Richardson PTO launches campaign for Sensory Room

The current sensory room at Richardson is the focus of a fundraiser to update and modernize the facility for special needs children at the school. Courtesy photo

BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
PCC EDITOR

FORT MADISON – Richardson Elementary PTO is excited to announce the upcoming renovation of the Sensory Room at Richardson Elementary and the support of a matching donor to kick off their fundraising efforts.

According to release from the PTO, the group believes breathing new life into the Sensory Room will provide an immediate and transformative experience for Richardson Elementary’s student body.

“Funding such a large and impactful project, perfectly embodies our mission of supporting all students and staff in their learning and teaching endeavors,” according to the release.

“We have had a private community member approach us and offer to match any donations received through December 23rd, up to $1,000,” said Michelle Bentler, Richardson Elementary PTO Treasurer.
“We are absolutely beginning at ground zero. There is no funding in our current budget for this renovation, so we are really counting on the community to help us see this through.”

PTO President Brandi Koering said there isn’t a fully realized budget on the project yet, but she said conservatively $5,000 would make a huge impact.

“This is going to directly impact about 25 kids in our school, but then these kids integrate with other students in classrooms. The space we have is very outdated and there is so much need here,” she said.

Morgan Alchier, the PTO secretary said the ask is big considering the pandemic culture and its constraints on fundraising, but donations can be made via mail or by credit card through a program called Cheddar Up at the following link: https://sensory-room-renovation.cheddarup.com.

Checks or cash can be sent to Richardson PTO. 3301 Avenue L, Fort Madison, IA 52627.

A sensory room is a safe place for students to prepare for learning. Allowing a student the opportunity to safely ground themselves with the use of specialized equipment, space and stimulation that suits their needs. The sensory room within Richardson Elementary is fulfilling a huge need for the student body, but lacks the appropriate tools to properly enrich the lives of the students within.

“The sensory room has been on my radar from day one. The impact this room has on our students is transformative, and this can be attributed to the care and work of our staff. If great things can be done with what we have, imagine what is possible,” said Adrian McKay, Richardson Elementary Principal.

“We had recently been denied two grants when I came to the PTO to ask for their help. I knew this would be a difficult request to fulfill, but this group of parents and our community always finds a way to respond.”

Richardson Elementary PTO invites you to check out their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/FortMadisonRichardsonPTO, for more information and other ongoing fundraising initiatives.

The group is currently partnered with HyVee through the end of December with the sale of their My Heart bags. And the FMHS Student Government is hosting a virtual family trivia night on January 20th as a benefit to the Sensory Room Renovation.

Donations received for the Sensory Room Renovation will be utilized to purchase new furniture, equipment and tools for student use.

Matching donations will be accepted through December 23rd, but donations are welcome all year. Richardson Elementary PTO will establish a date for a ribbon cutting ceremony, and unveiling, as completion of the project approaches.

Here’s a link to a video that inspired the school:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zULwQUQDMuM&t=3s

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