She Helps Kids with Special Needs Get an Arts Education
Photo Credit: SeventyFour/Shutterstock
It’s so important we create a world that’s inclusive and accessible for people with special needs. To help move toward that goal, Elizabeth Einhart serves as the executive director and vice president of the Theresa Foundation, providing an arts education for kids with special needs. The foundation was created in memory of Einhart’s younger sister who lived with microcephaly and cerebral palsy and passed away at the age of 5.
“People with special needs are often discounted,” Einhart tells CircleAround.
“As a society, we have a long way to go to put things right. To treat all people with dignity and respect.”
The Theresa Foundation honors the memory of its namesake by supporting children with special needs and their families. It accounts for each child's unique abilities with programs focusing on art, music, dance, drama, and recreation.
“The Foundation has been an instrumental part of my entire life,” Einhart explains. Since she was a child, Einhart has helped run volunteer programs, fundraising events, outreach and more. She also has a degree in special education and education leadership so she can better support children in the classroom and at the Theresa Academy of Performing Arts (TAPA@), a branch of the foundation that provides arts and recreation programs on Long Island.
Today, the program reaches participants across the U.S. and other countries. “This year, the foundation provided $115,216 in grant funding alone,” says Einhart. “Since 2018, the TAPA@ initiative has increased the number of children who participated in our arts and recreation programs by 400 percent!”
Einhart has worked hard to develop grant funding programs for communities that need it most. “All donations go directly to supporting programs in the arts and recreation of children with special needs via our grant program,” she explains. To put it into perspective, this is how far their recent donation goal of $7,500 can go:
15 TAPA@ drumming classes in New York
13 TAPA@ art classes in New York
9 TAPA@ dance classes in Oklahoma
7 therapeutic horseback riding lessons in North Carolina
“Being an advocate for people with special needs is truly the only way I can imagine living my life.”
“It's my calling, and I'm blown away by the amazing and inspiring people I meet along the way. I consider myself blessed to dedicate my career to supporting arts programs for children with special needs and am reminded of my sister, Theresa, in the smiles of the children served by the foundation.”