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Challenged Child and Friends to use grant for scholarships
Challenged Child and Friends teacher Brittany Schrader reads aloud to students during class on a recent morning. The preschool received a $25,000 grant from the Harris Products Group, which is based in Mason, Ohio, to be used for scholarships. - photo by Scott Rogers

Challenged Child and Friends

* What: Preschool for both typically developing children and those with developmental delays

* Where: 2360 Murphy Blvd., Gainesville

* Contact: (770) 535-8372

* More info:

GAINESVILLE — More children in the North Georgia area will have access to specialized services at Challenged Child and Friends, thanks to the Harris Products Group.

The Ohio-based company, which has a plant across the street from the preschool in Gainesville, recently gave it a $25,000 grant.

“Harris has been a supporter for a long time,” said Amy Gates, executive director for the agency. “They’re part of what’s called our Champions for Children Program, which is a way to thank them for what they do for us.”

Challenged Child is an early intervention center serving and educating children, ages 6 weeks to 6 years, with developmental delays alongside their typically developing peers. It provides an assortment of therapy options including physical, occupational and speech therapy.

Gates said the Harris grant will be used primarily for scholarships.

“That’s one of our biggest expenses,” she said. “Last fiscal year, Challenged Child and Friends gave over $700,000 in assistance to families, which is about 30 percent of our budget.”

Such assistance includes scholarships or coverage of therapy costs. The price of care can add up, Gates said.

“Families that don’t have insurance or families whose insurance only covers a certain amount, we will absorb the cost of the therapy their child will continue to get,” she said. “It can get expensive.”

Gates said this purpose is the most meaningful use of the funds from the company.

“Although we could utilize the funds for capital or operating expenses, we try to honor the gift in the way it was given, so we focus on the children and families,” she said. “We utilize the funds for direct assistance to our families, and fund our other expenses through earned income and other funding sources.”

Gates said the Harris Products Group presented the grant at the plant’s annual meeting. Gates was able to give a presentation about the organization and the services it provides to the community.

“It was nice to be invited and to feel like part of their family,” Gates said.

Harris President David Nangle said the company supports nonprofits “because we understand how important it is for [them] to have reliable corporate partners to support their programs.”

“We believe in consolidating our contributions to a critical cause so that we can have a real impact on organizations,” Nangle said in a release from the company. “We continue this long tradition of giving to support deserving charities in our local communities.”