|Tim McCallum (L), Lyle Lehman,|
and Marcy VanZandt unveil
the Opening Doors capital campaign
thermometer signifying a grand total
of $800,000 raised.
Campaign donors joined staff from The Arc at the Big Tree Inn in Geneseo April 4 for a ceremony to officially close the campaign.
Three years ago, The Arc embarked on the Opening Doors capital campaign, the first capital campaign in our 50-plus year history. “Opening Doors” sought close the financial gap caused by the need for a new building for the KidStart program, which was displaced from its home on the SUNY Geneseo campus due to planned construction by the college.
“We were on the ropes, not really knowing what we would do with a very vital program, really the program that started The Arc,” said Executive Director Chris Peterson.
Opened in January 2011, KidStart’s new Lehman School in Groveland is a 33,000-square-foot facility built by local contractors to meet the needs of children from birth to 5 years. Located on 7.8 acres of land, the school includes 12 classrooms, 16 therapy offices, an evaluation center, a multipurpose room for training and large motor activities, and a playground.
The Lehman School is named in honor of children’s services pioneer Dr. Lyle Lehman. Ninety percent of the building is dedicated to serving children, while only 10 percent is used for administration.
Over its three-year existence, the Opening Doors campaign received contributions from almost 300 individuals, small businesses, corporations, foundations, and community groups. Through their support, KidStart is able to continue to help more than 300 children and their families every year, with services for children with disabilities such as autism, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, speech, and physical disabilities.
“As a parent who had a daughter who started at KidStart, successfully became an integrated student at Letchworth, and now lives in one of our Dansville houses and works at Hilltop, I can safely say that she couldn’t have done it without the great start that she got at KidStart,” said Marcy VanZandt. “To all of the ‘parents-to-be’: your donation is money well spent.”
“I always say that it’s not a building that makes a program; it’s the people that work in the building that make the program,” added KidStart Director Chris Lynch. “We have a very dedicated staff that really makes the KidStart program what it is.”
Among the donors present at the campaign wrap-up were KidStart Special Education Teacher Dianne Cicero, who was the first person to give to the Opening Doors campaign, and local landowner Harold Stewart, who donated much of the land for the Lehman School.