Sometimes bad things happen to good people. They just do. We tend to think about that in terms of ourselves or those we know when difficult times arise, sad events happen, or misfortune strikes. We certainly felt that way when Lyn died.
But the truth is that we are pretty lucky. Despite the hard times that inevitably impact us, our material needs are routinely met and we have safety networks that catch us if we fall.
This foundation, which so many of you have generously supported year after year, helps good people we do not know—people that suffered hard times. Good people to whom bad things have happened, not because of any decisions that they made, but because they just fell on the wrong side of the luck.
We are grateful that along with you, we have been able to help some of these people. While borne out of a terrible event in our lives fifteen years ago, having so many children helped in Lyn’s name is a gift to us, as well as to them.
Thank you again for supporting the Lyn Stacie Getz Foundation. We strive to insure that every penny that is donated is spent on direct services to children. Once again this year, we think some very worthy organizations have been able to support hundreds of children thru our collective financial support. This year the Foundation made gifts totaling $55,000. to the following organizations:
In each year we highlight one of the programs that the Foundation supports and this year we asked the JCC to update you on their special needs programming that we fund. These programs serve children of all races and religions.
The Jewish Community Center of Greater Baltimore (JCC) provides a wide array of social, recreational and vocational programming for people with disabilities. Currently the JCC’s year-round Special Needs programs serve 150-200 people, including toddlers in parent-child classes, children in inclusion childcare and camping programs, and young adults and adults in classes and “clubs.” Last fall, the JCC was recognized by Slingshot as one of 18 leading Jewish organizations in North America committed to fostering inclusion of people with disabilities and featured in the inaugural Slingshot Supplement on Disabilities & Inclusion.
Each of the JCC’s staff-intensive Special Needs programs is subsidized so that the cost to participate is not prohibitive. The JCC relies on grants and donations to support the Special Needs programs, along with funding from The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore. Over the years, the Lyn Stacie Getz Foundation has been an important philanthropic partner through grants that have supported longstanding special needs programs and funding to seed new special needs programs.
Over the past year (FY14), the Lyn Stacie Getz Foundation’s grants to the JCC supported:
- The Camp Milldale inclusion program, providing 29 children with mild to severe developmental and physical disabilities with a wonderful day camp experience
- Therapeutic support services, i.e. occupational and speech therapy, for the Camp Milldale inclusion campers, helping them maintain progress that was made during the school year
- KLAL programming, providing a structured environment for older teens and young adults to improve essential social skills and life skills
New special events for families incorporating “sensory-friendly” best practices, including lower lighting and lower volume
1. Bereavement Support Groups for Children
Dealing with death and loss is never an easy issue. Dealing with death and loss for children is even more traumatic. These support groups, dealing with the loss of a grandparent, parent, or sibling, help the children understand loss, how to process it, and how to deal with that trauma.
2. Park Place Outreach
Park Place Outreach is Savannah Georgia’s only emergency shelter for runaway, homeless and at-risk children. Established in 1984, the shelter admits 150-200 children each year ranging in age from 11 to 17. It is open 24 hours a day and 365 days a year providing healthy meals, personal care items, clothing, and counseling services for the children at no cost to them.
3. Lyn’s Fund at Sinai Hospital
Lyn’s Fund at Sinai Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland provides gas cards, taxi vouchers, and wigs for children with cancer. Enabling these families to be able to take a cab or by furnishing gas cards for parents who would otherwise have to use public transportation to get to chemotherapy sessions, doctors’ appointments, and radiation sessions hopefully makes their lives more comfortable by giving them access to services we likely take for granted.
Shemesh is a remedial reading program that helps children who are experiencing difficulties in learning how to read. This program works with children on a one-to-one basis because without good reading skills, the children tend to fall behind in their studies and lose interest, and as a result their school work suffers. This program works to change that result.
5. Flashes of Hope
Flashes of Hope is a non-profit organization that takes beautiful photographs of children facing cancer and other life threatening illnesses. The photographs, taken by award-winning photographers who donate their time, do more than capture a moment in time; the children feel better about their changing appearance by celebrating it. Additionally, Flashes of Hope gives each family a treasure that captures forever the grace, beauty and dignity of their child. The grant from the LSG Foundation was used to photograph about 100 children with cancer- all of whom we hope will live to enjoy their own photographs.
6. Krembo Wings
Helping children in Israel with developmental issues, Krembo Wings, through its social, recreational, and vocational programing for children provides age appropriate activities such as arts and crafts, camping, educational trips, swimming, and music and games. These activities are a real treat for the children and a real plus for the parents. Our grandchildren, Sophie and Eli, and now joined by sister Hannah suggested that their respective donations and small allocations be included towards this grant.
7. Local Outreach Volunteer Educators (L.O.V.E.)
L.O.V.E. is an organization made up of volunteers from the Landings Community in Savannah, Georgia that helps disadvantaged children on a one-to-one basis in math and reading. It was found that many of these children spent time alone during the summers with little, if anything, to do. L.O.V.E. services the poorest of the poor. There are no parks in the areas where the children live; there are no community swimming pools, and the streets are not safe. The L.O.V.E. Organization sends some of these children to summer camp and year- after-year the program has expanded. In addition to the children they sent to day camp this year, they were able to send 10 students to sleep away camp. The overnight experience was a particular treat for these kids many of whom had never been off of their street much less to camp.
8. Backus Children’s Hospital (Memorial Hospital)
Our commitment to the children’s cancer unit at Memorial Hospital continues. The children had some wonderful excursions this past year – a boat ride on a pirate ship, an evening at Chuck E. Cheese, and an excursion to see Disney on Ice are just a sampling of the kinds of activities that these children and their families look forward to each and every year and, frankly, when the staff at the hospital tells and shows us how happy the children are – well, that just makes our day!
9. Back Pack Buddies
A grant was made to the Back Pack Buddies program for the purchase of books to be used to enhance the children’s at home reading experiences. Every child receiving meals though the Back Pack Buddies program would also be given books to read. A double good deed – enhancing the body and enhancing the mind….what could be better?
10. Ashkelon City Grant
Because of the recent war in Israel and Gaza, the southern part of Israel came under great attack. The city of Ashkelon was under constant bombardment and as a result, the children under great stress. The trustees of the Foundation felt that a grant to the city of Ashkelon was in order to be used for either a camp experience or a trauma program for those children needing extra care and help.
The Lyn Stacie Getz Foundation was formed 14 years ago and, this year, 10 grants were made to organizations that carry out Lyn’s dream of helping children. It is said “there are times in everyone’s life when something constructive is born out of adversity……when things seem so bad that you‘ve got to grab your fate by the shoulder and shake it.” With Lyn’s Foundation and in memory of Lyn, we have tried to do just that and we thank you for helping us!
As Margaret Mead said: “Never believe that a few caring people cannot change the world. For Indeed, that’s all who ever have.”
Truth is…you are the caring people and there are more than just a few of you. You are willing to give of your hard earned money to help children you do not know. Children who are ill – children who need help physically, emotionally and educationally. You are the people helping to make the world change and we thank you.
As we anticipate the new year 2015 and pray for a year of peace, we wish each and everyone of you a year of good health – all else will follow.
Alan and Carollee Getz
Randy and Stacey Getz