From Pom Poms to Punching Bags: Hailie’s Story

For the past 3 weeks, we’ve brought you firsthand accounts of how respite can change families’ lives. You can catch up on each story here. This week, we’re shifting gears to tell you about another way that community philanthropy plays an important role at Developmental Pathways.

While respite funding enables a primary caregiver to take a break, it doesn’t meet a host of other needs families may have. That’s where general funds donated to the SUN Foundation and distributed through the Community Outreach Department come in. These funds can be purposed in a variety of ways and are distributed by an internal committee depending on the specific need. A family with a nonverbal child might receive funding to assist their child in communicating. Another family might receive funds to subsidize the cost of swimming lessons for a loved one. Or a family might even receive funding to enroll in a kickboxing exercise class- just ask Katie and Hailie Wegener. That’s what they did. For the Wegeners, funding through Community Outreach has given them the opportunity to grow in confidence and fitness…together.

Although we are primarily focusing on respite this Colorado Gives Day, we also want to acknowledge other ways your giving can transform family life for caregivers and their loved ones. Donations do more than fund opportunities; they create independence, foster confidence, and build relationships. Each of those outcomes is on display in the Wegener’s story.


(written by Mom, Katie Wegener)

I am so lucky to have Developmental Pathways in my court. I’m not sure what I would do without them. My daughter, Hailie, was being bullied by the cheerleaders at her high school. Either that, or they just had no interest in helping her be a cheerleader there. They would completely ignore her and go out of their way to avoid her. After months of this treatment from the whole team, Hailie had finally had enough.

So, I started looking for a way to keep her moving which is not an easy task. I thought, “Why not do it with her?”.  I looked into programs and tried several before we found where we would be for the next 10 weeks- Farrell’s Extreme Body Shaping. It was truly a blessing that Developmental pathways helped us with the funding of this great kickboxing and strength training program. Hailie and I love the classes and are dedicated to improving our health with exercise and also eating better too.  

Hailie does the best she can and, with the help from their amazing instructors, she does move at least half of the class!  We are so blessed that Pathways is here to help us with this challenge.

We stopped by Farrell’s a while back to capture some moments of Katie and Hailie’s boxing class- we think the gloves suit her pretty well.

Share your story with us at

Be sure to visit our Community Impact page, or read more Family Stories to hear more about the other incredible families we have the privilege to support.