs of parents who have children with special needs. It was formed by a group of families who hope to provide children with a Brighter Journey in life.

The monthly Public Affairs program was hosted by Jayne Ann Bugda and Andy Mehalshick. They were joined by Lisa Urbanski and Bernice Sando, Founders of Brighter Journeys and Jeannine Morrissey,  board member. They explained how their own experiences with their children lead them to spearhead this unique group for families in our area. Newsmakers aired on Sunday, January 8 at 6:30 am on WYOU  and 11:30 am on WBRE. Click here to watch the Newsmakers interview

2017 Egg Hunt

Hundreds of local special needs children got a terrific treat Wednesday. They took part in an Easter egg hunt inside Mohegan Sun Pocono.

600 kids accompanied by parents or caregivers got to pick-up the easy-to- find eggs that each contained a treat.

They also posed for photos with the Easter bunny. The Easter egg hunt is the work of “Brighter Journeys” — a Luzerne County-based organization dedicated to helping kids with special needs.

Lisa Urbanski, it the founder and president, Brighter Journeys she told Eyewitness News “You’re humbled to be able to help these children. Instead of going to a typical Easter egg hunt, they can come here and take their time and enjoy themselves.”

“It’s just something that we can do together that we’re kind of all in the same boat.” added Holly Smith, a mom who attended with her daughter.

Besides the Easter egg hunt, vendors were there to help connect parents with helpful resources for special needs children.

Click to see the story of WBRE

Brighter Journeys Gives Away Its First Item

Brighter Journeys purchases a special bike for a little 8-year-old girl from Drums

Juliann Tompkins suffers from a rare disease called Cockayne syndrome, and her mom says it could kill her by her 12th birthday.

She hasn’t been able to ride a bike, but now with this special new tricycle, they can go on family outings together, and have more special time with her outside.

Her mom says the Valley Elementary/Middle School student is already losing the ability to crawl, and their insurance company had denied the bike.

“We had to go through two appeal processes which we were both denied for, saying it’s not medically necessary,” says mom Christina Tompkins. “They said that Juliann could ride a typical bicycle. As you can see, Juliann can’t walk on her own and she does have disabilities, and she only crawls, so this bike is medically necessary for her.”

A club on campus for people interested in speech pathology and related careers, NSSLHA, found out about Juliann while volunteering with the Brighter Journeys organization.

Today, they raised at least $3,800 for Brighter Journeys. The money raised will help Brighter Journeys to assist other special needs individual within the community.