Funding for Inclusive Preschool, S.P.L.A.S.H. programs and continuing education at the S. June Smith Center

Excentia Photo 2.jpgThe S. June Smith Center, a service of Excentia, provides early childhood and early intervention services to children, from birth to five, with developmental needs. These services offer a proactive approach to putting children on a healthy path to development. The S. June Smith Foundation provided grants to fund several S. June Smith Center needs.

A grant was given to support three inclusive preschool classrooms for much needed supplies and equipment.  These early learning environments that allow children with and without disabilities to learn together. The impact of inclusive learning benefits all the students. The teachers find that children with disabilities or delays are more motivated by and actively listen to their peers without disabilities or delays. Children without developmental needs are more inclined to develop qualities of compassion, understanding, mutual respect and leadership.

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S.P.L.A.S.H. (Sound Play and Language Awareness Story Hour) is a class for children between the ages of 24 months and 36 months. These classes offer an engaging and fun environment to help parents and caregivers encourage their child’s development and communication. These classes are offered at a low cost to parents and the S. June Smith Foundation funded a grant to help the Excentia’s S. June Smith Center to be able to continue to offer these classes at an affordable fee.

Continuing education is important for ensuring that children with developmental needs get quality care. The Center offers support to children with different and a range of needs. The S. June Smith Foundation has funded a grant for continuing education and training on health, safety, autism, positive relationships, sensory needs and behavioral needs.

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The mission of Excentia is to provide those supports necessary to enable children and adults with developmental needs to live as independently and fully as they desire within the community.  The S. June Smith Center is the Early Intervention service at Excentia.

Supporting Football through the United Disabilities Services Foundation

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Many children with disabilities don’t have the opportunity to exercise creative expression or engage in social interaction with their peers. Parents of children with disabilities are always looking for programs that their children can interact with others and participate in sports. Currently there aren’t any programs available in Lancaster County that addresses these needs.

UDS Cheer group.jpgThe S. June Smith Foundation has funded a grant that will go towards the USDF’s innovative program to give young football players and cheerleaders (ages 8 – 24) the opportunity to participate in a season of action packed, no contact football. The season will run August through October of 2015 and games will be held on Saturdays. Last year over 60 kids participated in the event and this year they are planning to create more opportunities for participation. This program is offered free of charge to the families of the children who participate. The season will wrap up with a Super Bowl Banquet provided by the UDS Foundation.UDS Youth Sport Logo.jpg

United Disabilities Services Foundation’s mission is to provide quality services in the home and community that enhance the independence and enrich the lives of the seniors and individuals with disabilities.

Disability Awareness Training grant funded for The Arc of Lancaster County

Arc Lancaster.jpgChildren who have a developmental disability are often not included in social events with their peers without disabilities. One of the core values of The Arc of Lancaster County and the S. June Smith Foundation is inclusivity. There are many programs for those with developmental disabilities that are set apart or segregated and this separation can lead to further isolation and lack of true spontaneous friendships.

The S. June Smith Foundation has funded a grant to support The Arc of Lancaster County in their Disability Awareness Training program. This program is designed for children ages 5-12 in achieving a greater understanding of their peers with disabilities. Their goal is to reach 3,500 elementary school students in 2016 and these services are free of charge to the schools or service organizations that participate.  Trained personnel will present information showing that all people have challenges and value.

The Arc of Lancaster County’s mission is empowering individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities to lead full, satisfying, independent lives of their choice. This is accomplished by providing advocacy, community education, quality of life training and referral for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities and families.

Music Therapy, Entertainment and Pet Therapy grant funded for Aaron’s Acres

Aarons Acres Photo 2.jpgApproximately 100 children and young adults attended Aaron’s Acres 2015 Summer Camp.  The opportunity to attend summer camp gives the opportunity for campers to engage in recreational activities with their peers separate from a school setting.  Aaron’s Acres summer camp has a low staff to camper ratio of 1:1 or 1:2. Allowing staff to meet the needs of each camper to be met immediately and appropriately.Aarons Acres Photo 1.jpgThe S. June Smith Foundation has funded a grant to assist the Aaron’s Acres Summer Camp program. This grant will go towards providing their campers with music therapy, entertainment and pet therapy. These activities are meant to encourage children to expand their social skills, experience and express their emotions and develop self-esteem.

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Aaron’s Acres provides individuals with special needs ages 5-21 with year-round therapeutically based age appropriate recreational programs directed by specially trained and certified staff in a supportive environment that enhances socialization and communication skills.

Pet Therapy services funded for children with developmental needs through Keystone Pet Enhanced Therapy Services (KPETS)

KPETS is a network of dependable registered therapy team committed to providing therapeutic benefits through the use of pets to people with physical, emotional and mental challenges, from all walks of life, in a wide variety of settings. Their services are provided free of charge to organizations and individuals in need.  KPETS coordinates the work of highly motivated and committed volunteers in providing thousands of pet therapy hours per year in the community.

The S. June Smith Foundation funded a grant to KPETS to provide children with developmental needs with pet therapy services. These services foster emotional growth and stability in a safe environment where these children can feel the benefits of human-animal interaction.  Evidence has found that pets can reduce stress and create calm in children. Studies show that pets have a positive effect on a child’s blood pressure and heart rate.

Keystone Pet Enhanced Therapy Services’ mission is to offer therapeutic benefits of animal assisted therapy to a variety of populations in multiple settings. KPETS strives to serve individuals or groups of all ages struggling with physical, emotional or mental challenges.

Bringing Self-expression through Art at the Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities (CADD)

CADD regularly supports up to 1500 clients that have an autism spectrum disorder or intellectual disability ranging from 18 months to end of life. They perform 500 new evaluations each calendar year. Clients may have appointments at CADD as little as twice a year and some may have appointments weekly. The offices at CADD are designed to be sensitive to the sensory needs of their clients.  Those who come to CADD are able to enjoy beautiful works of art created by their clients. This art also serves to remind everyone who comes to CADD how special each artist is regardless of disability.

The S. June Smith Foundation has funded a grant for art supplies to CADD. This will give clients who have not had an opportunity create an art for display the opportunity to do so. This opportunity will allow clients a chance for self-expression through art and also build self-esteem seeing their art displayed.

The mission of the Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities is to provide state of the art life long care for individuals with autism and developmental disabilities.

2016-2017 S. June Smith Foundation Grants Available

The S. June Smith Foundation announces the availability of grants up to $1,000 to Lancaster County non-profit 501(c)3 organizations that provide services to children with developmental delays and disabilities. Grant applications can be downloaded at http://www.sjunesmithfoundation.com. Applications are due by Friday, May 20, 2016, and grant decisions will be announced on or after Friday, July 1, 2016.