NEWFOUNDLAND – Two local women are holding a fundraiser that will be benefitting the Wallenpaupack South Elementary School.
Gina Lenz, owner of Gina Lenz Photography, and Tiz Cavezza, who has a daughter on the autism spectrum, are working with the school to have musical instruments on the playground.
The equipment will help meet the needs of special needs individuals.
Last year, Lenz and Cavezza worked on a photo gallery exhibit, “The World Through My Eyes-A Photographic Tribute to Autism," that took place at The Hanson Gallery in Honesdale.
“Portraits for the Playground” will take place on June 14 and 15.
“Families have the chance to come out and get a beautiful portrait from an amazing photographer, while also helping a great cause,” said Cavezza. “The success of the photo gallery generated a lot of emotion in the community. We got talking about how we wanted to give something back to the community.”
She added the school has been really supportive and they appreciate everyone getting on board.
The fundraiser is by appointment only and any family can have their portrait done. Lenz stated they will be 20 minute sessions.
On Saturday, June 14 the portraits will be done at The French Manor, 50 Huntingdon Dr., Newfoundland and on Sunday, June 15 they will take place at The Mansion at Noble Lane, 37 Noble Lane, Bethany.
There are several packages available:
• One 8x10 and one 5x7 print for $79.
• One 11x12 print for $99.
• One 11x12 and two 5x7 prints for $150.
“We wanted to do something again this year to support autism awareness,” Lenz stated. “All of the proceeds will benefit the school.”
The fundraiser also has a goal of “supporting autism awareness in the spirit of kindheartedness and continuing to enrich the lives of students and their future.
“It's a great opportunity to help bridge the gap,” Cavezza said. “On the playground it's a little less structured and the kids are all having fun.
“It's not someone with autism and everyone else. They just have a great time together.
“At the end of the day we're all people.”
Cavezza added they wanted to give something back that all children can enjoy.
“We want to inspire kindness, not just in the light of autism awareness, but also to help folks find kindness so we are growing together and sharing together,” she stated. “We want to nurture positive experiences on the playground.
Lenz added it will be a fun way for all kids to interact, have fun and play together.
“Every year we want to continue to promote autism awareness,” she stated. “Doing the project last year really affected me and made me see how incredible these people are. I'm happy to be doing this.”
Cavezza agreed, saying it's important to keep autism at the forefront to help nurture and give them confidence.
“We are happy to be partners with them and get some supplies into the playground that will meet the needs of autistic and special needs students,” said Wallenpaupack South Elementary Principal Mark Kirsten. “I think it's something all of the students will enjoy.
“I've seen them [the equipment] in other parks and kids gravitate to the music instruments.”
He said some of the equipment they are looking at are instructional drums, wind chimes and a xylophone.
The cost can range between $10,000 and $15,000 depending on how much equipment they purchase.
The equipment will come from Free Notes Harmony Park. You can find more information at http://freenotesharmonypark.com.
Kirsten also stated they might ask local artists to paint sensory walls to also help the students.
“The playground was put in last year,” he stated. “I met with Tiz to talk about the needs of children such as her daughter and wanted to do what we can to provide some stimulation for those students. From that meeting the project emerged.”
Kirsten said they want to put in the new equipment as soon as possible.
“We are willing to do what we need to do to get this done,” he said.
Donations are also being accepted for anyone who is interested. You can send money to 989 Main Street Newfoundland, PA 18445 and have it go toward the playground fund.
To schedule a session for the fundraiser call Gina Lenz Photography at (570) 253-4040 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.