Laptops, school supplies and more
Latham Centers recently started a “Latham Works” program to provide individualized vocational training to for their students. Students learn skills suited to their abilities and learn to “raise the bar” on their work tasks.
In late summer the MAF’s Laptops for KidZ project came upon a “bonanza” at a Staples clearance sale that featured $229 Dell laser multifunction units for only $19.95. The Masonic Angels bought all of the printers, placing one of the printer/scanner/copier/fax units with the Latham Works program.
A few days later, Laptops for KidZ received a donation of over 100 laptops from a Boston-area corporation. Five identical laptops were placed with the Latham Works program.
Latham also received school supply kits for 42 students via the MAF’s Beehive School Tools program. Latham’s director of education Gerry Pouliot asked that the school supplies be delivered “un-assembled” so that the Latham Works students could have the experience of assembling packages.
The Masons delivered the school supplies at 10 o’clock on a sunny Thursday morning. Mr. Pouliot informed the MAF that the packages had been assembled by the students, inspected by staff and distributed to everyone the very next morning.
Taking advantage of another Staples clearance, the Masons obtained a block of Android tablets and placed two of those with Latham’s classroom educators. At last report, Mr. Pouliot was staging a competition related to the sensor arts between classrooms to see which two classes would earn the tablets.
Then the thank you cards arrived…
“Then the thank you cards arrived,” said Masonic Angel Foundation President Robert Fellows. (See a pile of them below) “We almost never receive thank you cards from MAF recipients. We don’t know who the kids are because our requests go through schools’ professional staff. In sixteen years MAF may have received 25 notes from students or their parents.”
“One day we received a large envelope from Latham that was bursting with thank you notes from their students. Some cards were done in crayon by young children and a couple were computer designed on the very laptops we placed there in August. One card was rendered in a computer graphics program and looked like the work of a training graphic artist – and it had the sweetest wording, as well. We were pretty overwhelmed going through those cards.”
Latham’s students have a history of showing their appreciation for the work the Masons do on their behalf, including last winter’s donation of craft fair proceeds to the Masonic Angel Fund.
The Masonic Angel Foundation has assisted students at the Latham Centers in Brewster for fifteen years. From winter coats, to special educational programs to emergency requests, the Masonic Angels have been there when Latham students need help.
Founded in 1970, Latham Centers offers residential and independent living programs for students with complex special needs. Shown on right is part of the school's Brewster campus.
MAF’s co-founder, Robert Fellows, recalls the early days working with Latham. “When we started working with Latham it was just Latham CEO Anne McManus working these benevolences together. Over the years various staff at Latham and volunteers at MAF worked together, building a strong bond between our two organizations.”
The Masonic Angels have a reputation of helping all schools with the most unusual of requests and Latham is no exception. Over the years MAF has helped a number of Latham students in extraordinary situations – and has done so immediately. The MAF has a standard that all requires all MAF chapters to respond to a request within one business day, though they’re often fulfilled in an hour or two.
Much of the work Masonic Angel Foundation does with Latham is funded by a gift from the Christopher Huntoon Trust.
(Thank You Cards: Some of the dozens of thank-you cards the Masonic Angels received from Latham Centers students who recently received MAF’s Beehive School Tools school supply packages. MAF photo.)