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Lake Valley Elementary receives grant for ‘Sensory Walk’

Last school year Lake Valley Principal Aimee Fleming notice a need for a “brain break” by her students with sensory issues. A break from learning, thinking and dealing with the daily inundations of stimulation.

She and her staff set out to research ways to help these students with an outlet during the day.

Through online searches, staff collaboration and ideas from other schools, the staff at Lake Valley came up with the idea for a sensory walk within the school that could help those students and, ultimately, all Lake Valley students have a positive outlet.

The idea of the sensory walk was born.

The sensory walk is a hallway dedicated to fun activities students can do on the floors, there are soft squishy things to touch on the walls and a chalkboard wall for students to write positive messages on. It is a break from your thoughts and allows students time to take a moment to recharge and have fun.

Now how does a school principal take an amazing idea and turn it into a reality for her students? This is where our amazing community comes in.

Fleming had heard about the Jewish Community Foundation (JCF) grant that JCF funded at Mountain View Elementary to complete an adaptive playground on their campus about three years ago.

The Jewish Community Foundation has been in existence for 20 years and was formed to provide Jewish donors a way to support charitable organizations within our community.

Christine Resnick, the Executive Director of JCF of Greater Prescott states, “It is all driven by tzedakah (Hebrew for charity) and performing a mitzvah (Hebrew of good deed).

So, why do they give to the JCF rather than doing it themselves? Giving to give is the highest form of giving; therefore, by giving anonymously you are not seeking recognition but truly giving to make a difference.

The JCF allows for this higher form of giving”. Of all of the JCF grants awarded this last grant cycle, the Jewish Community Foundation has given 80% of their donations to educational grant applications.

They feel strongly about supporting education in our community.

It was through this JCF grant that Principal Fleming began rolling out her sensory walk development.

Lake Valley applied for a JCF grant in late spring for the new flooring needed for the floor activities. It was through many meetings between Principal Fleming and Christine Resnick where the ideas became a reality. Lifepointe Church and Alta Vista Senior Living Community also helped fund the sensory items on the walls and floors.

Both Lifepointe and Alta Vista have “adopted” Lake Valley as a school they support as part of the HUSD Community Partner Adoption program.

Principal Fleming states, “We are so grateful for our community partners Alta Vista and Lifepointe Church, as well as the generosity of the Jewish Community Foundation for funding this grant.

This new sensory walk has helped contribute to the positive and inclusive culture at Lake Valley.

As one student shared with me, ‘This is epic and just makes me feel good Mrs. Fleming.’ This is exactly what we want for our students.”

The work on the sensory walk was completed in July and a grand opening and ribbon cutting took place on July 30. The reception from both students and parents was nothing but positive.

For more information on the sensory walk or the Humboldt Unified School District, please visit our district Facebook page and school websites.