Local News

Agency helps children reach milestones

There's a plastic toy in front of Kaitlyn Hardesty, 2, at Russell Child Development Center. Once Kaitlyn places a key in the front of the box-shaped toy, she takes out different shapes -- a triangle, a circle and a square.

Date: 12/31/1969

Posted by Russell Child Development Center on 11/16/2009

By MONICA SPRINGER msrpinger@gctelegram.com"Oh wow," the 2-year-old exclaims. Kaitlyn picks up another toy. She presses a button and different animals pop up. "What does a cow say?" Cure asks her. Kaitlyn hesitates, then smiles. "Moo," she answers.  (Brad Nading/Telegram Staci Cure, right, of Russell Child Development Center, helps Kaitlyn Hardesty, 2, find the correct shaped hole Thursday as Kaitlyn's mom, Elizabeth Reichmuth, helps hold the toy during a session at RCDC. The organization receives some of its funding from the United Way.)Reichmuth said she's been using Russell Child Development Center for about a year. When her daughter was about a year old, she was behind in her speech and wasn't walking yet. In the year that Kaitlyn has worked with Russell Child, she's started walking and talks more, Reichmuth said. Reichmuth said she and her daughter work with Cure every other week. Russell Child is one of 21 service organizations that will be receiving funds from the Finney County United Way in 2010. Russell Child will receive $22,000, about 1.5 percent of its budget. Deanna Berry, director of Russell Child, said the money will help pay staff salaries for early childhood special education teachers. Berry said that last year, Russell Child served 284 children in Finney County. The service is free to families. The staff at Russell Child serve a variety of children, including those with vision loss, hearing loss and developmental delays. Berry said the staff also helps parents with interventions and different activities for their child. For Reichmuth, Russell Child provides support by showing her different techniques with how to deal with her daughter's temper tantrums and how to help with expanding her vocabulary. "They've helped me out a lot," Reichmuth said, adding that her daughter is now imitating the words she hears from others. "I appreciate everything they've done. She talks more. She walks. I've noticed attitude change." Toward the end of the session, Kaitlyn reaches for Cure from her seat. The two share a hug that lasts a few moments, then Cure gently swings the little girl around in her arms. Kaitlyn giggles. "Kaitlyn's fortunate to have a mom willing to do whatever is best for her. Kaitlyn is making gains in her life because of that," Cure said. Other organizations receiving United Way funding in 2010 are: United Methodist Mexican-American Ministries, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Finney and Kearny Counties, Community Day Care, Emmaus House, Spirit of the Plains CASA, Catholic Social Service, Garden City Area Chapter of the Red Cross, The Garden City Family YMCA, Salvation Army, Kansas Children's Service League Head Start, United Cerebral Palsy of Kansas, Miles of Smiles, Family Crisis Services Inc., Meals on Wheels, Southeast Asian Mutual Assistance Association, Smart Start, The Garden City Recreation Commission Playground Program, Retired Senior Volunteer Program, Santa Fe Trail Council Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts of Kansas Heartland.Russell Child Development CenterContact: Deanna Berry, directorAddress: 714 Ballinger St.Hours: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.Phone: 275-0291

For more information: www.rcdc4kids.org