GENESEO — The Arc of Livingston and Wyoming County announced Friday that the organization has reached its $800,000 goal in its “Open Doors” fundraising capital campaign.
Supporters of the campaign gathered at the Big Tree Inn for a reception to celebrate meeting the monumental goal of $800,000 in the past four years.
Since 2011, the Arc has been raising money to fund the Lehman School, a new facility for their KidStart Program. This program provides schooling to children with special needs. The new facility, located in Groveland, includes 12 classrooms, 16 therapy offices, an evaluation center, a multipurpose room for training and large motor activities, and a playground. Supporters have sustained the KidStart program for over 30 years.
Lyle Lehman, the man after whom the school is named, stated “I don’t’ think I even envisioned having the KidStart building here today!”
The program now serves 350 students weekly, and provides the support the children need.
“It’s been great. I always say it’s not a building that makes a program,” said Chris Lynch KidStart’s director, “it’s the people.” He continued, “You really need to have a purpose… I feel working at KidStart gives me a purpose”
Mr. Harold Steward was a major donor for this project. He sold the land to the organization at a discounted rate, and donated more of the surrounding land to the campaign in addition to his monetary contributions. He stated, modestly, “My land happened to be in the center of the county, “ and explained how within two hours of meeting with the staff they had made an arrangement to pass the land on to the program.
Steward feels his contribution was nothing to be impressed with, and said, “when I see the kids playing, I just get the biggest kick out of it!”
One such child is Rivers. Rivers has attended the school since he was 3 months old, and now is in the “Waddlers Room.” Jaime, his mother, commented on the staff at KidStart: “They’re wonderful. They take great care of him, teach him lots of wonderful things, and treat him as if he were their own child!” (pictured is Rivers and his father Jeff)
The KidStart program has reached new opportunities because of this campaign, and they hope to build a gymnasium in the future!