Posted Date: 09/07/2022
Atlanta Elementary School recently received a grant from the Jacob Dude Turner Foundation to purchase items for the Reaching Independence Through Support and Education program.
Michelle Turner, who teaches students in RISE, said the $500 grant bought a sensory wall and path, trampoline, balance board, flexible seating and cooperative play task boxes.
The sensory room provides a space for students to go when they get dysregulated, which causes difficulty with managing emotional responses.
“When kids get dysregulated, their central nervous system says, ‘I’ve had enough, and I can’t do anything else you’re asking me to do’,” Turner said. “They need a place to go to get their emotions and their sensory needs back in check.”
The foundation was started in 2010 after Jacob Turner died in an accident. Michelle Turner, Jacob’s sister, said the foundation gave her family a positive way to channel their grief.
“The community really rallied around us and donated money,” Turner said. “And we wanted to honor his memory somehow, so we started giving scholarships to graduating seniors.”
The foundation hosts an annual fishing tournament, auction and raffle to raise money for schools, communities and scholarships. They originally focused on the Linden-Kildare area, but because of the foundation’s continued growth, they have branched out to Hughes Springs, Queen City and now Atlanta. Turner believes this is the first grant for Atlanta ISD.
“What we have done so far has been primarily in the Linden area because that’s where we grew up and where he was from,” Turner said. “But in the last few years, they’ve been reaching out to different schools in the community to support more children. I am hoping this opens the door for more opportunities for AISD.”