Wegmans Food Markets has donated $25,000 to the Achievement Center of Erie, PA to help fund the construction of an outdoor play therapy area at the Center’s new location in Millcreek Township. Expected to open early this fall in what was formerly a Walmart store, the site will house Erie Homes for Children and Adults and the Achievement Center’s new space.
“They do so many wonderful things for children with a wide range of special needs at the Achievement Center,” said Katie Duchnowski, store manager for Wegmans’ Erie store. “They work with children from birth to age 21, their services bring about better outcomes for the children and their families, and they help regardless of the family’s income. The difference they make is so important to this community that we wanted to be good neighbors and show our support.”
The Achievement Center has served the region’s most developmentally, physically and emotionally challenged children for over 90 years. As the number of children the agency served expanded, it outgrew its space on West 6thrd Street in Erie. The move to Millcreek Township opens the door to consolidating operations into one location, increasing space for treatment, and updating treatment equipment and information technology resources. The move will allow the Center to serve another 700-750 children over the next five years.
“All children learn about their world through play,” said Rebecca Brumagin, Executive Director of the Achievement Center “But for children diagnosed with physical, developmental, emotional or behavioral issues, play can also be a powerful form of therapy that helps them gain skills to meet their challenges more successfully. That’s why this donation from Wegmans, which we will use to build one of two outdoor play therapy areas for children enrolled in our programs, is so important.”
The Achievement Center estimates the cost of buying and renovating its new home at about $6 million. A capital campaign called “Beyond Expectation,” with the aim of raising $1.5 million, will help reach that goal.
“The Center has such a strong record of providing life-changing services to thousands of families in the Greater Erie area that we view this donation as an investment in our community’s future,” said Duchnowski.
About the Achievement Center
- More than 400 highly qualified pediatric therapists, physicians and clinical support staff serve 3,500 children from four counties in Pennsylvania and Western New York State.
- Helps children from birth to age 21 with developmental delays, cognitive challenges, mental health diagnoses, behavioral/emotional issues, or autism spectrum and ADHD disorders.
- Provides services that reduce the need for hospitalization, residential treatment, specialized schools and foster care.
- Engages the whole family in therapy; helps parents acquire therapeutic skills and knowledge.
- Treats autistic children to the extent possible at their regular schools to better integrate them into their classrooms.
- The Center’s therapists have advanced levels of education and experience in pediatric fields. Of year-round therapists, 63% hold masters degrees, 33% hold bachelor’s degrees, and five individuals hold doctoral degrees.