The Special Education Foundation established the Fred Saigh Leadership Academy in 2004 with support from The Saigh Foundation. This yearly program cultivates leadership skills in high school students with disabilities, engaging them in community-related issues.
The class dedicates one day each month for nine months to visit key locations, meet leaders, and explore the metropolitan area. The program familiarizes them with institutions essential for our community's vitality and effectiveness in serving its citizens.
Last Friday, the Academy class started their day by visiting the Little Bit Foundation to help assemble school supply kits, tag socks, count inventory, and pick orders.
Henry Becker of Lindbergh High School commented about the support they provided. ”We did 15 boxes of just backpacks, getting scissors to remove the tags, and then we put them back in the boxes and taped them up.”
Olivia Brown of Pattonville and Lilah Brown of Brentwood added that they wrapped up about 1,500 pencils in groups of four, and it was “super fun!”
The afternoon session included a visit from the Starkloff Disability Institute, where the students learned about Disability Pride - how each student gains self-confidence that will allow them to become a stronger self-advocate and how they can help to educate others about the disability community.
The class also shared what having a disability means for them. They discussed everyone’s definition of living independently, and that their disability is a part of what makes them unique. They ended the day by writing thank-you letters to the leaders they visited and those who helped support the day’s activities.