June 2023

Issue No. 2



In this issue ...

And the grant goes to ...

  • Gillian Guerrero
  • Jessica Wetherson
  • Kristin Fehr
  • Laura Monson
  • Allison Macom
  • Amy Smith
  • Kari Behrends
  • Kristopher Ketelsen

THF Updates

  • ReImagine Dance
  • Grant application process to open soon

THF spotlight

  • New board member

And the grant goes to ...

We had a great time surprising our Spring 2023 grant recipients and showing our appreciation for all they do! Read all about each of these amazing educators and what they plan to do with the funds they received from THF below.

Gilllian Guerrero

Recent ISU graduate Gillian Guerrero will have a little help getting her special needs classroom started at Flanagan-Cornell Unit #74 schools this fall thanks to a THF grant.

"It has always been a dream of mine to be a special education teacher, and now that it is coming true, I want to truly make an impact on my students," Guerrero wrote in her grant application.

Gillian's story

Kristin Fehr

Woodford County Special Eduction Association Administrator Kristin Fehr plans to help her students sing a new tune. With funds from a THF grant, Fehr will soon implement an adaptive music initiative through Music Together.

"The impact on students’ health and wellness from the adapted music program is an area we are excited about," she said. "We cannot wait to experience the joy and discovery with our students! 

Kristin's story

Allison Malcom

Special needs teacher Allison Malcom is excited to introduce her students at Central School District 51 to the Literacy Footprints curriculum, which she will purchase with THF grant funds. The program will provide her students access to 130 titles plus professional development opportunities.

“I am over the moon excited to get these amazing books in the hands of my students so that they can be turned into successful, confident readers,” she said.

Allison's story

Kari Behrends

Special Education Coordinator Kari Behrends will use grant funds to purchase items for a calming sensory room for students at Rankin School District #98.

She said the room will provide a therapeutic space for all students, "but especially students with disabilities such as autism, ADHD, or sensory processing disorder as many of these students have difficulty processing sensory information."

Kari's story

Jessica Wetherson

Students at Sarasota’s Beyond the Spectrum will soon have access to tools to teach life skills and to safe, adaptive playground equipment purchased with funds from a THF grant. 

Teacher Jessica Wetherson wrote in her application, that she plans to purchase materials that will teach her students "important life skills and provide them with a more comfortable learning environment." 

Jessica's story

Laura Monson

East Peoria Community High School District 309 social worker Laura Monson is working to provide her students with an updated, custom sensory room with THF grant funds.

Monson said she is looking forward to giving her students a place "to regulate themselves, whether it is to calm their anxieties or to get some movement after sitting all day in school. This will give students a safe place to escape to when they need a place to regroup."

Laura's story

Amy Smith

Amy Smith’s special needs students at Central Intermediate School will soon have appliances, books and utensils to start a cooking curriculum thanks to a THF grant. Students will learn social skills and manners while making simple recipes. 

Smith said this is a relevant topic area for her students as they get older and "are involved in more situations that are social where manners and etiquette are a needed skill.”

Amy's story

Kristopher Ketelsen

Olympia CUSD #16 special needs educator Kristopher Ketelsen works to implement The Olympia Transition Program to help prepare his students for graduation and life after high school. He will use funds from a THF grant to provide instruction and sensory items.

“The Olympia Transition Program prides itself on preparing students for their transition out of high school by focusing on the skills; independent, advocate, and a growth mindset,” he said.

Kristopher's story

THF Updates

ReImagine Dance

After receiving a THF grant in March, Shannon Johnson and Melanie Simmons of Sarasota, Fla.-based ReImagine Dance were able to purchase necessary items for their upcoming dance recital. On May 20, 2023, their students took the stage to show off their talents and reinforce ReImagine Dance's motto "my ability is stronger than my disability."

"Without the support of the Hambrick Foundation we would not have been able to participate in the end of the year recital," Johnson said. "It's an opportunity that allows the world to see just how amazing our dancers are." 

Read more

Grant application process to open soon


Keep your eyes (and inboxes) open! We plan to begin accepting applications for THF grants in mid July. If you are a special needs educator who could use a little help funding your next big idea, we encourage you to apply. Visit our website to subscribe to receive emails from us and to follow our social media channels!

Visit our Website


New board member

We recently welcomed Thomas Hammerton to the THF family. Tom brings decades of philanthropic experience to our board of directors. His career includes leading collegiate level athletic development capital campaigns and raising significant amounts of money to build a state-of-the-art cancer institute in his hometown of Peoria, Illinois. 

“The work we do as development professionals is not about the fundraiser, it’s about the donor and what we can do to help them achieve their goals," he said.

Meet our Board 

Would you like to help us support special needs educators?

Visit our website to donate!

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