On March 9, 2015 The Christopher Whitehouse Foundation was proud to receive a special letter of thanks from Stacie Vota and Gail Benson, Hungerford teachers from Tottenville High School. Stacie and Gail help to make Tottenville students with learning challenges feel more independent and productive members of the school by introducing the students to various activities. This year the teachers took the students to Miami, Florida where they teamed with Shake-A-Leg, a nonprofit adaptive water sporting foundation that pairs disabled students with trained volunteers for once in a lifetime aquatic experience.
Stacy and Gail report that, thanks to your contributions through the Christopher Whitehouse Foundation, the students had a fantastic trip. Please see the letter and photos below.
Dear Mr. Whitehouse,
We would like to thank you again for all the help you have given us over the years with making our adaptive trips so successful! I have included a CD of some pictures from our trips to Miami with the students.
The trips are something that these students enjoy immensely! They are able to kayak, sail, fish, swim with the dolphins with adequate support and supervision. They learn an independence that never would happen if they were not away from their families and on their own, even if it is for only 5 days! They are very proud of being on their own and being responsible for themselves. They go home different people!
On these trips, the students participate at Shake-A-Leg, a nonprofit adaptive water sporting foundation that pairs disabled students with trained volunteers who teach them how to do all the aforementioned activities. You will see the CD pictures of the students fishing, kayaking, and sailing.
After spending 3 days at Shake-A-Leg, we take a bus to Duck's Key in the Florida Keys, where the students swim with the dolphins. This is also a place where the staff is trained in working with students with disabilities. Students who are not physically able to go in the water or are afraid of the water lay on the dock to interact with the dolphins (as you will see in the photos) the other students go in the water and stand on a dock to meet and greet the dolphins. This is an experience they will never forget!
The independence these students have learned through the years is something I cannot put into words. They leave the school nervous and scared, they come back so proud of their accomplishments. The students become so open to trying new experiences and considering options, for after graduation, that they dismissed just a few weeks before the trip.
Thank you again for the funds over the years because without them, we never would have been able to do the things we have!
By the way, I enclosed a picture of the students going to prom last year so you can see the dream your donation helped come true!
Stacie Vota-Hungerford teacher @ Tottenville
Gail Benson O.T. Tottenville and Hungerford