Hannibal Rotary Club donates $15,000 to special needs classroom

Kristen Shores receives a $15,000 donation from the Hannibal Rotary Club, presented by President James Lemon.
Posted: May. 11, 2016 5:02 pm
The Hannibal Middle School intensive behavioral intervention classroom will soon receive a new set of learning tools thanks to a significant donation from the Rotary Club of Hannibal.
Rotarians selected the classroom, which focuses on students on the Autism spectrum and those with other social or behavioral needs, to receive the inaugural donation from the major project committee.
The $15,000 check came as a surprise to HMS speech language pathologist Kristen Shores, who gave a presentation to the Rotary Club on May 3.
“I wrote up a proposal for our classroom,” she said, “and gave a presentation to the Rotary Club. I kind of had this feeling towards the end of the presentation, but I didn’t know I would get the full amount.”
Monies will go to several improvements in the classroom, including special chairs that rock back and forth, dividers to help focus the attention of the students and a swing mounted to the ceiling.
Not seen in most classrooms, Shores said the swing helps calm students and acts as a reward for others. Shores said the improvements can be broken down into two categories: sensory and technological.
One of the things Shores is most looking forward to is a Smartboard Collaborative Table, which is an electronic-based learning center that helps students with special needs work together.
Shores said some of the items are in the process of being ordered. The classroom will receive all the upgrades before the new school year starts in August.
Community organizations regularly award smaller grants, but according to Rotary Fundraising Chair Amy Ohnemus, the Rotary was “looking to make a splash.”
“We started a major project committee last year knowing we were doing more fundraisers in the community,” Ohnemus said. “We thought about things that would have a big impact on the community.”
As a results, the major project committee was born to deliver a considerable donation to a need in the Hannibal community.
Rotary President James Lemon presented Shores with the check following her presentation.
“I was in shock, because I was a nervous wreck about the presentation,” Shores remembered. “But it was amazing.”
The money for the donation came from two of the three major Rotary fundraisers in the past year.
Funds raised at Fiesta del Sol, an adults-only event held in June in Central Park, and the Harvest Hootenanny, held in September, will soon be back in the Hannibal classroom.
Of the $20,000 raised by Rotarians last year, 10 percent goes to the organization’s international fund, $2,000 goes towards scholarships, and the bulk of the remaining money will go to Shores’ class.
Ohnemus said the Rotary Club hopes to impact a lot of people through donations made from the major project committee.
“We hope to be able to continue that in the future,” she said.
Reach editor Eric Dundon at eric.dundon@courierpost.com .

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