In 2008, Special Education Foundation was the beneficiary of a grand opening fundraiser at the new location of F.O.B. Saint Louis. A number of the women who attended that event were impressed with the mission of the Foundation and asked how they could help. From that small beginning, the Women Leaders of Special Education Foundation formed.
The group initiated the Women Leaders Boutique, Fashion Show and Luncheon in spring 2010. For the first several years, they gave scholarships to deserving college-bound students with disabilities. Not content with that effort alone, they knew they could do more. The event was such a success that revenues exceeded the scholarships they granted. With the oversight of the Foundation board of directors, the group considered how to help more students with disabilities.
In fall of 2013, the group invited the principals of the five Special School District (SSD) schools to make presentations. The principals shared information about the schools, defined their student populations and outlined their needs. This served two purposes: the Women Leaders learned more about the Foundation and the people they serve while figuring out how to help.
Here are the projects, totaling $6,200 that the group funded for the 2013-2014 school year.
- $2,000 to provide the infrastructure for the Ackerman School Clothing Exchange
- $1,500 to provide support for the Northview High School Student Activity Fund
- $1,200 toward the building of an inclusive playground for Southview School
- $1,000 for work shirts and pants to be used for Neuwoehner High School students’ participation in community access programs, beginning their preparation for the world of work
- $500 to increase the quality and quantity of items for students to purchase in the Litzsinger School’s Zinger’s store
This endeavor has been informative and worthwhile for the Women Leaders. Not only are they each humbled by the needs of students, but also they are grateful for the commitment of a dedicated, giving SSD staff. In September 2014, the group will hear presentations from the principals for the next round of funding. Doing more seems to be a way of life for these women.
(The photo above shows a former Women Leaders scholarship winner preparing to model in the group’s fashion show.)