"We were transferring to Amarillo from Lubbock and I was fortunate enough to have contacts who connected me with the PEN Project, and gave me the resources for what I needed to take from Lubbock to get her enrolled here in school," explains Victoria Sanders' mom, Meagan Sanders.
The PEN Project is a non-profit organization and is one of three federally funded parent training and information centers that help parents with children that have special needs, like Meagan and Kelly.
"We help them understand the special education process. We are not disability specific and our age group is 0 to 26 so we serve a wide variety of disabilities and ages," explains Sara McBeath, a PEN Project Regional Coordinator. She has helped many parents and children with this process. "We provide information referrals, we provide technical assistance and we also provide support to the families because when they initially come to us they are at their wits end and they need direct, quick information and a solution to the situation at hand."
"The PEN Project is free and they have some of the best educational tools in the system," Meagan says.
"I think I'm thankful for the PEN Project because they're helping us with all the ARD meeting stuff because it's hard to do," says Victoria Sanders who benefits from the PEN Project resources.
The ARD meeting, admission, review and dismissal, is a time to go over the individualized education plan at a student's school.
"They right now are helping with the transfer ARD meeting and getting her the equipment and supplies she needs to get through this year and her transition into middle school," Meagan says.
The PEN Project also teaches parents to be advocates for their children and how to network with other parents.
"I don't know where we would be without the PEN Project. There aren't a lot of organizations out there that you can reach out to and that are free, and they will definitely give you what you need and they're going to work with you just like Sara has and get us the information we need to get with the school and get what our kid deserves," states Meagan.
"Whenever you have a kiddo with special needs it's a little more difficult and a little more complicated," says Sara.
The PEN Project is hosting it's second annual parent symposium and resource fair this Saturday. Parents will have access to information on relationship development, resources in the community and much more.
2nd Annual Route 66 Parent Symposium & Resource Fair
- Paramount Baptist Church
- 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
- (806) 762-1434