11-year old Joel, a patient in St. Mary’s Pediatric Day Healthcare Program (PDHC) received the prestigious “hero of the month” nomination for overcoming his learning disabilities and improving his behavioral and social skills, all while learning to cope with the complications associated with his medical condition.

Before entering St. Mary’s PDHC program, a therapeutic, rehabilitative, and recreational program for children and young adults who have cognitive and physical disabilities, Joel was shy and isolated from his surroundings. His condition hindered his ability to make new friends and enjoy his childhood.

With the assistance of St. Mary’s renowned therapists and educators, Joel has excelled in school, learned to effectively communicate his needs and wants, socialize with patients and staff, and now walks around St. Mary’s with an increased sense of pride and a huge smile that portrays his self-confidence. Joel is surrounded by caregivers who work with him to develop every capability to his fullest, and he continues to grow into a mature young adult.

Joel’s award earned him special gifts and a prepaid gift card which he is eager to share with his mother Maricela, who proudly witnessed her son’s esteemed honor.

Congratulations to Joel!