w Editor's Note: This month the Herald is featuring a series of stories on the Holiday Wish Lists of nonprofits across the Mid-Columbia and how you can help.
The children served by the Children's Developmental Center in south Richland have diverse needs.
Some require regular physical therapy or need help eating because they dislike the textures of some foods. And many of the center's families face financial struggles, with more than half living below the poverty line.
"We have families that don't have a lot of resources," said Jan Hansens, the center's development director.
Located at Highway 240 and Columbia Center Boulevard, the center works with about 700 children, from newborns to 3-year-olds, who have developmental delays and challenges.
Some children come to the center for treatment and therapy, Hansens said, but there are also classes for those who care for the children each day.
"They not only work with the child, they work with the parents," she said.
However, federal law requires the center and its staff work with 90 percent of its clients in their "natural environment," typically their home or daycare. No money is provided to cover the expense of home visits, which costs the center about $50,000 a year in gas, Hansens said.
The center has an annual budget of about $1.2 million, much of it coming from school districts, insurance companies and the United Way. About a quarter of the center's funding comes from donations and fundraisers and pays for everything from office supplies to items used in treatment and therapy.
Puppets with mouths that open, textured and board books and toys for babies and toddlers are on the center's wish list this holiday season.
But it's the office needs -- legal pads, printer paper, file folders and sticky note pads -- that help the most, Hansens said
"Every dollar we save on that type of thing keeps the available funds focused on our kids," she told the Herald.
The center, at 1549 Georgia Ave. SE, can be reached at 509-735-1062 or online at www.childrensdevelopmentalcenter.org.
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