Main Street School organizing fundraiser

For more than 25 years, the North Syracuse Early Education Program at Main Street has been providing inclusive pre-K for children with special needs.

Now, they're asking for a little help from the community to continue that mission.

"The school has always had its financial challenges," said Philip Cleary, a teacher at the school. "Our funding from the state and federal government has always been spotty."

Those difficulties deepened this year with the current financial crisis. As a result, teachers, administrators and parents at the school have started looking for ways to help out. While individual teachers can get small grants for programming, there's not much available that can get the school larger amounts of money.

Enter the Friends of the North Syracuse Early Education Program at Main Street, a new 501(c)(3) group formed for the specific purpose of helping the school. The group includes school board members, administrators from the district, teachers from the school and parents of alumni and current students. The group is working on getting some larger grants for the school, but in the meantime, they've organized their first big fundraiser: the Therapy Ball, to be held from 6 to 9 p.m. March 26 at Barbagallo's Restaurant.

"We thought it was a clever name -- we use therapy balls in special ed, in OT and PT," Cleary said. "And this is a way to get our name out there and let people know what we need."

Numerous local dignitaries will be in attendance at the ball, including elected officials, business owners and community members. There's also an impressive cache of prizes, all donated by local people.

"I'm involved in a lot of charity and nonprofit organizations," Cleary said. "I go to a lot of these things. And I've never seen prizes as amazing as what we're offering. We've got some really great stuff."

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