November 8, 2015 12:02:44 AM
The Junior Auxiliary of Starkville is establishing a $25,000 endowed fund to support Mississippi State's T. K. Martin Center for Technology and Disability.
A memorial to a longtime university vice president, the center -- part of the College of Education -- is nationally recognized for its programs and services that help ensure persons with disabilities benefit from solutions and advances in the field of assistive technology.
JA president Karen Templeton said the T.K. Martin Endowment for Excellence is one way to sustain the center's valuable programs and services.
"All of us at Junior Auxiliary really love what the T.K. Martin Center does for the community, and we hope this gift will ease the burden by making available much-needed funds for teachers and administrators to utilize," she said
"We would also like this gift to help retain and recruit talented teachers and to provide the resources necessary for the very best care for the center's children," she added.
For a number of years, Starkville JA members have served as center volunteers, providing ongoing classroom assistance and helping organize its popular annual Fun Run fundraiser.
"We are fortunate to have the center in our community," Templeton said, noting that some members "have children that have participated in the various programs it offers."
For that and other reasons, she continued, "We want to do everything we can to keep their programs successful since its dedicated leaders and staff have daily work priorities that leave them little time for fundraising."
A clinical, research and training facility featuring the most modern equipment, the center offers a pre-school program, along with specialized training called EXPRESS Yourself! that employs techniques developed by New Jersey-based Artistic Realization Technologies.
A summer camp known as Jabber Jaw and Project IMPACT (Insuring Mississippi Parents' and Children's Tomorrows) are among some other center programs.
"All of us in Junior Auxiliary thank community members and businesses that support our organization's programs for children," Templeton said. "Without them, we could not deliver services, meals, clothing and, in this case, financial support."
In expressing appreciation to Templeton and other JA members, center director Janie Cirlot-New said the gift "will assist us in providing physical, occupational and speech therapy to students served in Project IMPACT.
"We are very grateful for their support and appreciate their willingness to assist the center in providing services to children with special needs," Cirlot-New added.
Center namesake Theodore K. Martin (1915-94) led the university in making the large land-grant institution more accessible to individuals with physical challenges. With the help of gifts like the JA endowment, it successfully has continued Martin's legacy.
The Martin Endowment may be increased through additional contributions made online at msufoundation.com. For individual assistance, contact Trish Cunetto, the education college's development director, at 662-325-6762 or [email protected]