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Beginning next Tuesday, May 6 and every Tuesday for the month of May, Uncle Ed’s Creamery in Pennington will donate 10 percent of their total daily sales to the Hopewell Valley Regional School District Special Education PTO.

Located at 155 West Delaware Avenue in Pennington, Uncle Ed’s is open Tuesdays from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and is the first local business to support the Special Ed PTO through a fundraiser of this kind.

The HVRSD Special Ed PTO supports parents of children from preschool to twelfth grade with special needs. Children do not have to be classified or receiving support services from the school district to engage with the PTO, and the group offers support to anyone with questions. Their resources include a website and social media presences, weekly emails and parent dialogue to offer support for a variety of challenges including mental health, anxiety, learning difficulties, ADHD, Autism spectrum, Cerebral Palsy and other related syndromes.

Alicia Nayfield, president of the Special Ed PTO, struggled with learning difficulties herself but went on to the University of Michigan and a successful career in technology. She says her personal mission at the helm of the group is to explain that “children who have developmental differences can be extremely successful in life and can be a wonderful and vibrant part of the community.”

“Instead of having kids feel embarrassed they should feel proud of themselves,” says Nayfield.

The group recently obtained nonprofit status, thus allowing for tax-exempt donations, and serves as a clearinghouse for information about local doctors, therapists, camps, programs and caregivers attuned to the needs of special children, as well as a place where parents can share experiences and gain support while raising children with special needs. The PTO also hopes to raise funds to benefit HVRSD special education staff and classes through technology, training and supplies.

In addition to fundraising, the group is also looking for donations of time and energy, and welcomes volunteers who are able to help with minimal commitments to forward the PTO activities throughout the year.

For more information visit http://www.hvrsdspecialedpto.com or follow on Twitter @hvrsdspedpto.

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Andrea Fereshteh has been writing for as long as she can remember. An avid journal-keeper as a child, she dabbled in dramatic notes to her parents and designed her own stationary. With a zest for small talk and meeting new people, she pursued journalism in college and worked for nine years in PR, writing and media relations for the higher ed and nonprofit sectors. She has a mousters and ducktorate from Disney University and is a mother to two lively boys who inspire her to just keep writing, just keep writing.

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