Meet the Gernhart Family

Dear Friends of WVCA,

When we decided to move our family back home to the Wyoming Valley in September 2021, our goal was to have our two children, Matthew and Abigail, grow up closer to our families. As they say, it takes a village to raise children. That village is especially important when raising a child with special needs. The Wyoming Valley Children’s Association (WVCA) has supported so many children and their families; our daughter Abigail being a prime example.

Our daughter, Abigail Grace Gernhart, had a significant brain bleed in utero due to a rare genetic mutation: COL4A1. As a result, Abigail has Cerebral Palsy, Epilepsy and Expressive Language Disorder. Abigail’s medical team stressed how important consistent, quality support and intervention would be to her future success and overall development. Our prayers were answered when we discovered the exceptional staff and programming at WVCA.

From the cutting-edge sensory room to student-centered activities, WVCA creates a fun and engaging educational and therapeutic environment to target the diverse needs of ALL students. Since becoming a part of the WVCA family, Abigail has made significant developmental progress over the past two years due to the consistent efforts of her teachers and occupational, physical, and speech therapists. Abigail was once working on simply standing independently. Now, she uses steps unassisted and chases her friends around the classroom. She is gaining skills to increase independence, and she has gained a voice!

WVCA staff spare no efforts to ensure all student needs are met. From welcoming community agency nurses into school to monitor for seizure activity to incorporating her communication device into the classroom, Abigail’s unique needs have been supported in every step of her journey. Staff provide ongoing communication and collaboration that are crucial for student success. We have witnessed Abigail increase meaningful participation in activities throughout the school days due to the work of WVCA staff.

In addition to providing exceptional care to children with special needs, WVCA serves typically developing children as well. Our son, Matthew, attended preschool at WVCA for two years. He always came home from school excited to share the new things he learned each day. Now in Kindergarten, we are looking forward to seeing how Matthew builds on the great educational foundation the WVCA staff established for him.

WVCA has been an integral part of both Abigail and Matthew’s development. We are forever grateful for their support. With your support, WVCA can continue to positively impact the future of children in northeast Pennsylvania. You can be a part of the larger village needed to help children grow! Thank you again from the bottom of our hearts.


The Gernharts – Amanda, Vern, Matthew, and Abigail