100% of proceeds from WALTER’S WAY will be donated through the Vera and Walter Scherr and Family Foundation to nonprofit organizations.
About the Vera and Walter Scherr Family Foundation
The Vera and Walter and Scherr Foundation was formed in 2007 by Walter, his daughter Laura, and son Robert. The focus of the Foundation’s outreach is on education and people with disabilities.
The Foundation’s mission is:
To provide a secure and safe environment that empowers people to reach their full potential. The Foundation is also committed to honoring those who dedicate their lives and make career choices that inherently add value to our society, and whose life work advances the greater good.
Supporting People with Developmental Disabilities
Since its inception, the Foundation has been involved with The Center for Discovery (The Center), a national specialty facility that provides advanced care and treatment to children and adults with significant disabilities, medical complexities and autism spectrum disorders. Specifically, the Foundation has provided support through its scholarship/retention program for residents and their families as well as a scholarship offering financial assistance to staff members looking to pursue an advanced degree or continuing professional or education certification.
NOTE: Discovery has awarded scholarships to ninety staff members, empowering those employees to earn bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degrees from thirty-one colleges.
The Foundation has also been actively involved in helping The Center realize its vision of sustainability by creating a community where people with a wide range of abilities and special needs have the opportunity to live, work, play and achieve their full potential. The Center is beginning close to home in Hurleyville, a small town in upstate New York that has been economically challenged in recent years. The goal is to inject new resources and energy into the community with an array of restaurants and cultural and recreational attractions that will make it a place for Center staff to live as well as a destination for visitors. The Foundation is lending its support to this project by championing a Maker’s Lab and Learning Center.
Outside of its work with The Center, the Foundation brought together a team of creative professionals to refresh the brand and redesign the website for eDocNY, a full service document management company that employs people with developmental disabilities under the Arc of Westchester umbrella.
In addition, the Foundation will launch an awards program (the Caregiver’s Excellence Awards) focused on recognizing exceptional caregivers in our community in 2016.
Promoting Excellence in Education
The Foundation has been instrumental in the development and implementation of the iBelieve iAchieve model for education. A community-based program, iBelieve iAchieve started from the premise that it only takes one person to make a difference in another’s life. The goal is to enhance the educational experience and inspire students in the program to be held to a higher level of achievement through a successful mentoring and incentive program.
The pilot program was a collaborative effort between the Foundation, Family Services of Westchester, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Family Services of Westchester and the Scholastic Academy for Academic Excellence in Yonkers, New York. In it’s first four years, iBelieve iAchieve resulted in:
• 40% of all students enrolled in the program have successfully sustained Level 3 & Level 4 in their core subject areas;
• Another 40% have demonstrated improvement, moving from Level 2 to Level 3 or Level 4;
• 98% of students attend school every day;
• 60% of all parents attended School Support Meetings, Parent Teacher Conferences and I Believe, I Achieve parent meetings and events (prior to the program there was very little parental involvement)
The program can be customized for any community’s school system leveraging and building on the strength of existing local support organizations. The model is highly scalable, so a school system can easily start with one or two grades, or in one school, and expand the program over time.
Other Charitable Work
Foundation board members are also involved in a number of other charitable causes that support their mission, including:
• Membership on the Arc of Westchester Foundation Board
• Co-Chair for the Arc of Life Campaign for the Arc of Westchester