Project Help celebrates holidays with families, fr...

Project Help celebrates holidays with families, friends, Santa

The jolly old elf gets a thank-you hug from a new friend during the Project Help holiday party Dec. 11 in MTSU’s Fairview Center. (photos courtesy of Project Help)

Dozens of family members, friends and supporters joined the children of MTSU’s Project Help inside the Fairview Center to welcome Santa and celebrate the season at the preschool’s recent holiday party.

“The holidays are a time for families to come together, so each year we host a holiday party to give our Project Help family an opportunity to meet and mingle,” said director Susan Waldrop.

“In the past we held the party at the Project Help center on Baird Lane,” she continued, “but in the last few years, the party has grown so much that we had to find a bigger space. If we keep growing we’ll have to find an even bigger room next year!”

Santa’s bag was filled books and candy canes for the children at the Dec. 11 event, and tables covered with holiday treats brought smiles to children and parents alike.

Project Help is an inclusive preschool that has served the MTSU and Middle Tennessee communities for nearly 30 years. At Project Help, children who have developmental delays learn and play with those who are developing typically.

Project Help’s progressive preschool serves children from 15 months to 3 years old. The new “Project Help Prep” for children ranging from 3 years old to kindergarten age currently offers a half-day, tuition-only program four days a week.

The center’s staff, which includes more than 150 student volunteers each semester, works with parents through family-support programs that include workshops, one-to-one interactions and informal training seminars.

For more details about Project Help and its services, visit You also can see more photos from the holiday party at


Project Help students practice their wish-list techniques in the Baird Lane facility with a stuffed Santa and Mrs. Claus. They met the real thing — or at least Mr. Claus — Dec. 11 at Project Help’s holiday party at the Fairview Center.

Project Help staffers gather with the guest of honor for a photo during the Dec. 11 holiday party in the Fairview Center. Seated with Santa are, from left, volunteer coordinator Kerry Boylan, teacher Lindsey Shepard and director Susan Waldrop. Standing are, from left, secretary Tricia Yeargan, teachers Mary Bowens, Celina Diaz de Morris, Bobbie Young, Tanya Estrada, Amanda Kelley, Deborah Newman and Helen Kasawne, and senior education major Paula Tran.

A little friend gets a bit wriggly waiting for a photo to be snapped with Santa as the jolly elf’s helper, MTSU senior Paula Tran, looks on at the Project Help holiday party.