The Mission Viejo Saddleback Valley (MVSV) Elks Lodge #2444 proudly presented a donation of $1,500 to the Esperanza Educational Center; a special needs school in the Saddleback Valley Unified School District. The donation will support Esperanza’s scholarship program and the partnership with the Elks ‘Blankets for the Brave’ initiative. The Elks contribution will help students attend college courses. As part of the Elks ‘Blankets for the Brave’ program, Esperanza’s students will be making blankets, which will be delivered by Elks to veterans on bingo night at the VA hospital in Long Beach, CA. This is an outstanding program that touches many hearts. Leading this school event was Esperanza’s Site Specialist Shelly Stewart. The presentation was attended by Board Member Dennis Walsh, Director of Special Education Dr Diane Clark, Board Member Dr. Ed Wong, District Coordinator Special Education Shawn Beese, Superintendent Dr. Crystal Turner, Board Member Suzie Swartz, SELPA Director Rae Lynn Nelson. Esperanza’s staff, students and parents were also in attendance. The Elks were represented by the Exalted Ruler of MVSV Lodge #2444, Mike Klinger. Also in attendance from the MVSV Elks Lodge was Lecturing Knight Lane Keran, who initiated the lodge’s Special Needs Outreach program and said, “We are humbled and honored to embrace Esperanza and the SVUSD in such important ways. In addition to the donation, we are also very pleased to offer these amazing students a one-of-a-kind lodge work experience program. The students offer us far more than we give them, and we are truly grateful for this remarkable special needs community partnership.” This is a tremendous example of how Elks continue reaching out to communities across America by doing what Elks do best, caring and sharing!
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