Building a Path Towards Hope and Healing

As we move families towards the path of hope and healing, we are thrilled to announce that we have been awarded a challenge match from The Bolger Foundation. FamilyForward’s challenge is to raise $25,000 to receive $20,000, which will fund the first phase of a sensory path installation at our Developmental Trauma Campus.

In 2024, The Bolger Foundation, a New Jersey-based foundation, awarded almost $1 million to 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations across the U.S., including FamilyForward. Accepting this gift marks a significant milestone, as we are one of the first nonprofit organizations in the Midwest to receive funding. We are committed to garnering widespread support for the new sensory path because we believe in its impact to enhance the therapeutic journey within FamilyForward’s programs with opportunities for tactile exploration, music-making, and sensory engagement.

“We want to help both caregivers and the children learn how to interact together in nature. So, when they encounter these kinds of experiences on their own, whether it be in nature or at home, they can feel confident from the learning experiences they had on the sensory path,” said Lisa von Wahlde, Director of Therapy at FamilyForward.

The groundbreaking initiative to create a sensory path at our Developmental Trauma Campus will aid in addressing sensory and motor delays in children affected by developmental trauma. Every element of the path is intentionally designed to enhance outdoor play experiences, nurture sensory and motor development, and support the growth and healing of the children we serve.

If you are interested in learning more about how you can support the sensory path project, contact Jessica Dederer at or Sam Reynolds at

Funding for equipment for Phase I of the sensory path was provided by the Child Abuse and Neglect Facility Improvement and Infrastructure Grant at YouthBridge Community Foundation, made possible by the Children’s Trust Fund.