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More Crusade money coming into Shelby County than being donated

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By Ashley Wilkins

While donations for the WHAS Crusade for Children dipped a little this year, the county’s services won’t see a decrease.

In fact, after the Crusade raised more than $5.6 million, about $200,000 is expected to find its way back to the county to help provide goods and services for children with needs.

And that’s after only $143,969 was collected in the county this year.

More than half of the money collected in Shelby County for this year’s Crusade, $75,000, will go directly back to Shelby County Public School’s. 

The district’s Public Relations Coordinator Ryan Allan said that money will directly fund needs in the exceptional child department.

Allan said the district will use the grant to fund assistive technology for children with communication or other disabilities, adaptive equipment for children with mobility issues, playground accessibility upgrades for children with disabilities, and career readiness materials for children with intellectual disabilities.

“We appreciate the partnership with WHAS and the Crusade for Children because lots of children have benefited from it over the years,” he said.

The Dorman Preschool Center will also receive $27,000 from the Crusade for Children.

Executive Director of Operations and Family Advocacy Laurie Cottrell said they plan to use the grant money to pay staff and accommodate children with special needs, which comprises about 50 percent of their students. The grant will assist in paying the salary of four of their 11 employees: a teacher, two assistants and a developmental interventionist, which Cottrell explained is an employee with a masters degree in early childhood education and has experience in working with those with developmental disabilities.

Though she couldn’t recall how long the center has been receiving grant money from the Crusade, she laughed and asked, “How long has the crusade been collecting money?”

Cottrell said the grant amounts have gone up and down through the years, but it typically depends on how much they request.

“We just ask for what we need,” She said.

Carolyn Smither, the program director for CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) for the River Region said she expects Shelby County to receive a good portion of the $6,000 grant.

“We have 150 volunteers and 20 in Shelby County,” she said. “Certainly, some part of that money will be seen here.”

Also receiving their pieces of the pie, Seven Counties, Inc. as well as the Center for Women and Families, both with branches in Shelby County.

The Center for Women and Families is receiving a $10,000 grant, while the larger corporation, Seven Counties is receiving $75,000 and will be used to fund their First Steps program via cost reimbursement per county.

This year, the WHAS Crusade for Children collected $5,637,680 with 100 percent of that money donated back to the community to offer financial assistance to programs that provide care and education for those with developmental disabilities.