At the heart of everything we do are Lily, Sarah and Grace, three vibrant, intelligent, creative sisters, each with their own individual strengths. On Christmas day, 2011, 9-year-old Lily and her twin 7-year-old sisters Sarah and Grace, lost their lives in a fire in Stamford, Connecticut. To honor their lives, the sisters’ father started LilySarahGrace to support what his daughters loved to do most in life: art.
Lily, Sarah & Grace
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 is the heart of LilySarahGrace. 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 LSG to reach as many children as possible, through their teachers, parents, and other community allies.