(Youngstown, OH) The Hope Foundation of the Mahoning Valley recently presented a $3,000 donation check toward the funding campaign to raise $250,000 for new playground equipment for the Leonard Kirtz School, which is operated by the Mahoning County Board of Developmental Disabilities.  Efforts began in 2020 to raise money through the school’s playground project committee with various activities within the building as well as reaching out to former staff & teachers and area businesses.

The Leonard Kirtz School provides comprehensive programs and education for school age children with developmental disabilities.  The school offers related services in the areas of speech, physical therapy, and contracted occupational therapy to those students in need of intervention. Other related services available to all students include nursing, transportation, and case management.


Gina Symsek, Director of Education said “Our kids have so many different levels of disability and mobility. We want something a little more interactive and accessible for all ages and all disabilities.  The lack of playground equipment has been an issue for more than 30 years.

“This donation will make a big impact in our student’s lives as it is just one more step toward making the playground a reality for our students,” stated George Gabriel, board member of The Hope Foundation of the Mahoning Valley.

“We see the need to help these children,” said Anthony Spano, Executive Director of The Hope Foundation of the Mahoning Valley.  “The all-wheelchair accessible equipment required is extremely expensive and every donation makes an impact toward making this playground a reality for the school.”

The investment in this playground will impact hundreds of children for many, many years to come. The students, staff & teachers will be able to watch as the playground continues to grow, over time, as the donations come in.

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The Hope Foundation of the Mahoning Valley: Since 2007, our nonprofit, 501(c)(3) organization has coordinated the efforts of volunteers, funding, sponsorship partners, and a dedicated board of trustees to raise more than tens of thousands of dollars to help area children who are battling chronic and terminal illnesses. We provide charitable and financial support to local families to help improve the lives of chronically/terminally ill children and their families with money raised from donations and our signature fundraisers. For more information about The Hope Foundation please visit the website at HopeMV.org.

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