December 2017

Standing Out From the Crowd

More than a third of charitable giving in America takes place in the month of December.  Nonprofits know this.  So, from November's #GivingTuesday through to December 31, we, in the nonprofit world, do our best to convince charitable folks, like you, to consider us as a deserving recipient of your year-end giving.

For Special Kids Crusade, standing out from the crowd of worthy nonprofit organizations is something of a challenge. We don't have huge name recognition outside of our community.  And, we don't have the marketing dollars that come from being part of a national network of charities. We've considered quietly inserting some cute puppy pictures into our year-end appeal but that could be construed as being manipulative and it would clearly be misleading.  (I'm trying it, anyway.)

Special Kids Crusade should stand out from the crowd because we support children and families. But the reality is that the majority of the children we directly support do not present themselves as cute and cuddly such that photographs of them might tug at heartstrings and magically open wallets.  Some of our kids exhibit severe behavioral challenges that prevent them from sitting with their family in a restaurant or taking in a movie.  Some may not be toilet trained until their teens. Still others are socially challenged to the extent that they spend their early years in schools and community settings, being misunderstood by their peers and by the adults who work with them. 

These children are our children and like every young person, they are our future.  Every child should feel welcomed and included in our community but the fact is, most need guidance in learning how to be included.  And, those around them need support for learning how to best welcome them.

That's where Special Kids comes in.  Whether it is through our work with children in our afterschool Including Special Kids program or through our REACH Basketball, Bowling or Theatre Arts recreational opportunities, we are supporting inclusion.  We are giving our community the opportunity to acknowledge our individual differences, understand a wide range of abilities and welcome the diversity that makes our world such a fascinating and welcoming place to live.

Standing out from the crowd is rarely our goal.  After all, if we are doing our job, the kids we serve are being given opportunities to blend right in.  And, that makes every child we touch, indeed, very special. 

YOU can stand out from the crowd this charitable season by helping Special Kids Crusade in its mission of inclusion by donating directly on Facebook, by clicking on the DONATE button, or you can  CLICK HERE to donate through PayPal.   
SKC's Magical Toyland
 
Special Kids Crusade is honored to be a recipient of a generous toy grant for  STAR Toy Library from Salinas Circle for Children

Included in the items provided through the grant are two of our most requested "toys": An IKEA Swivel Chair, complete with a privacy panel to serve as a safe retreat that helps children develop self-calming skills and a folding trampoline because, well, who doesn't like to jump?!  We also received two  7-pound weighted blankets, used to help children with self-regulation in stressful and anxious environments, a set of  Squigz Building Toys to help children work on fine motor skills, colors, coordination, spatial reasoning and grip strength, and a talking Counting Cookie Jar (a staff favorite!).

STAR Toy Library is an adaptive toy lending library open to the public and to families with children of ALL abilities!  Located at 1900 Garden Road, the library is open Monday through Friday, 9 am to 4 pm.  Family memberships are FREE.  For more information, call (831) 372-2730.
Mark your calendars!
CLICK on the links, below, for event details.
You can support SKC at
Peninsula Gem & Jewelry Supply,  located at 2245 N. Fremont St. in Monterey, on Sat. December 16 by making a purchase between 10 am and 4 pm that day.  Special Kids Crusade will receive 10% of all gem and jewelry sales.  

Deaf & Hard of Hearing Service Center Service Update
Wayne Johnson,  Coordinator of Client Services, Deaf & Hard of Hearing Service Center, Inc.

From reading the Special Kids Crusade Newsletters, you may be familiar with the Reaching Out and Communicating with our Kids (ROCK) program.  Through ROCK, Krystal Rios, Deaf & Hard of Hearing Service Center's (DHHSC) Salinas Client Services Specialist, does home visits once a week at no cost to teach American Sign Language (ASL) to hearing families with Deaf and Hard of Hearing children.  Ninety to ninety-five percent of Deaf and Hard of Hearing children are born to hearing parents, and ROCK improves communication within families by teaching them to communicate in ASL, a visually accessible language.  After only a few months, we see improvements in family communication and the Deaf and Hard of Hearing children's educational learning, socialization, and behavior (misbehaviors and acting out often occur when hearing parents cannot understand their Deaf and Hard of Hearing children).  ROCK removes communication barriers and provides the child with language acquisition through ASL.  ROCK is available to families with Deaf and Hard of Hearing children ages 0 to 22.  The earlier the family accesses the services, the more successful they will be to encourage and enable their children to attain their full potential.

Krystal, through our Family Services Program, also provides Youth Employment Services (YES!) to local Deaf and Hard of Hearing high school students. YES! encourages Deaf and Hard of Hearing youth to pursue educational and career goals.  Krystal serves as a Deaf Mentor to these students, many of whom have never before met a successful Deaf adult.  This does a lot to generate desire for higher learning and career goals by seeing that they, too, can achieve their dreams through education, employment preparation, goal setting, and utilizing available resources.

We also do advocacy at the request of families at IEP meetings.  This advocacy improves Deaf and Hard of Hearing children's access to communication and learning in the classroom, along with educating both the teacher and parent about the unique educational needs of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.  We stress the importance of utilizing a visual language and use of visual aids to make information easily accessible to the children.  Imagine trying to get an equal education without having equal communication access.

Your donation to Dollars for the Deaf, a #GivingTuesday fundraiser hosted by Deaf and Hard of Hearing Service Center, will support the Family Services Program provided at all four offices, including the Headquarter located in Fresno and three outreach offices in Salinas, Merced, and Visalia.  Please visit  www.dhhsc.org/givingtuesday/.  DHHSC is a 501 (c) 3 community benefit organization that serves Deaf, Hard of Hearing, Deaf Blind, and Late Deafened individuals and their families, friends, and community service providers, in addition to schools with Deaf and Hard of Hearing programs, government entities, and private service providers.  The Salinas office serves Monterey and San Benito Counties.