Thirteen years ago, Anne McCoy was the owner of a thriving occupational therapy practice when a friend invited her to visit Tulsa’s Little Light House for a conference. She was hooked from the start.
McCoy saw a place where she could truly make a difference, and within a short time, she closed down her practice to move into an OT role for Little Light House. After two years with the organization, McCoy became the executive director.
Little Light House, a Christian development center for children up to six who have some form of special needs, opened in 1972. The impetus was two young mothers, Marcia Mitchell and Sheryl Poole, who took matters into their own hands when they realized no early intervention services were available for their daughters, who were both born with visual impairments. Today, the Little Light House is filled with a staff that works diligently to create unique lesson plans for children while fostering their individual needs. Needs are met both mentally and physically, and the nonprofit is a free service offered to families in need. Little Light House accept students from any walk of life or background.
“I remember listening to a pastor who I had a lot of respect for,” says McCoy. “He had a dream where he went before the Lord, and the Lord asked him: ‘Did you learn to love?’ And I thought, no matter where our kids are in their program, no matter how great their needs are, these kids know how to love deeply.”
That’s a story McCoy holds close to her heart as she continues the powerful and necessary work at the Little Light House.
According to McCoy, early intervention is key. Children develop millions of neural pathways in their earliest years, and for families with a child with special needs, time is of the essence.
The Little Light House offers guided support through their entire process, for the children as well as the families.
“Parents need the love and support just as much as the child,” says McCoy. “The parents’ dream hits a wall, but they are able to readapt and develop new dreams for their child. We help parents realize their dreams don’t end, and we … help reimagine and ask God to breathe new life into new dreams. Unlocking communication through play and very individualized education plans tend to help with socialization for the child.”
Born in Roswell, N.M., McCoy completed her undergraduate degree at Colorado State University. She then moved to Tulsa, where she worked in several medical facilities including Children’s Medical Center and then started her own occupational therapy practice.
Her passion for children, along with her faith, has led McCoy to myriad opportunities, including ministry-related positions and the role of president of the Jenks Public Schools Board.