Our Inspiration: Lily, Sarah & Grace
At the heart of everything we do are Lily, Sarah and Grace Badger - three vibrant, intelligent and creative sisters, each with their own individual strengths. After tragically losing their lives on Christmas morning 2011, Matthew Badger, and his partner, Abby Ballin, started LilySarahGrace in memory of his three daughters, and to celebrate what they loved most in life – the Arts.
By Matthew Badger
Lily, my oldest daughter, loved to act, dance and sing. She was shy but sparkled when it came to performing. Sarah and Grace were twins and could not have been more opposite. Sarah was highly popular in school and had a real gift socially. Grace had a healthy ego and did not seek approval. Grace would create art books, paintings, unique sculptures, and messy magic potions.
Grace and Lily were very bright but could not learn to read or write through normal methods used in Public Schools. They needed special instruction in literacy designed for children with dyslexia. The vast majority of Public and Private schools do not have these programs even though 15% of the population is Dyslexic.
When they entered Kindergarten there was a vast difference between how Lily first experienced academia and how Grace first experienced academia. It was out of these experiences that LSG was formed.
Lily loved school before she entered Kindergarten. In Kindergarten Lily was taught in the dominant method used in most schools today known as Rote Memorization and Drill. Within a short period she began to fear going to school to the point of panic. From that year on Lily referred to herself as stupid. Gracie’s teacher was Amie Schindel, who is a member of the Education Council. Amie used Arts-Infused Inquiry Based Learning. Grace excelled and came through the year with an abundance of academic knowledge. Grace retained a firm love of school through out her short life.
Gracie’s love to create was championed by Amie. This provided daily success. She learned and retained so much academic knowledge because Gracie’s preferred learning modality was provided for through Amie. Lily experienced failure, because she couldn’t keep up with the verbal dependent instruction. For kindergarteners to experience failure on a daily basis is abusive. Yet this is happening in elementary schools for millions of children. 15% of all students are dyslexic (US Government Data). That accounts for over 5 million students. 30% of all Students are literacy challenged. That accounts for 10 million students. The need for mainstream classrooms to provide for multiple pathways to learning is essential.
The Education Council
The Education Council is the heart of Lily Sarah Grace. They come from California, North Carolina, South Carolina, New York, and Connecticut. Each member volunteers their time ensure that LSG continues to support educators around the nation in providing the most positive, dynamic learning experiences for children. They designed the grants, review all applications, and are focused on how to grow the LSG Unite community to reach as many children as possible, through their teachers, parents, and other community allies.
Matthew Badger’s tragic loss of his daughters is what fueled his desire to start LilySarahGrace. Matthew saw the cutting of the Arts from Elementary Schools as tragic for children like his daughters. Therefor he created the fund to challenge classroom teachers to bring the arts and creativity back. In the fall of 2012, Abby and Matthew traveled across America filming classes of teachers who were awarded grants. It was out of this journey that the Education Council members were identified, and the mission to promote Arts Infused IBL was formed.
Sir Ken is an internationally recognized leader and bestselling author on the development of education, creativity and innovation. He, along with countless teachers, principals, and esteemed academics, has validated the mission of Lily Sarah Grace. Sir Ken was with us at the very beginning of the fund, providing his intellect to the film Universal Language and as guest speaker at the LSG on Broadway event. His friendship is priceless to LSG.
Co-Founder and Creative Director of LilySarahGrace, Abby has worked side by side with Matthew forming what LSG is today. Abby studied illustration and photography at the School of Visual Arts and later went on to work as a hair and make up artist. After witnessing firsthand the current status of public schools, and meeting the remarkable teachers that are in the front lines, Abby went on to make a lot of the films that you can see here on the website. She has devoted her time and energy to ensure that every child, no matter where they are from, gets a fair, balanced, enriched, and colorful education.
The founder of Donorschoose.org, is quite simply a saint. When he began Donorschoose.org, Charles was a history teacher in the Bronx. Today, Donorschoose.org has built a nationwide network of teachers that it serves. His site allows teachers to request projects and supplies they need for their classrooms but do not have the funds for. Teachers go through the application forms of Donorschoose.org and their project is then opened to the general public for donations. The genius behind this idea is that the teachers only need to request their supplies, and no money is exchanged.
Robert Cambria has served as the Executive Director of LSG since June 2012. A graduate of the University of Denver, he holds two Bachelors degrees. One in English Literature and the other in Italian Language and Literature.
Donors Choose is essential to LSG. Donors Choose provides the vetting of the teachers, the virtual shopping mall that the teachers shop at, and then delivers the supplies to the actual classroom. They also help us target underfunded schools by creating ads in their newsletters. They have a dedicated page for LSG where donors can contribute to specific projects.Visit our DonorsChoose Page