WOY LETTER (1).docx

May 1, 2020

Dearest Family, Friends, Colleagues, and Community Members:

We want to thank all of you who purchased tickets to come and celebrate with us at Switzer Learning Center’s 2020 Women of the Year event. Each of us were so honored to have been chosen for this recognition, and were very much looking forward to rejoicing with you and sharing our future plans for continuing to better our South Bay community.

We want to help protect our community by encouraging everyone to remain “Safer at Home” because of the COVID-19 virus and recognize that many of our guests may be in a high-risk category. After speaking with staff and board members at Switzer Learning Center we all agreed that cancelling the event for this year, although disappointing, was the safest and most socially responsible decision.

Since some of you may not know what Switzer Center does, we’d like to give you a glimpse. Since 1966, Switzer Center has been uniquely dedicated to nurturing the academic, social, and emotional needs of approximately 100 special education students in 5th-12th grades annually who were not successful in public schools due to significant learning and developmental disabilities, language and communication disorders, and/or behavioral and emotional disturbances. Many of the students also experienced severe bullying and rejection by peers and family. A large majority of the students live in foster homes, kinship care, or poverty.

By the time they reach Switzer Center many have literally given up, and have walled themselves off in hopeless despair.

Then, at Switzer Center they discover passionate teachers who listen and care. They discover peers coping with the same challenges and for the first time ever, experience success! With many individualized programs to help level the playing field for students with special needs, they “believe, achieve, and thrive!”

We share this information now because COVID-19 school closures abruptly stripped away supports and services Switzer students need and replaced them with “distance learning” which is not easy when you must cope with multiple challenges. Teachers and support staff are working tirelessly to adapt programs and services to support their students as best as possible given the rapid unprecedented changes.

Like many nonprofit organizations, Switzer Center is facing financial hardship and needs our community support now. So, we graciously ask that, instead of requesting a refund for your ticket purchase, you consider donating that $75 to Switzer Center as a tax-deductible contribution in our honor. If you are also experiencing financial hardships, please don’t hesitate to request a refund. If you would like more information please contact Development Director Beth MacAller at 310-328-3611 ext. 333, or [email protected]

Please also stay tuned as Switzer Center will soon announce a unique way to virtually honor us, so that we can all celebrate in a safer format that for many is now “the new normal.”

We wish good health and positive spirits for us all to get through this difficult time safely together.

Debbie Hays, Honoree for Community Volunteerism

Mary Hoffman, Honoree for Community Spirit

Tara Nierenhausen, Honoree for Community Impact

Terry Ragins, Honoree for Community Leadership