Silvia Hernandez was on a mission when she started Go Play Therapy Center. Go Play Therapy is a rehabilitation facility dedicated to providing speech, physical, and occupational therapies for children. Silvia has a passion for helping children. That passion has been fueled by her own challenge of finding and providing care for her two sons, Alex and Michael.

Alex and Michael were both diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis (CF), a debilitating lung disease. Alex, who is twenty years old lives with the complications of CF on a daily basis. Silvia’s experience with therapy began when her oldest son, Alex, began speech therapy services in Birmingham, a two hour drive from their home. And, Michael would eventually require another form of therapy, Early intervention Services. After losing Michael to complications with CF, Silvia realized she wanted to become more involved with children who suffered from illnesses like her sons. The desire to help was not just a fleeting feeling, it was a consuming passion.

Silvia’s first step came in 2006 when she began working as a Spanish translator for an Early Intervention Program. Soon, she began working in a private rehab facility and worked her way up from secretary to Office Manager. Silvia’s passion to help children and parents in her area only grew. So, in 2015, after many prayers and much leg work, Silvia took a leap of faith and opened Go Play Therapy in Fort Payne.

Nine children began their journey with Go Play Therapy when Silvia opened her doors, and now over 2,000 children have received therapy and remain part of the Go Play Family. Go Play Therapy works with children at local schools, as well as their Clinic. They have convenient hours to accommodate working parents, and they provide a great resource for assistance programs available to children. Silvia has twenty-three employees and the company is still growing. Silvia feels great pride and a sense of accomplishment watching her team make a difference in the lives of the children and parents in the area.

Silvia is a fascinating person with a unique story of heartache, determination, and success. She has come far since arriving in the United States as an infant. She grew up in America and later married Jose (Greg) Hernandez. Shortly before opening Go Play Therapy, Silvia and Greg became foster parents and are planning to adopt. Silvia is passionate about her business, but mostly she’s passionate about her staff, her therapy children, and the parents who allow her to help make a difference in their lives.

Silvia is a member of the Fort Payne Chamber of Commerce and serves on our Board of Directors. Thank you, Silvia, for all you do. For more information about Go Play Therapy, give them a call at (256) 979-1222, or like them on Facebook at Go Play Pediatric Therapy Center.

— Jennifer McCurdy is director of the Fort Payne Chamber of Commerce. Her column appears in the Times-Journal on Wednesdays. You can email her through the chamber’s website at fortpaynechamber.com.

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