An NEF Story
Kid Booster Anonymous Fund
Each time NEF provides an opportunity or a service to the youth of Naperville through the Kid Booster Anonymous Fund, a message of hope and a sense of caring accompanies the experience. An underlying message of “you are worth investing in” is embedded.
Since its inception, hundreds of students have benefitted as a recipient of a Naperville Education Foundation (NEF) Kids Booster Anonymous Fund grant. Requested by District 203 staff on behalf of at risk students, assistance is provided to enhance educational, physical, or socio-emotional growth.
Tara Bradbury, Social Worker at Elmwood Elementary School, has applied for numerous grants on behalf of her students. Many of those grants have been for counseling services, while others have been for park district classes, summer camps, and bilingual tutors. “To be able to tell a parent that a service can be made available, when it otherwise couldn’t be afforded offers families hope”, said Bradbury.
Bradbury shared a story of a 3rd grade student with significant cognitive delay, who was struggling with behavior that sometimes made it difficult for her to participate in the classroom.
Her family was extremely limited financially, so there was not anything extra in the family budget to allow her to participate in alternative therapies or extracurricular activities.
The attentive team working with her noted that she had an interest in animals which triggered unique idea. The team was awarded a grant from the Kid Booster Anonymous Fund to cover Equine Therapy (horse therapy) over the summer — an experience this student continues to talk about long after.
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Courtney Brown, Social Worker at Madison Junior High, echoes similar sentiments as Bradbury. She says, “These grants have provided families with the opportunity to receive outside counseling support with a positive outcome. We are able to support families emotionally through trying times.”
An example Brown offered described a student who was unable to access necessary medication, resulting in a decreased ability to focus and retain information. Through the assistance of a Kid Booster Anonymous Fund grant, he was able to receive the necessary evaluations, as well as follow-up appointments that led to more success at school.
Traci Fertel, Social Worker at Naperville Central High School, also writes Kids Booster Anonymous Fund grants for counseling services. She states that the aim is to “empower students with coping tools to manage their lives.” She also works with families to find a good fit for the student.
Fertel shared a story of how the Kid Booster Anonymous Fund was used to empower a student. Having difficulty maneuvering through the hallways, a student was provided with a Segway through NEF funds. This opportunity was truly life changing, giving this student the freedom to navigate the building on her own.
Another life changing use of the Kid Booster Anonymous Fund, occurs each fall and spring as five to seven students participate in Operation Snowball on scholarship. Designed as a leadership program that allows youth to enhance their self-esteem, develop responsible decision making skills, and create positive peer influences, Operation Snowball offers a community of positive connections. “What’s wonderful is that it started as a substance abuse prevention program and has expanded to provide students with skills to make healthy choices and cope with life”, stated Fertel.
Fertel shared a story of a teen who participated on scholarship. The weekend gave him such a sense of hope and empowerment that his life could be different that prior to the end of the retreat, he committed to help others. He joined the staff of Operation Snowball as a youth leader and become a role model for other teens.
Stories of hope, empowerment, increased self-esteem and having individuals care resonated through the stories from elementary to junior high to high school. The Kid Booster Anonymous Funds raised by the community are in turn invested directly in the youth of the Naperville community. Each grant carries a message of caring from the community, while offering hope to our youth and their families.
Click here if you would like to make a contribution to the Kid Booster Anonymous Fund
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