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Friday, June 24, 2011

Investing in the Future

For over five years, members of the Seacoast chapter of Altrusa International have volunteered at The Birchtree Center. They have arrived at our school with craft supplies, creative ideas, and warm smiles, ready to help our students make holiday gifts for their families. They have assisted with school-wide projects and celebrations and have given generously of their time, talents, and resources to help our students with autism.

Altrusa members present their donation to Birchtree's students and staff
This June, the club made a $1,000 donation to The Birchtree Center in support of our programs to help older students with autism prepare for life beyond Birchtree. The donation will help underwrite practical, hands-on lessons in job skills, life skills, and more. Students are learning vocational skills by running our school library, a student store, and a micro-business crafting badges, magnets and note cards for sale. They are learning to give back to the community by maintaining garden beds at the Portsmouth Public Library and are practicing cooking, cleaning, laundry, and self-care skills using appliances and equipment at Birchtree.

Dakota takes a break from gardening at the Portsmouth Public Library
“After working with these students for many years and watching them grow, we’re excited to be involved with the students’ transition to the next phase of their lives,” said chapter president Sandy LaBonte. To read more about the Altrusa members' experiences at Birchtree, click here.

Alex is learning to use the oven in Birchtree's Life Skills kitchen.
“We’re honored that these busy professionals from Altrusa give so generously of their time and resources,” said Acting Executive Director Dr. Sandra Pierce-Jordan. “It makes such a difference when students with autism have the support of the community.”

Lauren gardens alongside instructor Emily

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