Friday, March 30, 2012

Latham Students Enjoy Learning With New Volunteer

Latham students love working with our new volunteer, Laird Boles!  We are very fortunate to have such a kind and friendly person working with our students. The students in Long Pond classroom have really enjoyed his 1:1 attention during Reading, Math, and Performing Arts classes. Laird clearly brings something very special to these students, and we are having a hard time keeping up with all of the requests to work with him!

Here’s what the students have to say:

MN:  “I liked that you were in Performing Arts with us.”

BB:  “I liked Laird helping me to write my paragraph about my pets.”

AE:  “I like that he read some pages and I read some pages in the Clifford book.”

BY:  “I liked when Laird helped me do research for my power point for Foreign Cultures. “

ET:  “ It was fun eating with him.”

RP:  “I hope I get a chance to work with Laird!”

Contributed by:
Pam Nolan
Director of Education

"Help one another; there's no time like the present and no present like the time." 
~James Durst

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Adult Residents Attend Special Olympics Winter Games in Worcester

Several of our Adult residents attended the Special Olympics Winter Games in Worcester this past weekend. They had a wonderful time. There were over 1000 bowlers so our team was divided between morning and afternoon. They waited patiently for their turn to bowl. They were able to spend the night in a hotel in Marlboro where several went swimming in the pool and one chose to go to the dance.

Matt M placed 2nd in his division. Schuyler D and Matt L both placed fifth in their divisions. They asked if they could go again next year so you know they enjoyed themselves and the team enjoyed having them!

Submitted by:
Cindy Loring
Operations Manager Adult Services

"You'll always miss 100% of the shots you don't take." 
~Wayne Gretzky

Friday, March 23, 2012

Looking for the Right Program

We listen.  It sounds so darn simple. Yet it is still one of the best ways we have to help parents or guardians find the right fit for their child. I don’t pretend to know what it feels like to seek help for a child with PWS or other life challenging issues. I haven’t been in your shoes, making your hard decisions. However I do know what Latham can offer families and the students or adults they love: a safe place. A place where we look at the strengths and talents they bring along, not just the challenges they face on a daily basis. A place that works to understand the needs of the whole person, not just their diagnosis. A place where friendships can be made and cherished, where being different isn’t all that different.  Time spent listening will often open up new ideas or help a family make a tough choice. If we aren’t the right fit for your child we will honestly tell you that and if we have an idea who is we will tell you that, too.  You have an important decision as a parent to make;  Latham understands that. 

Submitted by:
Chris Gallant
Director of Training & Marketing

"The most precious gift we can offer anyone is our attention." 
~Thich Nhat Hanh

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

1st Annual Latham School Science Fair

Last week, students at Latham participated in the school’s first of many school-wide science fairs. With outstanding contributions from almost all of the students, visitors were treated to a wide variety of experiments and in depth explorations of different scientific phenomena. Displays included hands-on experiments such as erupting volcanoes (the Marconi Class), testing Newton’s Third Law by use of a water rocket (Mike R.), and using a block and tackle to give a mechanical advantage during a tug of war (Aisha and Nick L. ). Other students researched and gave presentations on topics covering everything from stalagmites and stalactites (Ayanna), plant germination (Leona), and tornadoes (Rachel, Annee, and Lexi R.). The students should be commended for all their hard work and dedication to making this such a successful day.

Contributed by:
Jeremiah Nickerson

Monday, March 19, 2012

Latham School Awarded $25,000 Grant by the Yawkey Foundation II for Adaptive Playground Project

                                                               Press Release

Latham Centers, Inc., a Cape Cod based not-for-profit serving children and adults with emotional, developmental and physical disabilities today announced that it has been awarded a $25,000 grant by the Yawkey Foundation II.  The grant is restricted toward the purchase and installation of adaptive playground equipment on the grounds of Latham School in Brewster, Massachusetts.  With this recent award, the playground will be fully installed and operational later this spring in memory of the late Tim Semple—the former Director of Latham Facilities..

The playground was specially designed to improve perceptual-motor skills, spatial awareness, and gross motor skill development of the Latham School special needs population.  It will also assist students in training for the Special Olympics as members of the “Latham Hawks” athletic team.  The Yawkey Foundation II has supported multiple Latham programs and initiatives since 2001—most recently Latham’s  innovative Asinotherapy program and the construction of a new dormitory at the Brewster residential children’s campus.

“The addition of an adaptive playground to the Latham School curriculum will encourage team-building activities, leadership, communication and positive interactions among students,” according to Anne McManus, Executive Director.  “Moreover, the playground will serve to build strength, endurance, and agility with specialized equipment as our children train for team sports in Special Olympics.”

Previous major grants for the project funded the installment of a high-tech, playground turf by The Ronald McDonald House Charities of Eastern New England, Inc., The Palmer and Jane D. Davenport Foundation, and other individual donors.

More about Yawkey Foundation II

In 1982, Mrs. Jean Yawkey established Yawkey Foundation II to carefully ensure the legacy of giving that she and her husband Tom began as owners of the Boston Red Sox.  Through her direct involvement and active leadership for the last decade of her life, Mrs. Yawkey imprinted the Foundation with her own highly personal style of giving.  Like her husband, Mrs. Yawkey cared deeply for the people who lived and worked in the communities that she called home and sought to use her Foundation to help improve the lives of those in need.

In 2002, Yawkey Foundation II experienced a dramatic expansion of its assets from the record-breaking proceeds received from the sale of the Yawkey ownership interest in the Boston Red Sox.  The Trustees of Yawkey Foundation II have sought to emulate the Yawkeys’ tradition of giving in the areas of Education, Health Care, Human Services, Youth and Amateur Athletics, Arts and Culture, and Conservation and Wildlife.

Contributed by:
Gerry Desautels (Dez-oh-tel), M.Ed.
Director of Development

Friday, March 16, 2012

St. Patrick's Day at Latham

Here are some photos from our outing today to Yarmouth to see the St. Patrick’s Day Parade.  It’s a huge annual tradition there, and the kids were so excited to go.  I’ve been to many parades with the PWS students in the past but this one was definitely the biggest and the kids handled it very well.

The Upperdeck joined forces with the Hazelmoor crew and we enjoyed a nice walk from the house to Route 28 to watch the parade. We then headed back to the house to enjoy a nice lunch.  We were lucky with the weather, and the sun shined the whole time!

Contributed by:
Frannie Quirk

"If you're enough lucky to be Irish, you're lucky enough!" 
~Irish Saying

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

TD Bank Representative Teaches Important Skills to Students

Latham School recently welcomed TD Bank representative Nancy Brown to our campus! Nancy is working with our Vocational and Transitional classes to help educate students about practical banking skills including understanding the concept of earning money through working, opening and managing a checking account, planning a budget, and talking about saving or spending money on needs versus wants.  Students were very enthusiastic about their initial multi-sensory banking seminar.

We are looking forward to continuing our valued partnership with TD Bank. We are planning a trip to our neighborhood TD Bank to meet the tellers, to learn about the different functions of the bank, and to gain a real-life practical experience.

Pam Nolan, M.Ed.
Director of Education

"Money isn't the most important thing in life, but it's reasonably close to oxygen on the "gotta have it" scale." 
~Zig Ziglar

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Latham Students Reach Out

The students at Latham Centers, led by the members of the Student Council, have focused this year on reaching out not only to the Latham Community, but to the larger community as well. In September, newly elected members of the Latham Student Council agreed in their first meeting that they would like to concentrate this year on how they could help to improve life at Latham as well as improve the life of others outside of Latham. They have invited the Educational Director, Assistant Residential Director and Head Cook, to discuss such campus issues as bringing lap tops to school, buying new shower curtains for the residences and making some changes in the  menu (3 bean salad is not a favorite!) More telling, however, of the generosity of these students is what they have accomplished to help those in need. During the fall they made crafts to sell at the Holiday Craft Fair. This year they decided that all profits would be donated to a worthy cause. Many worthy causes were discussed, but the decision was made to donate over $500 to St. Jude’s Hospital. All agreed that this gave us all a good feeling, and the decision was made to sponsor a clothes drive to collect and donate warm clothing to Noah Shelter, a shelter on Cape Cod for people who are temporarily without a place to live. Many boxes of clean, warm clothing, from winter jackets to boots and scarfs, were collected and delivered by members of student council. Seeing the children at the shelter, and hearing the thanks from the Director of the shelter, made students anxious to find other ways they can help.

Their next project was to collect canned goods for the local Food Pantry. Having learned in class that the economy has hurt donations, Student Council members, proud of their past efforts, were sure they could make a difference, and they did. Many bags of canned goods were collected and delivered for the use of those who need a hand up. Currently they are planning on ways to beautify the Latham Campus. They have invited the Director of Maintenance to their next meeting to discuss areas that classrooms can “adopt.” Once these areas are decided on, classrooms will plant and care for their area throughout the spring, summer and fall. 

All who work and live at Latham agree, our students are special, in their kindness, in their willingness to help to make the world a better place and their ability to work together to make it happen.

Kathy Thonet
Assistant Principal

"Always be a little kinder than necessary." 
~James M. Barrie

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

A Few Words From the Director of Nursing

Since the last Blog posting by the Nursing Department a couple of things have changed. First, I was hired as the Director of Nursing in October and love being here. Second, in a collaborative effort with the Education Department we have begun a water program. It began in early January with the goal of increasing water intake for the PWS children. To date it has been a great success demonstrated by decreased complaints of headaches, muscle cramps and constipation which are all symptoms of dehydration.

At times the children can be a challenge however, I find the rewards outweigh the challenges. The children are a delight to work with and hardly a day passes when one of them doesn’t do something that touches my soul in some way. Watching them offer support or encouragement to each other is very touching. I recently told a father I could not imagine how difficult it must be to send your child to another state to a residential school even if it is in their best interest. However, students do very well here and go on outings that I would have loved to have gone on as a child.

What I love the most is to see them laugh and smile, walking together around the small track outside my office window. They teach me every day and I am grateful to those parents who chose to send their children here. While I know it must hurt to send them, we care about them and for them and they are a pleasure to work with.

Contributed by:
Lauralee Schiraga
Director of Nursing

"Great opportunities to help others seldom come, but small ones surround us every day." 
~Sally Koch

Friday, March 2, 2012

Latham Students Go Shopping

We are in the midst of doing clothing shopping!  This is a great opportunity for our students to experience different community settings, clothing stores, shoe stores, and possibly eating out afterwards. Before going on their shopping outings, students work on their shopping lists with the assistance of staff.  Our students are also learning the important skills of shopping for weather and age appropriate clothing. This is also an opportunity for them to buy items that express their personal styles.  They get to practice their learned skills by interacting with sales clerks, cashiers, and other shopping customers.  Everyone returns happy and very proud to show off their wonderful outfits.

Contributed by:
Bonnie McGee
Overnight Supervisor

"I base most of my fashion sense on what doesn't itch." 
~Gilda Radner