"Louies Voice was started in 2012 by Lou Berman who is the parent of a severely autistic child Louie Berman Jr. And so the story goes......."
"It was Christmas Eve 2011. I was on my way up to pick up my son and take him home for the holiday. Upon my arrival I had looked inside the residence And noticed a cold, almost empty feeling that surrounded me when I was in there. I also noticed that there were many children that were there and I was curious about that. Because I was just starting back to work again in resuming my career, and of course running late as usual, I had just made the assumption that Louie will be there with not too many children as they too would be going home to spend time with their families. Upon me seeing so many kids that were still there I had almost precariously inquired with one of the staff "how come there are so many children still here? Aren't they going home?" In the most surreal moment that would most certainly make an epic scene in a lifetime movie, the resident Staff looked at me and Plainly but quietly said in the most sincere, yet depressed tone "this is their home ". As she said those words her eyes penetrated mine, and almost seemed to look through me. Of course I was taken back by her reply and obviously followed up with a follow-up question as to why. She had replied to me that "most of these children are custodians of the state, that is, their families either do not want to, or are unable to care for them without the resources that are available here."
After taking a few moments to digest all of this information it seemed as if I was in sensory overload. A host of various feelings and emotions overcame me immediately, but none more so then the echoing almost EMPTY feeling that the residence had given me and what these children would NOT be experiencing for the holiday. As these feelings started to overtake me I had ask the staff if I may go and purchase some items and some Decor that I could give to the children. I really just started back to work at this time and I had around $800 in my pocket. It was all I had to my name at the time. I left the residence and went to the closest department store I could find which was Kmart. At first I wanted to try to just get a few small things and only spend a few hundred....but as I walked down aisle by aisle.....all the decorations and toys and holiday spirit that overtakes every department store around that time of year, I was compelled to spend every dollar I had to buy as much as I could for those most deserving children. The thought of one child and they're not having something just compelled me to do all that I could. It was almost as if all those kids belonged to me and that I, and only I, was or could be responsible for giving them a Christmas, which I know wasn't the case, but that feeling overtook me nonetheless. Never before in my life did I ever walk into a store and be so overcome with emotion and tears...so much so that I even had a few people stop and ask me if I was okay. When I told them why I was so overcome and I told him what I was doing , they kindly offered to join in and help me purchase a few items. I don't know who these angels were and I wish that I could cross paths with them again and thank them for inspiring me to do, what we have done so far and all that we've undertaken. What started out as a small holiday gesture, was joined by some Angels, I believe that were sent, to help breathe life into something that I never even thought I would ever have the capacity to do or want to do. Because those angels helped me, that's what made me believe that something even so much greater was possible. Little did I know how many more angels were to come and help create and sustain what we have today..... To help us get organized, to form a 501(c)(3), to engage others to help us in our mission, and to see how many were just so willing to do that. Since then we've given away toys, cash, cars, hope and dare I say dreams, that one day things can be better. We became the voice for the voiceless. WE MAKE LIVES BETTER. This was the start of Louie's voice.