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Tomorrow’s Children of Waupaca receives technology boost

The Waupaca Area Community Foundation, one of our regional affiliates, hosted its annual Celebration of Giving on October 1st, awarding $80,500 in grants to local nonprofit organizations. One of the recipients is Tomorrow’s Children, a nonprofit helping children who’ve experienced trauma.

By Kelly Hackett, Waupaca Area Community Foundation

Tomorrow’s Children, a residential care center in the Waupaca area, received a 2018 Waupaca Area Community Foundation grant which funded the purchase of three SMART Board projectors and nine Chromebooks. The technology upgrades help sharpen a curriculum focused on reading and math particularly, but also allow teachers to expand on lessons. Instructors teach students where to find information online, thereby enabling students to research subjects in more depth than possible through textbooks alone. When I visited, many students had explored the textbook information on the planets and were now expanding their knowledge via the internet by researching a specific planet. Teachers also utilize online lessons to supplement the textbook lessons, allowing students to acquire a broad range of information this way. According to therapist/education director Jean Koszalinski, “the Chromebooks were a godsend.”

The organization opened its doors in 1973 and has been serving students (ages 5 – 17) with emotional and behavioral needs from Wisconsin and Minnesota (and, in the past, Michigan) since that time. This private, non-profit organization is licensed by the State of Wisconsin and governed by a board of directors.

The on-grounds school follows all Department of Public Instruction regulations and receives Title I funds. Housing five main multi-graded and -leveled classrooms, the school is open year round and, during the academic year, follows curriculum for all core subject areas (math, reading, English and language arts, social studies, science) as well as specials (art, keyboarding, physical education). Summer school brings shorter school days and concentrates on “real stuff” such as baking or measuring plant growth as well as fishing and hiking.

Individuals comprising the 24-hour awake staff in the units generally work in eight-hour shifts, teaching students the basics of life and how to live with others. Teachers are licensed, as are therapists, counselors, and directors alike. All work on respect, banishing bullying, and teaching coping and problem-solving skills. They help parents learn skills, too, to assist them in meeting the needs of their children in different ways.

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