Amenities, Programs Added at Potential Development School

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Growth and success are swinging in the right direction at Potential Development School for Students with Autism – quite literally.

A $330,000 grant from the Hine Memorial Fund allowed the organization to build the sensory-friendly playground it long-desired on its Market Street campus. The grant also funded the renovation and equipping of four classrooms.

“It’s way more than a playground in that it serves as a safe outlet for our students to socialize, be physically active and relieve stress,” says Paul Garchar, executive director. 

The school added a food pantry last year to support some families. And a multiyear strategic plan was adopted that addresses state funding, staffing and compensation, and diversifying the nonprofit’s fundraising efforts.

“We’re offering highly specialized education with a very low student-to-teacher ratio at no cost to children on the autism spectrum, including many of the physical, speech and occupational therapies they need,” Garchar says. 

Enrollment held steady with 215 students in preschool through grade 12.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.