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Special ed teachers receive grants

YOUNGSTOWN — The Autism Society of Mahoning Valley has announced its grant recipient winners for the Autism Teacher Mini Grant Program and awarded $850 in funds to area special education teachers to help them expand the student accommodations in their classroom. Awards were given in three denominations, $500, $250, and $100 to applicants and applications were received from teachers across Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana counties.

Recipients are as follows:

— 1st Place (receiving a grant of $500)– Jennifer Galanis, an Intervention Specialist at East Liverpool City Schools. She will now be able to create a student run coffee cafe to teach life and business skills. The grant will help purchase a coffee cart, coffee and tea pots, coffee and tea, cups and lids, and other food items. Teachers and other staff at the school will be their customers. Galanis also wants to start an after-school activities program so students can have social opportunities including going to their local YMCA, bowling, therapeutic horseback riding and other social and therapeutic options.

— 2nd Place (receivinga grant of $250)–Stacy Barthlemess, an Intervention Specialist at Fairhaven/Trumbull County Board of Developmental Disabilitiesin Niles. She will use the grant to provide Grow With Me Raised beds for access to planting, caring and harvesting vegetables and flowers for her students with autism, as well as those who have mobility limitations.

— 3rd Place (receiving a grant of $100)–Jodi Kelly, an Intervention Specialist at Columbiana ESC-Salem Junior High MD. This grant will help support the sensory and behavioral needs of her students. The grant will help purchase sensory items, alternative seating and or art supplies. Kelly stated “It is amazing the works of art they create and how calm they are after a simple art class.”

“This grant will allow my students the opportunity to learn functional skills,as well as job skills while integrating within the school. We are very thankful to the Autism Society of Mahoning Valley for the opportunity to provide these services to our students,” Galanis said.

The Autism Society of Mahoning Valley revived this project in 2017 to show appreciation and support the great teachers in the Valley who help children and teens on the autism spectrum. The Autism Society of Mahoning Valley Board, a group consisting of community members and parents reviewed the applications and selected the winners. The group hopes to continue to make it an annual project with application deadlines being August every year.

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