Some internal voice told me to stop in at Delmar Arts Academy on a whim; I knew my grandson Edmund needed a new preschool and I thought I would start here. I was met by Delmar’s Director, Adriana Jones, who gave me the brochures and information needed for enrollment. My goal was to obtain basic tuition and curriculum information. I was immediately impressed with the warmth and charm of this school as well as the programs, such as yoga, sculpting, painting, musical theater and Spanish. As a Grandmother who had already raised two young men and experienced a few preschools in several states, this school was impressive. The reality of the tuition however, would be out of range for our family and I explained this to Adriana. I went on to explain that Edmund, my grandson, was profoundly deaf but had received two cochlear implants and was progressing well and was attending a public preschool that specialized in handicapped children but had outgrown what the school and social structure would offer him.
He needed socialization with non-handicapped children who were speaking so he could continue to progress with language skills and mainstream into regular school, and start him on his path to a normal life. Adriana graciously gave me a tour of the school and explained they had recently decided to expand their non-profit and they were considering sponsoring a child. This coincidence brought tears to both our eyes. She went on to explain they would be premiering a kindergarten class which was also particularly exciting since Edmund would be limited to VPK in the public arena, because of his birth date. Even with his handicap, he had already mastered the basics and was ready for more challenging work. To my amazement, Adriana took my information and said they would contact me regarding the possibility of sponsoring Edmund. Not long after our initial conversation, I was invited to meet the new kindergarten teacher Dee Selby. I was stunned that they were seriously considering this sponsorship of Edmund since it would surely equate to a considerable sacrifice for tuition on their part. Meeting Dee was just the icing on the cake, as I knew immediately she would be just the sort of teacher Edmund would be comfortable with and respond to. A short time later, Alessandro Antonucci, Delmar’s Marketing Director, called to inform me that Edmund was selected for this sponsorship. I have always believed in miracles, but knew that day we were the lucky recipients of one. No words could express our gratitude to this family for the gift they were bestowing on my grandson and our family – not only that of an incredible educational experience, but also the far more precious gift of a normal life for Edmund.
Without this sponsorship, Edmund’s choices would have been severely limited and he would have had to absorb the impact of such a critical year without the valuable challenge of his current reading, writing and speaking setting. Delmar has also made music lessons available to our Edmund. To see him begin to play a piano after such a short time is a moving sight and nothing short of a miracle. Our family can attest to what a difference a scholarship can make in a child’s future and quality of life; and our hope would be that donations will be available for Delmar to continue on its mission of helping and educating children of diverse backgrounds and circumstances.
-Mary Beth Polinski
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