OUR STORY, OUR PASSION
For the past 16 years, our family has traveled a road that has led to the creation of The S.E.A.L. (Specialized Education for All Learners) Foundation. Our mission is to provide funding for specialized education in non-public schools so that all children, even those who learn in different ways, can be afforded the opportunity to attend a private institution.
Our goal is to deliver assistance to a broad community of non-public schools and programs that share and support our mission of serving learners of all types. We are taught to help those in need and our mission reflects this commitment to others.
Our Origin: My husband and I were blessed with three sons and our two older boys have had the opportunity to receive a private school education. Both have thrived in this environment since they had the benefit of smaller class sizes, individualized instruction, an atmosphere that teaches the need for service and civic engagement, a college-preparatory curriculum, as well as the presence of passionateteachers and staff. The education, atmosphere, socialization, culture and family involvement have enriched their lives and ours as well.
The path for our youngest son has been different since he was diagnosed at a very early age with a language-based learning disability. It seemed his journey would be unlike his brothers since private schools typically do not have the funding and resources needed to accommodate differences in learning styles. Throughout our youngest son’s life, we were fortunate to be able to provide and implement programs and engage special education teachers to act as advocates/liaisons in multiple school systems. Unfortunately, the schools that we found to address our son’s IEP (Individual Education Plan) needs were a great distance away from the schools his brothers and friends attended.
It is our belief that all families want to have choices where their children are educated, and for children with learning differences, the option to attend a non-public institution has often been elusive. We also know that many families do not have the resources or supports needed to navigate the complicated special education process, particularly in a private school setting. Finally, we know from our own experience and that of other families that there exists a deep desire to have all our children educated in the same school building/system since it creates a sense of community and partnership between the family and members of the teaching and administration teams at the school. Unfortunately for families of children with and without learning differences growing up in the same household, the dream of being educated in the same school is often unrealized and consequently presents a hardship on the family and the children.
The S.E.A.L. Foundation was created in response to those beliefs.
Where We Are Today: Our goal of providing funding for specialized education in non-public schools is being realized. Here is what we have achieved in two short years:
· The hiring of 1 Executive Director for the Foundation to work together with partner schools to shape Learning Differences Programs. Such programs are engaging their students, faculty and the greater community in understanding learning differences so that the school community embraces this educational approach.
· Engagement with 3 partner non-public schools in the Fall River, New Bedford and Dartmouth communities. Funding has been provided to support the hiring of special education teachers and assistant teachers to assess students’ strengths and needs, as well as to provide strategies and instruction that support improved student performance in students who learn differently.
· Funding for 10 students with learning differences from the southeast area of Massachusetts to participate at the E.A.S.T. (Educating, Advocating and Strengthening Together) Summer Camp at the Old Colony YMCA. Their involvement in this program will help them discover their strengths, exercise their creativity, work to overcome academic difficulties and prepare for the academic year ahead, as well as promote an increased belief in self.
Much has been accomplished, but there is so much more to do. Won’t you join us in becoming one of those caring, thoughtful champions who possess the eyes that see the best in our children, as well as the soul that never loses faith. Every gift matters; no matter the size, it will enrich students’ lives. You might also find your life will be enriched as well.