In 2014, while seeking a pre-school for her daughter to attend, Joana Bisaglia stumbled across St. David’s Center. “When I went to visit them for the first time,” Joana shares, “I immediately realized how special this place was. They were not only a preschool, but also a children’s mental health and pediatric therapy clinic – all under the same roof.” With a mission of building relationships that nurture the development of every child and family, St. David’s Center relies on the support of more than 600 volunteers and extensive fundraising efforts. In 2018 alone, 4,000 children and families received autism treatments, pediatric therapies, children’s mental health services, foster care, home visits for children from birth through age five, evaluations/assessments, and/or participation in a robust inclusive preschool program thanks to St. David’s Center’s mission-based work.
Photos care of St. David's Center
Jim Thrubis assists with fundraising, planning events, and coordinating volunteers. He says, “I became involved with St. David’s Center because I, too, was a child diagnosed with a learning disability. St. David’s Center’s dedication to inclusive early childhood education, early intervention, and providing life phase support services is critical in serving our community’s most vulnerable individuals.” The phrase “inclusive early childhood education” gets tossed around pretty freely these days, but St. David’s Center has consistently and authentically met this gold standard since its inception. Joana recognized this right away when she first encountered St. David’s Center five years ago, and she has become more and more involved in the community each year since. “I could see the profound impact St. David’s Center has in so many families,” she notes. “It is amazing that there is a place where children can be treated the same. I have seen kids with cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, autism, hearing aids, and genetic disorders all being exposed to the same activities and playing with my kids -- this makes all of them feel included and respected. To be able to teach my children everyone is special in their own way is something priceless.”
Photos care of St. David's Center
St. David’s Center has more than 50 years’ experience building relationships and offering all-inclusive services that nurture the entire community, all inside the context of acknowledging that all development unfolds along individual pathways. That’s one reason Jim is so passionate about the work he does for St. David’s Center. In addition to assisting with fundraising efforts through corporate philanthropy and volunteer engagement, Jim loves “hosting public events that allow families to gain awareness around our mission and to learn how St. David’s Center can best serve their families.” He and his colleagues adapt and allow partnerships to evolve to meet the changing needs of families. Treating everyone “the same” doesn’t mean offering everyone the same services and support systems. That is a nuance of child and family development that St. David’s Center understands and practices, and it is one of the aspects of St. David’s Center’s mission that firmly plants it in a leadership position in early childhood development. At once creating inclusive environments, embracing individual differences, and promoting the optimal development of all children and families is a pretty extraordinary gift to offer the community. To bolster St. David’s Center’s ability to continue to provide this gift to children and families, use the never-expiring checkout code GIVE274 and donate 10% of your purchase price to St. David’s Center every time you shop at PLAE.co. You can also find them on Facebook and Instagram.