For several years, Falk Harrison staffers have drawn names to exchange Christmas ornaments during the holiday season. This year we wanted to do something more meaningful by finding a way to help others. We decided to collect hats, gloves, scarves and shoes to donate to Project Hope.
Project Hope is an effort of the Early Childhood Special Education Program (ECSE) of Special School District of St. Louis County (SSD). ECSE serves approximately 1,250 students each year, and about 12 percent of them come from low-income families. The severity of disabilities ranges from difficulty articulating certain sounds to multiple disabilities and developmental disorders. Teachers and staff help the families who are having financial difficulties, not only during the holidays, but also throughout the year, often using money out of their own pockets.
ECSE staff began raising money in an organized way in 2009 and has raised over $50,000 and served hundreds of families. They provide basic needs such as clothing, coats, shoes, socks, diapers and food; they also provide for some medical expenses that are not fully covered by insurance, such as leg braces and orthotics, as well as adaptive equipment for specialized needs.
What touched us at Falk Harrison is that the teachers and staff began by addressing these needs on their own, and then went further by organizing an annual trivia fundraiser in their spare time so they could do even more for the students and families. We’re both proud and humbled to help in our small way. We have gathered a large bag full of brand-new goodies and plan to collect some gently used clothing items for staff to have on hand in the classrooms for the preschoolers in 2013. We hope our gifts of clothing bring a little joy and warmth to the recipients.
If you’d like to help, let me know and we’ll collect what you have to donate, or I’d be happy to put you in touch with the appropriate SSD personnel. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.