Kathy Wilson Foundation
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Our Mission

If you knew Kathy Wilson, you knew her to be a ferocious advocate for children and a staunch believer in parents’ obligations to learn how to be better parents. Kathy understood small children and she respected them as people. She was their champion, thinking of herself as a “mother bear” protecting with all her might the children under her care.


Her Foundation is such a “mother bear.” It embraces her exuberance and mission in life and it will reflect her unique style.




At this website you will learn about her unique and at times “breath taking” style. So climb aboard this charitable locomotive and you too will be making a difference in young people’s lives as Kathy most certainly did.

The Kathy Wilson Style is a blend of generous and genuine compliments combined with a direct, and when needed, confrontational approach to protect children or champion their special needs.

We know the Foundation’s Mission—Because Kathy taught us the Mission.

Every day of her life Kathy talked openly to her family, colleagues and friends about her mission in life. She spoke with passion about how adults, and particularly parents, should interact with their children.



So suffice it to say, there is no mistaking the mission Kathy would want her Foundation to pursue.

Will we “get it right?” We will try. It can’t be exactly what Kathy would have done because she was delightfully unpredictable and creative, but we will be pretty darn close.

So let’s get started.

YEAR 1

1. Assisting Special Needs Children

The first and primary mission of the Foundation is to fund a scholarship for special needs children to Abracadabra. This one-child-at-a-time approach is central to the Foundation. We can accomplish that … but Kathy Wilson’s friends (old and new) are capable of much more.


YEAR 2 AND BEYOND

2. Supporting Worthy Proposals

The Kathy Wilson Foundation Board of Directors will accept requests, inquiries, proposals, suggestions for projects, descriptions of injustices and other ideas to further worthwhile projects in the following areas where Kathy had focused her attention. The focus areas for the future include:

  • Special Needs Children: The Foundation hopes to go beyond the yearly scholarship for an Abracadabra special needs child. Kathy strongly believed – and we can’t emphasize enough how strongly she believed this – that all schools, public and private, had a solemn obligation to accept and work with children with special needs. She had required training of her teachers to work with special needs children and she was well on her way to imposing the same attitude on other community schools. (In fact, the last story she told before she died was on exactly this subject.) As she said, “You can’t take just the easy ones.” The Foundation welcomes programs, projects, courageous fights and ideas that help special needs children.
  • Autism--or as Kathy called it, “The Big A”: At the time of her death, Kathy had become President of Children Together, an organization dedicated to training child care providers and teachers on emerging issues in early childhood, particularly those that deal with special needs. Her year as President was going to focus on Autism. Kathy frequently said, “labeling a child as autistic is the single worst label a person can be given in life.” So she refused to ever use the word in association with a child’s name – so damaging is the label. She would just say “The Big A” if she suspected autism. But she was optimistic in a guarded way. New research looked hopeful. So where Kathy left off, the Foundation may continue.
  • Teacher Training: Kathy challenged teachers to be better teachers through extensive and continual training. She emphasized the High/Scope training program. She promoted teacher training of special needs children. The Foundation will foster that same spirit of never-stop-learning.
  • Parent Training: Kathy required parents to be involved and committed to their children and she helped them through seminars and training become better parents. When her husband Paul once said he would “baby sit” Casey while Kathy went out with friends she corrected him, “You’re not babysitting! As the father, you’re parenting.” Therefore, the Foundation will entertain ideas and proposals on how it can help train better parents. Central to this future mission, is the involvement of Child Psychologist Dr. Charmaine L. Ciardi, the long-time on-call parental advisor and parent seminar leader Kathy used, and overused, at Abracadabra.
  • Safety and Health: Kathy was a stickler for safety and protection of children. Unbeknownst to almost everyone, she would go beyond the pail to ensure the safety of her preschoolers. For example, Kathy had driven around her pre school with a police officer and a “mug book” and using her photographic memory she had memorized the addresses and faces of every convicted sex offender living within a two-mile radius of the school.
When it came to health, she routinely excoriated parents who dared question her infectious disease quarantine policies – when they had a sick child but wanted to work and “dump” the kid at the school.
[SEE: Letter to Parent (Toward end of Kathy Wilson Style)]
  • Promotion of Universal Preschool: Kathy was very active in the movement for Universal preschool and was heartened by the October 2004 longitudinal study showing the benefit of quality preschool on lifelong success and earning power. (SEE: High/Scope) Future work by the Foundation may be in this important emerging area. Your ideas are welcomed.

Summary

Kathy Wilson was a visionary who turned her visions into goals and goals into concrete realities one step at a time.

We have a Bulletin Board on this site. It’s a place to remember Kathy, but it’s also where the Board of Directors welcomes your ideas on how the Foundation can better serve the needs of children in the “areas of concern” that have been outlined. Please post your ideas there or for greater privacy, mail/email them to the Foundation. (SEE: Contact Us)



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