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Annual Campaign

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Meet Eliana

The bigger the bumps, the faster the ride, the more Eliana laughs!  Whether she is riding in her bike trailer with Dad, sledding down a hill after the first snowfall, or catching a ride on a bumpy hayride, Eliana is always up for adventure.  Family hiking trips and outings to Alstede Farm to pet the animals and an evening dance party with her family make for a great day! Her silly sense of humor makes everyone smile as she enjoys physical comedy.  If a teacher accidentally drops something or fakes a fall, Eliana lights up with laughter.  She loves “oops” moments.  Honking the horn in the car at passersby is another favorite past time.

Eliana is also a girly girl and enjoys unicorns, mermaids, and getting her hair done.  She is a big sister to Ruby, who she likes to boss around at times.  It is not unlike Eliana to supervise four year old Ruby when she’s taking a bath or to communicate that it is her turn to watch her TV show.  Eliana is very social, enjoys being the center of attention and does not want to miss anything.  Eliana still struggles when her teacher assistant brings her to the bathroom during the day for fear she will miss something.  At 9 years old, Eliana is extremely funny, smart, engaged, and loves to learn, but the path has not been easy for Eliana.

Parents Melissa and Chris knew when Eliana was born that she was a fighter. She had many medical challenges and significant motor disabilities but after having a shunt placed to alleviate the pressure and fluid in her brain at 5 ½ months, her fun-loving personality began to emerge.

Following recommendations from her therapists and a personal visit to P.G. Chambers School, Chris and Melissa decided to enroll Eliana. At that time, Eliana was 3 years old, non-verbal and cried a lot.  Feeding was challenging and her movement was limited.  Melissa shared, “As parents we had spent the last 3 years seeing doctors, having multiple therapists in our home throughout the day and feeling very isolated. Were we doing the right thing?  When we first came to P.G. Chambers School, we were concerned about leaving our child with strangers, but we quickly learned that they would become our partners on this journey.  If felt great to be supported and understood.”

The team at P.G. Chambers School did not waste any time finding out what Eliana needed to thrive.  Giving Eliana a voice and freedom to move would open the door for limitless possibilities.  “There were many hurdles along the way, but as parents we knew we had an advocate who would inspire her abilities and help us obtain the tools she would need to find her potential.  It would take a lot of creativity and trial and error, but together we climbed that mountain,” shared Chris.

Eliana was fitted for a power wheelchair in preschool.  The therapists helped Eliana learn how to activate a switch near her head to use her power wheelchair.  Her wheelchair is now equipped with a head switch which allows her to move and turn her chair by leaning her head against the switches.  Freedom of movement gives Eliana the power to choose where she wants to go, allows her to socialize more, and gives her a sense of independence.

Eliana’s therapists would trial many communication devices in search of the best option for her. She started with an augmentative communication device, but over time it became evident that manipulating the device was too difficult for Eliana, causing even greater frustration.  Together Chris, Melissa, and the PGCS therapists advocated for an Eye Gaze system which she received in June of 2020 during the pandemic.

The results have been exciting.  Eliana has seen growth in her responses, engagement, and overall literacy.  She is learning how to spell words while learning shortcuts like using the letter “y” to ask the question ‘why?’  For Eliana, having the vocabulary to share all she is thinking will open up a whole new world of opportunities for her.  And of course, her sense of humor continues to shine through as she refers to her sister Ruby as the “red headed secretary” on her new communication device.  Melissa also shared that Eliana has also learned how to share, take turns and be kind to others.  She is learning how to read, loves math, and enjoys social studies.  Chris added, “We tell our friends, P.G. Chambers School is like the Harvard of special needs schools!”

As a family, Melissa and Chris do not take anything for granted.  “We now know what it means to be truly brave.  Eliana has opened our eyes about embracing the possibilities and not to be so quick to judge other people,” shared Melissa.  Melissa and Chris recall a recurring dream of Eliana’s where she would take off in a jetpack to explore the world.  Eliana was thrilled when Mom and Dad made her a Halloween costume with a jetpack.  It is no wonder that Eliana’s dreams are full of adventure!

Elaina has so much to say and a lifetime of adventures to pursue. Thanks to your continued support, her dreams will come true!

 

A Special Message from Chris and Melissa

“As parents, we are all driven and inspired by our children. While we  have days that are filled with uncertainty about what tomorrow may bring, it is comforting to know that we are not alone.  At P.G. Chambers School, we have found an advocate and partner who inspires our daughter Eliana’s abilities and has helped us to obtain the tools she will need to continue to soar. We tell our friends. P.G. Chambers School is the like Harvard of special needs schools.”

Thank you for believing in the potential of all our children and for you ongoing support.

Inspired Learners...Thanks to You!

 

Funding Opportunities

Your gift of:

$5,000 funds an adaptive transport stroller.

$3,000 funds Eye Gaze software which allows a student to control their communication device using their eyes.

$1,000 funds a child’s gait trainer/walker.

$250 funds a child’s participation in two early intervention therapy sessions.

$100 funds a child’s assistive communication switch.

Your gift of any amount, helps students like Eliana reach their unique potential.

“Every child is a blessing and deserves the same opportunities to discover their potential in an environment that makes them feel special.  Your support makes that possible.” 

Donor Testimonials 

“I have been supporting P.G. Chambers School for over 20 years because it is a truly special place.  Children with special needs are given a chance to embrace their potential and families are supported with open arms.  I hope you will join me this holiday season in helping P.G. Chambers School continue their life changing work.” – Susan Kloss, Community Friend

“I have had the privilege of working with children and families for almost 50 years and it is a pleasure to be a part of improving the lives of children and families with special needs. As the school’s receptionist for the past 10 years, I am the lucky one because I get to see our children thrive every day! Parents are happy, kids are happy and that is why I support this special place ” -Nancy Sniffen, P.G. Chambers School Employee

“Giving is not just about making a donation, its about making a difference.  At P.G. Chambers School, the teachers and staff are dedicated to making a difference in the lives of our students every minute of the school day, and seeing the smile of comprehension dawn on a child’s face when they learn something new. . . it’s pretty damn amazing. As a parent of three, I know how much of a difference having a great teacher makes!”  -Ronita Mathias, P.G. Chambers School Trustee

“I support PG Chambers School because everyone involved in guiding these children with special needs inspires me on a daily basis. They are patient, kind and awesome, in the truest sense of the word. Dedication to teaching in this regard should be celebrated and recognized!” – TJ Hull, P.G. Chambers School Volunteer and Committee Friend

Make A Gift Today To Support Eliana And Her Friends

Corporate matching gifts can increase the impact of your gift.  Check with your employer to see if they offer this valuable benefit.

The Cares Act, extended through 2021 includes provisions to encourage donations to schools like ours.  A $300 tax deduction is available even if you don’t itemize.  New in 2021, for those who are married filing jointly and do not itemize, you will be able to take an above the line deduction of up to $600 in cash contributions.  If you do itemize, the existing gap on annual contributions is 100% of adjusted gross income.  Please consider donating today by check, credit card, stock or your donor advised fund.

To make a recurring gift use the box below.  Donation amount listed will be charged monthly.  You can stop payments by emailing desantisk@chambersschool.org

 

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Donation Total: $5,000.00 One Time

On request, PGCS Form 990, and related information is available for public inspection at PGCS in Cedar Knolls, NJ. Copies of this information will be provided at cost within five days of the request by calling 973-829-8484.

P.G. Chambers School is a private, nonprofit, tax-exempt organization under Section 501(c) (3) of the Internal Revenue code. Tax ID# 22-1551480. Information concerning charitable solicitations may be obtained from the Attorney General of the State of New Jersey by calling 609-292-4925. Registration with the Attorney General does not imply endorsement.


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