Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Where's Roger Rabbit?

     Meet Roger.  The small, brown-eyed, baby bunny found his way to Darah Zurit's classroom at Laraway School on a recent Monday---just for a visit.  Students read.  Roger perked up his ears to listen.  Students learned math.  Roger twitched his whiskers rhythmically, as if counting..  Students returned from lunch.  Roger wiggled his nose, zeroing in on the aromas wafting in from the cafeteria.
     We are well aware of the benefits of animals in our lives.  People with pets are likely to experience lower stress levels.  Pets are like "forever toddlers"---there are always happy to see us when we arrive home after a long day at school or work.  Researchers have identified positive physiological responses to pet ownership, including enhanced cardiovascular activity.  The Mayo Clinic, in an online article, reported on the many benefits to animal assisted therapy.  These include significant reductions in pain, anxiety, depression and fatigue. For more information:
     Back to Roger, the presence of a warm and welcoming, super-fuzzy bunny in a classroom presented the students with a furry "friend" to gently hold, talk with and care for.  Rabbits do not criticize.  They do not judge.  They sniff our fingertips, wriggle in our arms and teach us to be gentle---like them.


Monday, March 7, 2016

Granting Wishes: Your donations in action

     "Skateboarding is in my heart. Skateboarding helps me act better while at school.  Skateboarding helps me learn tricks, which is like learning math or whatever."
     These are the words of a Laraway youth applying for a Laraway Youth Grant.  After learning the skill at school, he wanted to purchase his own skateboard. Learning to skateboard enhanced his self-confidence and provided opportunities to develop social skills while interacting with peers.
     The Laraway Youth Grant Program is supported by donations to our Annual Appeal.  Youth may apply for a grant once a year to fund an item or experience that helps them grow as a person.  There's a one-page application that youth must complete.  Learning to ask for what we want is an important life skill.  Being willing to put in effort to get what we want is also an important life skill.
     It is through the generosity of donors that our youth have tapped into the grant to fund everything from ski equipment to music lessons to funds towards a camping trip at Disney World.
     In making the case for a grant towards the trip to Disney, the youth said, "It will give me an experience that I have never had before...and to see different parts of the (United) States I have never seen."
     Granting wishes and helping kids to learn and grow..these are the outcomes of your donations in action.  Thank you.