Mr. VanOverloop is a member of Hudsonville Protestant Reformed Church in Hudsonville, Michigan.
On behalf of the Board, I warmly welcome you Society members and new members to this 2010 Society meeting. We thank you for your support and prayers over this past year and covet your continued support and prayers in the year to come. We above all thank our heavenly Father, who is the giver of every perfect gift.
Last year we budgeted, as a Society, to raise $104,000.00 in our Drive. This year we have had to conduct a secondary Drive to reach our goal. We are pleased that we have surpassed our goal and have received $116,500.00 in gifts. We thank you Society members for your support and generous donations and ask that you please continue prayerfully to consider this need.
We as a Board have focused this past year on different ways to broaden our base of support. This year the Publicity Committee sent an informative letter to our churches, to be published in their monthly newsletters. A pig-roast fundraiser is being planned for this coming fall. And, as individuals on the Board, we have personally asked brothers at our own congregations to consider becoming members of this Society. We also suggest that you approach men in your family, as well as friends and brothers in your congregation, to ask them to consider joining this worthy Society. We pray that more and more men in our congregations may realize their corporate responsibility in the body of believers, as we read in I Corinthians 12:14-25:
For the body is not one member, but many…. But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. And if they were all one member, where were the body? But now are they many members, yet but one body. And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary; and those members of the body, which we think to be less honorable, upon these we bestow more abundant honor; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness….That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.
The Board has been busy this past school year with school visits to Heritage, Adams, and Hope Schools. We met with our own teacher, Mrs. Karen Ensink, on a monthly basis, observing her in action in her classroom. We thank God for Karen and for the excellent job she does day in and day out. The Board offered her a contract for the 2010-2011 school year, which she has signed and accepted. Karen has five inclusion students for whom she is responsible, which adds up to preparing for around 20 classes every day. Thankfully Karen has excellent aides to assist her in this daunting task. Mrs. Tina Mingerink, Mrs. Alyssa VanBaren, and Mrs. Shelly Start deserve our thanks as well. We thank Alyssa Van Baren for her years of service, as she is planning on not returning next year. To replace her we have hired Mrs. Heidi Pipe.
Karen went to an Autism Conference in Green Bay, WI, which was very informative. This conference was led by Temple Grandin, who has autism herself. Karen came back with several practical ideas and resources to use in her own classroom.
Karen and Mrs. Mary VanOverloop report that there may be a greater need for the coming 2010-2011 school year due to potentially three students coming into kindergarten that may need Special Education assistance. Mary heads the Discovery Program (which helps 55 students) and also assists the Board in managing the Special Ed room. Mary has been so helpful and involved in setting goals for inclusion students. Mary also performs individualized, education-planning testing for numerous students in general education who need special help in various subjects. Because of a donation to the Discovery Center, Mary was able to purchase a program called “Everybody Counts.” This is a program that will be used every year as a disability awareness program for kindergarten through 8th grade. Each grade has a disability it focuses on, so by the time the students have completed their years at Heritage, they will have been exposed to simulations for different disabilities from blindness, and cognitive delays, to serious illnesses.
On March 26, 2010, through extensive efforts by Mary Van Overloop, Karen Ensink, Donna Peterson, and 25 other volunteers, a Fearfully and Wonderfully Made DisAbility Awareness Day was held at Heritage and was a success. Karen and Mary received a great response from volunteers, DC staff, and classroom teachers. Karen and Mary may present the materials at a PRTI Convention, to show the program to our other schools and make copies of the program manual available for their use. We as a Board wholeheartedly thank these ladies for their pioneer efforts and encourage our other schools to implement such a program. We thank the Lord for Karen, Mary, and all the aides here at Heritage and their dedicated labor of love for these students.
The Board met with Mrs. Sandy Kooiman, Mrs. Alva Spriensma, Mrs. Linda VanderWoude, and Mrs. Melissa Looyenga at Adams PRC School. Sandy Kooiman heads Adams’ Resource Room. Currently Adams’ Resource Room helps 31 students with learning disabilities in various subjects. Sandy continuously is looking into more efficient ways of running such an expansive program there. They had Linda Kleyn, from Elim, visit their room and give recommendations and advice for such efficiencies. From the Board’s visit it appears that Adams’ Resource Room is running very effectively and the students are benefitting from it. We thank God for these four ladies, who labor diligently in love for those who need extra help at Adams School.
The Board met with Mrs. Audrey Starrett at Hope PRC School’s ALPS room. Along with Audrey, Mrs. Helen Medema and Mrs. Marilyn Schipper help part-time in Hope’s Resource Room. Audrey helps 18 children from 2nd grade to 8th grade in a variety of different subjects. Helen heads the reading tutorial program. Helen and Marilyn are writing their own reading tutorial program. They see the need for early intervention and are volunteering their time and efforts to do just that at Hope. Mrs. Deb Kuiper has been hired to head the Discovery Center, which will start this coming school year. We thank God for these four ladies and their labor of love for those in need at Hope School.
In addition to the above three schools, we support also Covenant CHS; Faith PRCS in Randolph, WI; Eastside PRCS in Grand Rapids; and Loveland PRCS in Loveland, CO. We are able to see the wisdom of our all-wise Father in heaven to place on the hearts of our fathers and grandfathers to begin the Society for Protestant Reformed Special Education in the early 1980s, and we give thanks for this Society. We ask that you continue to pray for this Society and her needs, that the Lord would bestow His grace and mercy upon us.
On behalf of the Board, I would like to thank the retiring Board members, Mr. Herm DeVries and Mr. Bryant VanOverloop, for their years of service on the Board. Your labors have been greatly appreciated. We look forward to working with the new Board members, Mr. Jim Van Overloop and Mr. Jordan VanderKolk. Those presently serving on the Board are Mr. Dave Rau (president), Mr. Eugene Kamps (vice-all), Mr. Bern Zandstra, Mr. Brandon Van Overloop (treasurer), and Mr. Deane Wassink.
In conclusion, we ask that you continue to pray for the Board, the Society, and all involved in the training of the special covenant seed that God has given to us to care for, for a time. We take comfort that we are not our own but belong to our faithful Father in heaven, who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above what we could ask or think, and who knows our needs before we even ask. We thank and praise Him for all His many blessings.