Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Pesky’s scavenger hunt is on

Get a clue and take off running to benefit learning

Express Staff Writer

The Lee Pesky Scavenger Hunt is a test for the mind while running through Ketchum. Photo by Willy Cook

What do Thomas Jefferson, Leonardo da Vinci, Winston Churchill, Benjamin Franklin, Cher and Tommy Hilfiger all have in common? All of these public figures were diagnosed with a learning disability.

The Lee Pesky Learning Center is an Idaho nonprofit organization committed to supporting people who learn differently. Located in Boise, the center will have its eighth annual Scavenger Hunt, Dinner and Auction on Saturday, July 11, in Ketchum. The event will begin with a scavenger hunt followed by drinks, dinner and an auction at The Community School in Sun Valley. Check-in for the hunt begins at 4 p.m. in Ketchum's Town Plaza and the hunt will commence at 4:30 p.m.

"Learning disabilities do not discriminate with a family's income," said Executive Director David Holmes. "We have two clinics in the valley and we work with teachers, parents and after-school programs. We take the no-child-left-behind idea to be a meaningful one."

The center addresses learning disabilities, early literacy education, college aspirations, training and consultation for teachers and meeting changing needs.

Holmes said every child should have an equal opportunity, and programs such as College Aspirations at Bellevue Elementary School, Wood River High School and next year at the middle school are important and work.

"Parents worry about their children and what should they do," Holmes said. "The Lee Pesky Learning Center is extremely well connected with educators and professionals, as well as has state-of-the-art testing."

According to statistics from the center, 1 out of 5 people in the U.S. have a learning difference. Holmes said unidentified and unaddressed learning disabilities predict poor academic performance, frustration, dropping out of school and poor life outcomes, which can include incarceration.

"Special education is a unique commitment to society," Holmes said. "We work with kids under the umbrella of the school system. I am hopeful because there are great teachers, principals and superintendents every where, including Idaho."

The Lee Pesky Learning Center benefit will feature one-of-a-kind live auction items such as a seven-night stay in a designer's private Costa Rican getaway, a week at Governor's Harbour on Eleuthera Island in the Bahamas, a luxury New Zealand adventure with golf included at Cape Kidnappers and Kauir Cliffs.

"A partnership with the Lee Pesky Learning Center is a long-term solution," Holmes said. "And that builds a path to leadership."

In addition, the center will honor Sue Dumke and Blaine County Educator Krista Jones for their support. To register or for information, call (208) 333-0008.

Sabina Dana Plasse:

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