All Students Can Write

RELEASE DATE: July 7, 2023 – Like most 8-year-olds, Levi Hibbs spent a good part of second grade learning to write.  For Levi, this skill brings the potential for life-changing communication.  The challenge of learning to write was made easier with the help of a grant from the Great Falls Public Schools Foundation.

Son of Tucker and Cherie Hibbs, Levi attends Loy Elementary and will enter third grade in the fall.  His parents specifically chose a permissive transfer to Loy because of its strong program for special needs students.

“Levi has cerebral palsy and a global development delay,” explains Cherie.  “He uses a wheelchair, is non-verbal, and it’s very difficult for him to control his limbs.”  The combination of being non-verbal and unable to grasp a pencil makes communication especially difficult.

Keyboard Alternative

Jen Creed, an occupational therapist with Great Falls Public Schools, works with Levi and other special needs students. Last year she was awarded a grant for $2,973 to purchase a program specifically designed to help children like Levi.  It includes easy-grip letter stamps, a modified keyboard and training tools for teachers.

“Levi knows his letters, he just didn’t have a way to use them,” Cherie said.  “Now he’s learning to make words with the stamps.  He’s so locked in his body, but this gives him a whole new world and way to talk.  It changes everything for him!”

Levi is still learning to use the keyboard, but he’s slowly gaining the ability to make words and be understood – communication that hasn’t been available to him.  Cherie said she and her family are tremendously grateful both to the Foundation and to the school district for their support of students with special needs.  She said the grant allowed Jen Creed to be more creative, which is opening doors for students like Levi.

“For every grant the Foundation awards, there are students like Levi who see a direct benefit,” said Stephanie Becker, executive director of the Foundation.  “We are grateful to donors who support these programs, and remind everyone that our Win This Truck raffle proceeds support grants like these.”

Stamp writing tools

Click here to view a video that highlights the impact of these alternative writing tools. And keep an eye out for Levi.  He’s the sweet boy in the wheelchair wearing red glasses.

Thanks goes to Great Falls High video students who produced the video under the direction of Mr. Kelly Wiles. Their efforts allow us to paint a picture of the impact of our community donors.

To learn more about the Foundation and all its programs, visit our website here.

Donate A One Time Or Ongoing Scholarship For High School Graduates

Setting up an educational scholarship fund can be a meaningful way to give back to your community or to honor a loved one. There are a number of things to consider when planning a scholarship. Please contact the Foundation for assistance, we are happy to help you. Contact Stephanie Becker at [email protected] or call (406) 268-6021.