Rochester Greek Festival Philanthropy Program
The Greek Festival Festival Philanthropy Program recipient for 2013 is the Stepping Stones
Stepping Stones Learning Center is a fully inclusive program serving children and youth with and without special needs from birth to age 21 in unique settings where they learn and grow together and from each other. Stepping Stones Learning Center's dedication to full inclusion of those with special needs started nearly 20 years ago with two teachers serving nine children in one classroom. Today, its dedicated staff of 140 teachers and therapists service more than 500 children and youth from throughout the Rochester area. These programs are offered to both the typically developing children and those with special needs and include Universal Pre Kindergarten/ early childhood education, special education, speech, occupational, physical and music therapies as well as social work, psychological, behavioral, respite and Autism services. The benefits of an appropriate early childhood experience to young children is well known and carries through into adulthood, the goal of Stepping Stones Learning Center is to ensure that as many children as possible reap these benefits.
One of the many unique programs offered are those directly targeting 3-5 year old typically developing children from within the city of Rochester. Understanding that many of these children would benefit from the highly enriched inclusive early childhood and Universal Pre-Kindergarten programs offered by Stepping Stones Learning Center, two initiatives were established that permit 3-5 year old city children to participate free of charge in the inclusive programs offered by Stepping Stones Learning Center. This helps to create a learning environment that is wonderfully diverse while providing all the benefits of an appropriate inclusive early education program, benefits that these children will carry with them into their families, communities and throughout their lives; quite a gift. However, these programs provide this free assistance only during the ten month school year, leaving many of these city children and their families unable to attend Stepping Stones Learning Center's summer camp due to the cost of tuition. This summer program takes place at both Stepping Stones Learning Center's suburban Irondequoit campus as well as their Springdale Farm Satellite campus and offer all children a safe, fun and highly rewarding summer experience, and is a wonderful reinforcing extension of the school year.
Funds from the Rochester Greek Festival will be used to establish a Scholarship Program for 3-5 year old children from within the City of Rochester so that they may be able to attend summer camp at both Stepping Stones Learning Center's Irondequoit and Springdale Farm sites; a wonderful gift of learning.