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Skills Logo

Special Project Funds

Some of the programs established and supported through The Skills Foudation’s special project funding include horticultural therapy programs, art therapy programs, and sensory stimulation therapy environments.

If you would like your contribution to go to a specific project, you may designate that with your gift. Undesignated gifts go to areas and programs of the most need.

Some established program areas and funds The Skills Foundation supports are highlighted below.

Every person with a disability deserves access to learning experiences with the finer arts.

Art, Music, and Drama Therapy Programs

Every person with a disability deserves to have access to learning experiences with the finer arts. Since November 2006, Michele Rivera, founder of Artistic Horizon, has been bringing her gift of teaching art, music and drama classes to the individuals Skills serves.

Each week, the classes provide individuals with significant physical and/or developmental disabilities an opportunity to express themselves artisitcally and have some fun. The Artistic Horizon program incorporates creative approaches using music, drama, and art to help participants use their imagination and be more creative.

Horticultural Therapy Program and the Discovery Garden

Horticultural therapy helps individuals with disabilities learn new skills and regain those lost.

Horticultural therapy helps individuals learn new skills and regain those lost. Improved memory, initiation of tasks and attention to detail are recognized benefits. People caring for plants learn responsibility and experience hopeful and nurturing feelings. Within physical rehabilitation settings, horticulture therapy helps retrain muscles and improves coordination, balance and strength. In vocational settings, people learn to work independently, solve problems and follow directions.

This year-round horticultural program includes making bird houses, terrariums, stepping stones, bird baths, and other garden projects. In spring, the individuals start seeds in the greenhouse and prepare the beds for planting. Summers are spent at the Discovery Garden or in their own vegetable gardens. At harvest time, individuals learn how to cook and preserve what they have grown including homemade salsas, eggplant parmesan, grilled zucchini, and other succulent dishes.

Visit the Discovery Garden page for more information about this Hollidaysburg Borough Park.

Sensory Integration & Development Programs

The Skills Foundation supports Sensory Programs for individuals with disabilities.

This program began at Skills Adult Training Facilities in East Berlin and State College. In 2008, Skills received a grant from Lee Initiatives Health & Wellness Endowment to start a sensory program and purchase equipment to make a sensory environment at Skills Cresson and Richland Adult Training Services locations.

Everyone needs movement and sensory experiences to learn. People love to move and use sensations from exploring to learn about their bodies and what is around them. When people cannot explore and experience, normal development and learning are hindered.

Understanding the relationship between sensory stimulation and normal development helps us understand why those with developmental disabilities have difficulty with sensory-motor skills and socioemotional interactions with others.To learn more about sensory stimulation programs, please visit our Sensory Integration and Development FAQs page.