A very special grant was made to the New Life Presbyterian Church to build a “Special Needs Room”, which allows parents and families to attend church services while their special needs children are being well cared for. The grant was used to purchase toys and equipment needed to maximize the interaction of workers with children of special needs. Specifically, the room was supplied with large motor items such as a suspended swing, playhouse and tunnel. Also needed were learning tools to encourage the development of fine motor skills such as puzzles, blocks and marble mazes. Special measures had to be taken to assure that the room was a safe environment, such as padding on the walls and higher door locks and safety latches on drawers. All of these things combined gave the parents and workers the assurance of a safe and stimulating learning environment for their children during church services.
"If Not Me, Then Who?"
Not long after Travis was killed by enemy sniper fire in Iraq, checks in his memory began appearing at the Manion family's home. His family vowed to give every penny to worthy causes. The roots of today's Travis Manion Foundation was a memorial fund created by family and friends dedicated to inspiring the next generation of leaders through scholarships at LaSalle College High School and to other young leaders. This fund enabled more than $140,000 in scholarships in just the first year. Today, the Foundation operates three major programs that Honor the Fallen by Challenging the Living through fellowships, a Character Does Matter Leadership program, and the 9/11 Heroes Run each September 11th – while still funding Good Grief seminars, scholarships, and community service projects that benefit wounded and disabled veterans and Families of the Fallen. Our grant provided t-shirts for everyone attending the Marine Corps Marathon fundraising events. For more information, please visit their website at www.travismanion.com.
For the Love of Sports and Each Other
Athletes Helping Athletes, Inc. connects local special needs athletes with mainstream student-athletes in a spirit of friendship for their mutual benefit and inspiration. AHA, Inc. believes that a world of greater acceptance for all can begin with our children, sharing athletic experiences and a love for sport while developing compassion and mutual respect. The Legacy Foundation grant provided t-shirts to 850 athletes, coaches and volunteers at the 2009 Special Olympics of Bucks County Track and Field meet. For more information, please visit their website at www.athleteshelpingathletesinc.com.
Great Strides for a Brighter Future
The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation is the leading organization in the US dedicated to the development of the means to cure and control cystic fibrosis and to improve the quality of life for those with the disease. Established in 1955, children with CF were not expected to live long enough to attend elementary school. Due in large part to the Foundation's aggressive investments in innovative research and comprehensive care, many people with the disease can now expect to live into their 30s, 40s and beyond. In 1989, CF Foundation-supported scientists discovered the defective gene that causes cystic fibrosis—a monumental breakthrough on the road to a cure. Our grant provided funding to support the event costs for the 2009 Great Strides Walk. For more information, please visit their website at www.cff.org.
Never Give Up
Shannon was an honors student at Norristown Area High School who was just like any other child. She loved to draw, sing and hang with her friends. On November 9, 2007 Shannon and her friends volunteered at a Christmas bazaar at St. Teresa of Avila Church in West Norriton. Tragically, Shannon was struck by a car while crossing the street after the bazaar. She suffered a traumatic brain injury and had to be flown by helicopter to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. Shannon was in a coma for over two months and underwent 20 surgeries. She is completely dependent on others for care. Shannon is unable to talk, feed herself or use her arms or legs. Her needs are substantial and her family, friends and community are dedicated to supporting and helping her live her life in a meaningful way. Our grant provided a much needed backup generator for the family's home, which will guarantee that all of Shannon's emergency support services and needs are met in times of power outages and emergency situations. Shannon is well loved and supported by her family and continues her fight with a strong will and desire to work hard. Shannon does not have a dedicated website, however, St. Teresa of Avila Church is their family parish (www.stteresaofavilaparish.com).
A Case for Smiles
ConKerr Cancer started when Cindy Kerr's son was diagnosed with cancer in 2002 and she began making pillowcases to brighten up his hospital room and to put a smile on his face. He loved it so much that she began making pillowcases for other children at the Oncology Unit at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Their main goal is to make hospital stays as pleasant as possible for chronically ill children. These special pillowcases, all handmade by volunteers, have brightened the lives of many children nationwide and in South Africa. Our grant provided the necessities needed to make these special pillowcases, such as material and threading. They are currently expanded internationally into Canada and South Africa and have a goal to provide a pillowcase to every seriously ill child in North America by 2015. For more information, please visit their website at www.conkerrcancer.org.
Be a Friend, Make a Difference
Best Buddies of Gwynedd Mercy College is part of an international organization whose mission is to enhance the lives of people with disabilities. The college members of Best Buddies are paired with individuals from the community who have special needs for the purpose of friendship and socialization. The members of Best Buddies interact with their buddies through on and off campus events, individual outings and Best Buddies-sponsored programs. The “buddies” provide one to one friendships and guidance. Our Foundation provided a grant which supported all Best Buddy program social events scheduled through one half of the calendar year. For more information, please visit www.bestbuddies.com.
Pajama Program Inc. provides new pajamas and new books to children in need, many of which are waiting and hoping to be adopted. Many live in orphanages, group homes and shelters, being shuffled from one temporary home to another. Many of these children have never experienced the love and joy of a parent tucking them in at night and reading them a story. Since 2001, over one million sets of pajamas and books have been provided to children in need. Our grant provided new books and new pajamas for their Bedtime Books & PJ's program in MD and PA for 100 of these very special children. For more information, please visit their website at www.pajamaprogram.org.
The Patrician Society, serving the greater Norristown area since 1981, provides help for elderly people on fixed incomes, homeless persons, parents who receive public assistance while caring for children, residents of boarding homes, recently unemployed and underemployed family breadwinners and others in need. They are currently focused on addressing the needs of the swelling ranks of families who are hungry and come to them for food. They provide for the basic human needs of the less fortunate among us. Our grant provided much needed items for their “Kids Cupboard”, which is part of their emergency food cupboard. The cupboard was filled with baby formula, baby food, bottles, bibs, wipes, diapers and much much more. For more information, please visit their website at www.pajamaprogram.org.
Special Equestrians' mission is to improve the physical, mental and emotional well being of individuals with disabilities through the equine experience - horseback riding. The program brings tremendous hope to hundreds of individuals who have discovered the therapeutic benefits of equine-assisted therapeutic activities. The Legacy Foundation helped a 2 year old little boy with cerebral palsy experience twelve weeks of hippotherapy, which is physical, occupational and speech therapy treatment on a moving horse. For more information, please visit their website at www.specialequestrians.org.
The Teenage Years
Since its start in 1855 as the nation's first hospital devoted exclusively to caring for children, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) has been the birthplace for many dramatic firsts in pediatric medicine. The hospital has fostered medical discoveries and innovations that have improved pediatric healthcare and saved countless children's lives. They are committed to exceptional patient care. The Legacy Foundation provided a grant for their teenage oncology patients by way of forty Welcome Kits. These teenage patients are always looking for things to do that are better suited to their age groups. These kits for new teenage patients include iTunes gift cards, reflective journals, pens, hats and other fun and age appropriate activities. For more information, please visit their website at www.chop.edu.
He Who Can, Does. He Who Cannot, Teaches.
St. Malachy's School serves nearly 210 children, all with the help of teachers, donors and countless others. Their mission is to provide a family-oriented environment that encourages academic excellence. They foster awareness to our human connection, to God and to our global community and are committed to building strong moral character and Christian values to help students become lifelong learners. St. Malachy's depends on contributions, grants and private donations to continue their mission. Each year the school must raise 1.2 million dollars to accomplish their mission. The school takes pride in a 95% daily attendance rate, a rate of 91% of kindergartners testing at grade level or above in reading and a rate of 83% testing at “high mastery”. The majority of graduates enroll in independent, parochial, charter or magnet schools including La Salle College High School, Merion Mercy Academy, Roman Catholic High School, Mastery Charter, Central High School and the Charter High School for Architecture and Design. The Legacy Foundation grant provided instructional materials/books needed for the Middle States Accreditation process. For more information, please visit their website at www.saintmalachyparish.com.
All People Have Something to Offer
Special People in Northeast (SPIN) is a nonprofit human service organization dedicated to providing quality services and support for children and adults with disabilities and their families. Their values, culture and mission are rooted in the belief that all people regardless of their abilities seek opportunities to live life to the fullest. They believe that people need to be a part of their community and enjoy all that the community has to offer as well as be a responsible and contributing citizen. The Legacy Foundation provided a grant for a canopy over their large outdoor classroom for the new construction of an outdoor learning center, specifically the Children's Experimental Gardens. For more information, please visit their website at www.spininc.org.