I learned a lot during the first few weeks at Racker—that afternoons are better with a parade, that a well-stocked drawer of stickers will buy dozens of fist bumps and high-fives, and most importantly, I learned that a world where all people know they belong isn’t just a catchy tagline, but an attainable reality.
And I learned all of these things from children—the children receiving critical early support from Racker’s integrated preschool program–children just like Esmae.
Every morning, from my office window, I watched inclusion in its purest form, as Esmae exited her school bus, with the help of her walker, and greeted an eagerly awaiting classmate with her trademark smile.
Esmae’s infectious personality helped her to make friends with her classmates easily, but her other successes have come from hard work. Through her perseverance and positivity, and the efforts of Racker’s dedicated team of speech, occupational and physical therapists, Esmae has made incredible strides. In her time at Racker, she has gone from navigating the classroom by crawling, to walking with a walker or holding the hand of an adult; from being uncomfortable with new surroundings and experiences, to being excited to learn and explore; and from being unable to feed herself or communicate, to eating on her own and using picture cards to express her feelings and needs—developmental milestones that will help Esmae continue to grow and succeed during each stage of her life.
While I learned much from Esmae and her classmates during my first year with Racker, I also learned that this program, which does so much for so many families in our community, operates at a major loss each and every year. That’s why your support is so important—because kids like Esmae deserve every opportunity to grow and thrive.
Bob Brazill – Director of Community Relations and Development