Elks Lodge awards $6,000 in grants to Connecting for Kids

Lodge #1350 Elks members present a grant check to Connecting for Kids. Pictured are Maria Gregg, Dan Scardina, Brian Gartland, Sarah Rintamaki, Tish Henry, Eric Palker and Bob Gieger.

Lakewood Elks Lodge #1350, located at 24350 Center Ridge Road in Westlake, recently awarded its $6,000 Beacon and Gratitude grants obtained through the Elks National Foundation Inc. to Connecting for Kids to fund the local nonprofit’s Ask Us program. This program serves Northeast Ohio families who have questions or concerns about their child aged 12 or younger. Ask Us is staffed by three family resource specialists who work one-on-one with families, answering questions, finding resources and providing information.

“The Lakewood Elks Lodge #1350 is proud to help Connecting for Kids by awarding the organization both our Beacon and Gratitude grants. Using these funds, Connecting for Kids will continue its work of helping Northeast Ohio children and families in need during this challenging time. We look forward to continuing our relationship and assisting Connecting for Kids in the future,” said Exalted Ruler Robert F. Geiger PER.

“Since the beginning of the pandemic, some of our most vulnerable families have been disproportionately affected by the virus, specifically those who have children with complex needs,” said Sarah Rintamaki, Executive Director of Connecting for Kids. “We’ve had a record number of calls from parents and caregivers desperate to find help for their children struggling with issues related to COVID-19. The Connecting for Kids Ask Us program has collaborated with families to find solutions to their most pressing needs.”

Some of the top concerns of local families have included:

  • Distance Learning Dilemmas: Distance learning has proved unsuccessful for children with severe Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). These children are unable to focus on the lessons being taught during distance learning. Also, the break from the normal school routine has led to meltdowns and a host of behavior problems.
  • In-Person Learning Issues: Families who have children that are medically fragile cannot even think about a return to school or resuming normal activities because of the virus and the worry about how it affects those with weakened immune systems. And, for children with anxiety, those issues are just being exacerbated by all the new rules and restrictions for in-person schooling.  Many children with sensory issues are unable to tolerate masks.
  • Regression Concerns: Connecting for Kids has also heard from families who have children with cerebral palsy and other physical impairments who have been unable to get needed therapies during the pandemic. These families are worried their child will regress without the proper supports in place.

Connecting for Kids has worked with families in all these scenarios to find alternative schools, therapy options and other resources to help.

“We are grateful to the Elks for this much needed funding so we can continue to assist families during these unprecedented times,” said Rintamaki.

Lorilynn Wolf

Lorilynn Wolf serves as the Communications Director for Connecting for Kids.

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Volume 13, Issue 6, Posted 10:40 AM, 04.06.2021