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Carls Foundation Gift Gives Children with Communication Impairments a Special Camp Experience

MOUNT PLEASANT - For the third consecutive year, a gift from The Carls Foundation in Detroit will support a five-week summer camp at Central Michigan University for children and youth who are communicatively impaired.

The Carls Foundation has donated $10,000 to support CMU's summer remedial clinics, a nationally recognized program that trains students in speech-language pathology and audiology.

"The foundation is privileged to be able to support a nationally recognized program that benefits children's health care with an emphasis on hearing and communication impairments," said Elizabeth A. Stieg, executive director of The Carls Foundation. "This gift recognizes the educational efforts in support of the training of clinicians and clinical programs that will enhance the future of children and adults. Mr. Carls felt that the foundation was an expression of the deep appreciation he had for the opportunities which he was afforded in his own life. He considered the foundation a way to return benefits to his community and the country."

"This gift supports the needs of children who otherwise would be unable to access these services," said Linda Seestedt Stanford, acting dean of The Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow College of Health Professions. "The generosity of The Carls Foundation also supports learning opportunities and experiences for our students who work with these children."

Annually, for more than a half century, CMU classrooms have been transformed into intensive five-week "camps" for children with communicative impairments. More than 100 children ages 3 to 17 participate in the camp each year. The residential and day treatment program is the only program of its kind in the country.

About 40 CMU communication disorders graduate and several undergraduate students participate in the program, as well as students from many other programs, such as special education, education, psychology, therapeutic recreation, health promotion and rehabilitation, computer science, and visiting and international students. The clinic includes special outings, arts and crafts, recreational activities, and individual and group therapy sessions.

The costs of the program are covered primarily by parents, scholarships and support from service groups such as the Elks Club of Michigan and Zonta.

"About 70 percent of our campers fall under the U.S. poverty guidelines, so many need help to attend this program," said coordinator Suzanne Coughlin, a faculty member in the department. "The Carls Foundation allows us to give out scholarships to some students, and the Elks have made this their special project."

In October 2000, The Carls Foundation donated $1.5 million to the new Health Professions Building project. That gift is supporting the creation of an interdisciplinary clinic wing that will be named The Carls Center for Clinical Care and Education.

"The Carls Foundation is one of the major supporters of the university's high academic standards and commitment to communities throughout the state and the country," said Michael Leto, CMU's vice president for development and alumni relations. "This gift continues to support vital clinical programs that serve our students and children with hearing impairments. CMU is grateful and pleased to have this strong support for clinical and academic programs."

The new Health Professions Building will house modern facilities for the speech, language and hearing clinics, and the psychological training and consultation center and also provide services, such as preventative, wellness, restorative and other rehabilitative care. Specialized diagnostic and rehabilitation services also will have a strong focus on clinical education and training opportunities for CMU students. A portion of the clinic will provide indigent care services to prevent, treat and rehabilitate a broad range of ailments, including neurological and developmental disorders, occupational repetitive use injuries, and physical trauma.

The Carls Foundation was established in 1961. Trustees have awarded major and smaller gifts from $5,000 and higher for programs or facilities that benefit children, primarily in Michigan, and for the preservation of natural areas and open spaces.

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