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SUMMARY   Kathy Wilson Foundation Grant Approvals for 2010 & first quarter 2011 (Approved March 28, 2010)

We had a great Board meeting of the Kathy Wilson Foundation and the Advisory Board and I want to thank everyone for attending.

Three grants were awarded for helping Children with special needs for 2010 & the first quarter of 2011.

The advisory board approved Resurrection Pre School for $15,000 with half due in August and the other half Due in December of 2010.

We also approved Abracadabra for $6,000 for two children with issues and IEPs that require help.

The third grant was to MOPS preschool at Trinity Lutheran for $10,000.  This grant carries a recommendation that we contact and work with MOPS to boost enrollment to 10 students by the Fall.   The grant is divided in two parts, with $5,000 due this current semester and $5,000 due for the Fall, providing the Fall afternoon session is on-going.

A discussion was held about a Spring fundraiser and the thought was to do one next year, rather than every year.  

On behalf of the Board I want to thank everyone for attending and appreciate everyone else for staying involved.

Paul Wilson    Casey Wilson   Fletcher Wilson and Carol Keller

President        Vice President   Vice President



SUMMARY Kathy Wilson Foundation Grant Approvals for 2009 (Approved March 5, 2009)

Submit Grant Requests to Paul Wilson via email to powilson@aol.com and powilson@mac.com for 2010 between now and January 2010. Use BOTH emails to get through spam filters.

1. Abracadabra Special Needs Scholarship Request APPROVED $5,730 
This would be the 4th year of the scholarship at Abra and the 2nd year for the current student.

2. Ukraine Project APPROVED $1,000
Approved a $1,000 grant for two special needs therapists this summer so children with special needs do not lose ground. USNOF has been supporting an early intervention center called Pahinets in Rivne, Ukraine since 2004. Pahinets serves 90-100 children from birth to five years of age with special needs. This is the second year for this grant.

3. Kathy Wilson Endowment at Resurrection Pre School APPROVED $15,000
We increased Resurrection Pre School¡¦s grant to fund the Kathy Wilson Endowment. The grant was increased from $10,000 to $15,000 at the suggestion of the Foundation. This preschool has an inclusion program with 40% of the children having a special need. This is the second year request.

4. MOPS inclusion classroom. The Board has tentatively approved a grant to help MOPS re-activate an afternoon inclusion classroom for children with special needs.

5. Network PreSchools ¡V Two-Day Workshop on the ¡§Score¡¨ System APPROVED $3,000
Approved a two-day professional development training workshop provided by staff from the University of Virginia for Network¡¦s entire teaching staff (18 teachers). The Classroom Assessment Scoring System (¡§Score¡¨) is an exciting new development in early childhood testing.

6 WISE Educational Services, LLC - 3 Workshops APPROVED $600
Approved a dynamic, on-going seminar series for families raising young children with special needs.

7. Coalition for Alexandria's Youngest Children¡VMENTORING APPROVED $500
Approved a grant of $500 to provide mentoring to teachers after they have attended workshops to help them implement what they learned.

Items postponed for further study included the following:

8. Parents Communications Project ASKFamilies $7,840 Develop a shared database with similar organizations to have a better communication vehicle to reach parents about workshops, etc. STUDY FOR ONE YEAR. DISCUSSION: Need PEATC or school system to take on this challenge.

9. Vendor Fair No Request at this time
Hold a Vendor Fair like Fairfax and Prince William County ARC. This would help parents determine what services their child might access.

10. Community Forum No Request at this time
Idea to have Stixrud Workshop that also includes vendors.


1. DANCE ¡§It¡¦s Just Rock And Roll To Me¡¨ APPROVED
Dan Yaeger, a good friend, has a rock and roll band that will ONLY play for Charity events.
Possible Dates: May 16, 2009 (A request for a venue has been made. Children will be included.

2. POST CARD -- We wanted to be the ¡§First¡¨ to tell you what we are doing. APPROVED

3. DINNER: An Idea from Rachael Steele CASEY Dinner in the Fall APPROVED. DISSCUSSION: Advisory Board liked Casey¡¦s idea of starting the idea in Kansas City, Missouri, if possible.

Idea: 9 Hole Mother/Son (Mothers Day or Fall Golf Tournament)



Thanks for your help! 1. Funding for Children Together¡¦s Spring Conference with Harvard¡¦s Ross Green on helping ¡§the explosive child.¡¨ 2. Pilot program to screen 4 & 5 year olds at a pre school for fine motor skills. 15 to 20% may need additional help. 3. Providing Abracadabra Pres School with a scholarship for Special Needs Children 4. Funding the Kathy Wilson Fund for inclusion of special needs children at Resurrection.

300 People showed up n Friday, April 4, 2008, to hear Dr. Ross Greene, of Harvard, discuss the ¡§The Explosive Child¡¨.



The Kathy Wilson Foundation

Helping Special Needs Children

2007 Report  

Scholarships * Seminars * Workshops * Grants 



This year we provided a split scholarship to help two families with special needs children. Above is our first recipient Luke (left) with his Abracadabra friend. (Picture used with permission of parents.)

Our plans for next year are to increase our publicity of this scholarship throughout the city and special needs community for the coming school year. Funding:  $3,000.



“How Not to Feel Angry, Anxious or Guilty When Children Are Struggling”


Dr. William Stixrud lectured on how to “make peace with what is” for parents with children who have special needs. This Children Together Workshop had over 100 parents and in attendance with the Kathy Wilson Foundation contributing to the event. What touched us about the event is the difficulty parents have in learning about their child’s disability and coming to grips with what that means for the child’s future. Dr. Stixrud was wonderful in just saying: “enjoy your child for who they are and what they can attain.”



  •  A Workshop presented for Parents and Educators by Children Together, with financial assistance from the Foundation–Dec. 11, 2006. “How Not to Feel Angry, Anxious or Guilty When Children Are Struggling” The Foundation worked with Children Together. Foundation Funding: $500
  • Dr. Stixrud lectured on how to “Make Peace with What Is” for parents with children with disabilities.

We took a few great points away from the lecture. Dr. Stixrud said many children struggle. It is extremely painful and stressful for parents when their children struggle. But when parents also suffer it makes it harder for them to help their children. For example, he said it was the best possible thing for a child to have happy parents whom: enjoy him, even if he is struggling. Love him as he is. Serve as his supporter, rather than his judge or parole officer. And parents who model a courageous, optimistic attitude toward life. Dr. Stixrud’s workshop focused on where possible helping alleviate suffering in children and adults. He stressed doing this by decreasing anger, guilt and anxiety.

He said it’s hard to help a kid be happy with himself if we as parents aren’t happy with him—warts and all.

The first step is working toward acceptance or non-judgment—or just being happy with the child as he or she is. He supported just saying, “it’s all good”—meaning another way of saying unconditional love. (This was a great seminar and we might endeavor to put more of the content on the site in the future.) 


Our largest project of the year, by far, was a series of training sessions in early literacy for teachers from 6 pre-schools in Alexandria. The training was conducted by the excellent High Scope trainer and Foundation Advisory Board Member, Charlottee Umoja. (below right). Below left is Foundation Board Member and Abracadabra Pre School Director Carol Keller.


Training for pre-school teachers which promotes and encourages the development of literacy in children through developmental experiences appropriate to their age and stage of development—including special needs children – is at the vanguard of early intervention initiatives.

This workshop provided training the in High/Scope Growing Readers Early Literacy Curriculum for both teachers and assistant teachers.



Charlottee Umoja believes and research demonstrates that there is a difference in the amount of learning that takes place in an active learning situation. Children are able to make choices, decisions and think critically. The focus is on the positive aspects of the child and the “structure” considers the small group literacy experiences at two developmental levels: early emergent and emergent. There is a strong emphasis that the children’s knowledge of early literacy is a solid predictor of their reading achievement in later years.


The training was designed to give the pre-school teacher the information needed to put “early literacy” into action. It is based upon the idea that the child is the mainspring for his/her development. The activities addressed the four key areas of early literacy learning:  comprehension, phonological  awareness, alphabetic principles and concepts about print.

The Participating Pre-Schools were Abracadabra, Child and Family Network, Creative Play School—North Howard, Happy Home, Head Start and Resurrection. Look at how hard participants were working----and on a Saturday!!!

Can you see  the Certification of Completion in the picture above?   The Kathy Wilson Foundation Recognizes Alicia N. Rivas for completing the Literacy Workshop.

Thanks Charlottee!  Funding for this training program was $6,675.


We helped pay for a shadow!   

What is a shadow and how do you pay for one?



The Foundation was approached by Sissy Walker, Director of the Beverley Hills Pre-School with a problem. They had accepted a student with special needs who required a program to be developed for the child. But there was a catch. It would be a month before the City could access the student and prescribe the right kind of specialists to work with the young student. So the pre-school needed help –essentially a teacher who would “shadow” the child for a month. Their budget did not include funds for this one-on-one help and they came to the Kathy Wilson Foundation for a “bridge grant.”    Funding:      $555. We were glad to help.


A few years ago we posed the question to the Board of Children Together why some pre-schools weren’t sending teachers to the spring all-day conference. The reply was the budgets did not permit the workshop fees or money for a substitute teacher. So, un-prompted the Foundation offered a batch of scholarships combined with money for substitutes to a great workshop entitled “Integrating the Arts” and a child’s natural desire to play into pre-school literacy programs. (Read more below)

Paul Wilson, the Foundation president, greets pre-school teachers. Photos in this section are the Courtesy of Louise Krafft, photographer for the Alexandria Gazette.

Presented by Victoria Brown, Ph.D. and Sarah Pleydell, M.F.A. pictured above. What a fun workshop. The participants took well-known Children’s stories and books and taught pre-school teachers how to make the stories come alive through the dramatic arts.

The theory:  A child’s creative interaction with the environment through play is perhaps the most important factor in the development of a young mind. Recent studies have uncovered convincing evidence that physical interaction and sensory experiences are directly correlated to brain development. Neuroscientists have discovered that base patterns of memory form as children experience their sensory environment in increasingly greater detail. Ninety percent of these base patterns are acquired during the first five years of life, creating a template on which future learning is based.

A recent report of the Task Force on Children’s Learning and the Arts states that a closer look at what constitutes the best kind of learning experience for young children leads quickly to the arts. (Extracted from the handout.)

Under this field of material while waving crepe paper streamers are the teachers of Alexandria giggling and having a great time – and they’re adults!  Image the fun in a pre-school class as the cloth symbolizes waves and the streamers are waved to replicate the wind in the dramatization and creative movement exploration of Maurice Sendak’s “Where the Wild Things Are.”   A great book goes with this method of teaching:  The Dramatic Difference, Drama in the Preschool and Kindergarten Classroom by Victoria Brown and Sarah Pleydell. Funding for this workshop from the Foundation was $750 for the scholarships and substitute teacher reimbursements.

Here’s the official way it is said:

  • Integrate non-representational props (material and streamers) to engage children in decoding and encoding.
  • Integrate multisensory experiences for creating multiple language imprints
  • Integrate sign language to reinforce descriptive language and practice symbol systems.
  • Demonstrate how the arts can build language skills
  • Share related visual art activities.



The Church where Kathy Wilson attended did a mission trip this summer to the Ukraine to help at a school called Pahinets. The Foundation stepped forward and said, is there anything we can do?  There was. And we learned even more than we helped.

The Ukraine has great difficulty helping its special needs population. (See letter below)

The school needed help paying for special needs teachers in August so their 24 special needs students would keep progressing over the summer and not  fall backwards.

Our funding of $1,000 helped pay for three teachers over the summer months.

Below the pictures is a wonderful report on the problem the Ukraine has helping special needs children, written by the mission team leader, Ben Boswell. Funding: $1,000.


Kathy Wilson Foundation:

Members of Baptist Temple Church traveled to Ukraine on June 7th-17th to participate in a mission project specifically focused on children with special needs. We spent most of our time in Rivne, which is a city about a five-hour drive West of Kiev.

The members from Baptist Temple were a part of the “Pahinets” team. We focused on providing love and childcare for children ages infant to 13 years old who had special needs ranging from PKU, Cerebral Palsy, and Down syndrome, so that their parents could attend the educational conference provided by our third team.

Ukraine is in a particularly tenuous position politically as a nation. I say this only to illustrate why the situation for children with special needs is so dire. After the recent "Orange Revolution" many Westerners saw signs of positive movement toward democracy in Ukraine, however, the corruption in the government has not been completely eliminated and there are many in Ukraine that still long for the security that Communism and Russian occupation brought to them economically. Ukraine is split between Eastern pro-Russian Ukrainians and Western leaning pro-European Union Ukrainians.

Without membership in the EU, Ukraine lacks social services that have become a vital part of the governments in most of Western European nations like France, Germany, and Spain. What this means for children with special needs is that their parents cannot afford the therapy, medication, and services needed to provide for them. Therefore many of the children with special needs are sent to state run orphanages simply because their parents can't afford to take care of them. There are a lot of children born in Ukraine with special needs first because Ukraine still lacks education needed in prevention of disabilities pre-diagnosed during pregnancy, second because of the effects of Chernobyl, and third because of the high rate of alcohol abuse. The increasing orphan population looks like it is only going to get worse there before it gets better because Ukraine has the highest rate of people with HIV/AIDS in the world outside of Africa. This is also the result of lack of education. We met two Peace Corps workers in Rivne whose focus is this particular issue.

Our work in Rivne this year took steps toward changing the attitudes of the Ukrainian people toward children with disabilities. There are already strong advocates for human rights, specifically rights for children with disabilities in Ukraine, but they are mostly parents that have little or no say in the government. Interestingly our presence and status as Americans gave us the ear of political officials there and we were able to have some conversations with their politicians about services for parents and for their children with special needs. Many Ukrainians still have a Communist (Idealist) vision of the human person that would relegate people who are different or disabled to the margins of society. Simply by coming to Ukraine and loving their children with special needs we worked to change those ideas. Our presence was a witness to an alternative reality, a society where all children are special a society where there is no discrimination based on disability.

In August USNOF is sending another team to Ukraine. This team will consist entirely of therapists who will go and work with the children there who have never had the opportunity to learn to become more mobile and communicative. They therapists will teach some of the children there how to walk and talk for the first time!  These children would never have the chance to learn these essential life skills without these therapists. The Kathy Wilson Foundation has generously contributed funding to pay for one of these therapists to go this August. For this donation the USNOF will be forever grateful, as will the families of children in Ukraine with special needs.

Ben Boswell-Assistant Pastor, Baptist Temple Church




A series of workshops was held in early December 2007 and were designed for parents/guardians who have children of all ages with disabilities and who need help understanding what the future holds. Parents and guardians were mad aware of the options when services are no longer mandated by IDEA 2004. Parents were exposed to strategies for  physically care for adult children with special needs.



Parents were able to bring their children and have them taken care of during the day. All pictures used with written permission.


Everybody had questions on this day of planning for the future.

IMPORTANT: In keeping with the theme of this workshop, we have learned that it is important for parents with children in high school to know that they must take special notice of when their child turns 18 (called the age of majority in Virginia). Sixty-five days BEFORE they turn 18 parents of students with disabilities must have completed paperwork requesting continuing special needs services in Virginia. Don’t miss that date!


Parents listen intently to Lee Price, Director of MR in the State of Virginia on 12 steps in planning life for a special needs person. The Kathy Wilson Foundation taped this session. Our goal in the coming months is to have the content of this workshop, and perhaps others, available at this web site.

Funding by the Foundation for this was $500 plus $100 for the taping.




Peggy J. Stypula, MSW, LICSW, Alexandria DSS/CATCH welcomed people and introduced workshop speakers.

Carri Coggins Stoltz, M.S., CCC-SLP presented the portion of the workshop on Developmental Red Flags. We took a “test” trying to guess whether a behavior was a developmental red flag. For example, if your 2 year old has a vocabulary of 50 words, is that a red flag?   We learned it was. Two year olds should have a hundred-word vocabulary or more.

We will endeavor to put more of this content on the web site, but because it is sensitive and important we will submit it to Carri for her editing approval.


Dr. Martha Wellman works at the Alexandria City clinic in Arlandria and gave parents and teachers an excellent briefing on what medical red flags to watch for. For example, and pretty obvious, obstruction to breathing is considered a top red flag. (We apologize for the worst quality picture, the room was dark and the camera too far away.) 


What a crowd on a school night!  Over 150 people attended, including parents, pre-school providers and educators. This program was put on by Infant Toddler Association of Virginia, the Interagency Coordinating Council, Alexandria City Public Schools, Alexandria Community Services Board, Alexandria Health Department, Alexandria Dept. of Social Services with wonderful coordinating help from Anne Lipnick. The Kathy Wilson Foundation contributed $500 to the workshop


ON FRIDAY, APRIL 4, 2008 HELP bring Dr. Ross Greene to Alexandria--presenting on “The Explosive Child”.

NEW GRANT PROPOSAL RECEIVED to establish the Kathy Wilson Endowment to help special needs children.


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