Darla Farmer: Caring for Families Through Hope for Three

By Whitney Hensler

Darla Farmer was volunteering at Child Advocates of Fort Bend when she met Hope Montgomery, an employee with the organization who became pregnant with identical triplet girls in 2008.

“All the ladies at Child Advocates stepped in to help when she got pregnant with triplets,” said Farmer. “Over time, the friends kind of wandered away—life gets busy—and I ended up staying a friend to the family and helping out as best I could.”

The family’s needs intensified when in 2009, Lakin, the middle triplet, was diagnosed with a disorder on the Autism spectrum known as PDD-NOS, or Pervasive Development Disorder – Not Otherwise Specified. In June of 2010, the other girls, Londyn and Lauren, were also diagnosed with PPD-NOS.

Farmer said she recognized the “financial, emotional, and physical strains” that were put on Montgomery and her husband as they tried to find treatment and services for the triplets, while also trying to maintain a normal home life for their son, Collin. Their struggle inspired her to start the organization Hope for Three, a non-profit that aims to spread autism awareness in the Fort Bend community and to connect families affected by autism to the services they need.

“It was founded because I was inspired by the Montgomery family, but once we started making our way in the Fort Bend community, we recognized that there were so many families affected,” said Farmer, who noted that there are approximately 2,200 children diagnosed with autism or autism-related disorders in the county.

Farmer said the organization has two main focus areas, “raising awareness and providing resources and support for families living with autism,” the latter of which is accomplished through the Family Assistance Awards, financial aid assistance that is given to families after a thorough application process.

“No other organization in Fort Bend County provides financial aid,” said Farmer. “We’re the only organization that focuses solely on the epidemic of autism, nothing else, which makes us unique in itself, and we’re the first that directly impacts families by providing financial aid.”

Farmer said that since the organization received non-profit status in 2011, they’ve been able to provide support for 10 families affected with autism in the community.

“There is a need to have this kind of organization, and seeing it grow and develop, it has expanded beyond my wildest dreams.” Farmer said.

For more information regarding Hope for Three, visit hopeforthree.org or call 713-858-7965. For additional volunteer opportunities in Fort Bend County, call 713-965-0031 or visit www.VolunteerFortBend.org.