Supporters of the little learners of MTSU’s Ann Campbell Early Learning Center can “Saddle Up” to ride around the range when they join a drive-thru version of the annual fundraiser set for Saturday, April 17.
The nonprofit ACE Learning Center, an arm of MTSU’s College of Education, is an inclusive preschool for children 12 months to kindergarten age, with and without developmental delays, that provides an environment for them to play and learn with and from each other.
Teachers at the center plan activities that help each child develop good communication, social, cognitive and motor skills. More than 200 MTSU students work and volunteer with the children and support teachers in the center’s three classrooms during the academic year.
To keep families safer during the pandemic while still giving them a chance to put the fun in the center’s fundraising, “Saddle Up” organizers devised this year’s event with “family fun kits” and “parent packs,” filled with food and activities for all ages.
ACE Learning Center supporters can preorder their kits and packs at www.mtalumni.com/saddleup, then pick up the items between 8:30 and 10:30 a.m. Central April 17 in a safely distanced drive-thru at the center’s headquarters at 206 N. Baird Lane.
The kits feature breakfast treats, activities and access to a special online video created by the ACE Learning Center with performances and educational activities from Cowboy Dan, Moozie the Cow, Creativity in Balloons, the Discovery Center at Murfree Spring, “Stay Sustainable with Miss Stephanie” and, of course, the children of the center.
The family kits, at $15 each, include the donor’s choice of one of four Home Depot Workshop Kits, a book, coloring books and crayons, a Lowe’s garden kit, a Chick-fil-A coupon and cow, Purity milk and juice, a Krispy Kreme doughnut and more.
A $10 parent pack includes a cup of Krispy Kreme coffee and a doughnut, Purity milk and juice, and a bag packed full of parent resources.
Now in its 14th year, the Saddle Up fundraiser supports ACE Learning Center projects alongside funds from tuition, MTSU, the United Way of Rutherford and Cannon Counties, the Charity Circle of Murfreesboro and private donations.
Thanks to Saddle Up supporters, the center’s been able to update its classroom facilities, learning material and services for growing children, a task that always seems to need repeating.
One of the largest projects helped by Saddle Up fundraiser is an expansion of the ACE Learning Center’s unique wheelchair-accessible natural playground along with continuing to provide daily services for local children.
The center is named for the late Ann Campbell, a faculty member in MTSU’s Department of Elementary and Special Education, who created Project Help, one of Tennessee’s first inclusive early childhood programs, in 1983. Organizers gave the center its new name in 2014.
To learn more about Saddle Up, contact center staffer Jacob Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.mtsu.edu/acelearningcenter/saddleup.php.
For more information about the Ann Campbell Early Learning Center and its work, and to donate, visit www.mtsu.edu/acelearningcenter or call 615-898-2458.
— Gina E. Fann (email@example.com)