With a goal of helping special needs students experience adventures outside of school, the Champions Program is seeking support from the community.
As a nonprofit group, the mission is to provide opportunities for students with moderate to severe disabilities. It benefits students in the Clinton City and Sampson County districts. Each year, Officer Faith Jackson looks forward to watching students go on field trips.
“The main goal of the field trips is to provide social environments they would not get otherwise,” Jackson said. “Through those environments, we coach them on appropriate behavior and appropriate protocol.”
One example was going to a movie theater, purchasing a ticket and buying concession snacks.
“For moderate to severe disability students, they don’t always understand that,” Jackson said.
In addition to visiting other schools and interacting with peers across the county last year, students visited Rainbow Lanes Family Fun Center, Jordan Lake State Recreation Area, watched “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” play in Fayetteville and visited Chuck E. Cheese.
“We’re in the process of planning for next year and what we raise will determine where we take them,” Jackson about the upcoming 2018-2019 school period.
A banquet was recently held to recognize students and their achievements such as finishing elementary or middle school. High school graduates were also honored during the ceremony with presentations. Teachers involved in Champions were also recognized.
Jackson became involved with the program about 10 years ago. She enjoys seeing the students improve from kindergarten through high school.
“We’re honored to serve Clinton City and Sampson County Schools and we know that it’s making a difference in the students’ lives and allowing them opportunities they wouldn’t get in the classroom,” Jackson said.
In 2017, Champions became a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and therefore donations are tax deductible. Organizers plan to deliver sponsorship letters to potential supporters. Requests were also sent out in the spring through emails.
This year, the organization would like donors to give at least $5 to help fund the program, which serves 250 participants. Donations are being accepted online trough PayPal, at www.bit.ly/2L6w1lN, or by mail at: Champions Program, 3 Day Lily Lane, Dunn, N.C. 28334. Checks should be made out to “Champions Program.”