Season of Wishes: Pleasant Acre learning center cares for adults with special needs
NATCHEZ — The Christmas time gifts the community provide helps the Pleasant Acre Day School operate year round.
Pleasant Acre is a learning center for adults with special needs — students who will always need a sheltered environment, school director Mary Ann Foggo-Eidt said.
“We are totally supported by the community,” she said. “We do not receive any state, federal, city, county or local support in a structured way. We operate strictly on donations and the generosity of the community, especially around Christmastime.”
While the school does recycle Mardi Gras beads year round and operates a thrift store on Fridays, Foggo-Eidt said the school would not make it without community donations.
At the school, Foggo-Eidt said they provide a sheltered location where the students can learn.
“We stress life skills and life enrichment to let them enjoy their life to the fullest,” she said. “We also go on trips. We just got through taking the students on a little trip to Biloxi. All your generosity helps us take these special trips, which enhances their lifestyle.”
Several years ago, Foggo-Eidt said the school was fortunate enough to have the community come through with an anonymous donation to enable Pleasant Acre to purchase a bus.
“Unfortunately the bus is beginning to have a lot of issues,” Foggo-Eidt said. “We are looking at the possibility to upgrade this to make it more functional without extra problems that this old van has.
“That is our biggest wish — we need to upgrade our handicapped bus.”
Other than the bus, Foggo-Eidt said donations also help with continued operation of the school, including the building.
Foggo-Eidt said the school opened in 1959 and is celebrating its 58th year.
“We have been part of the community for such a long time,” Foggo-Eidt said. “We are so thankful for the support.”
One aspect of the school that is important is it allows the students to be together, Foggo-Eidt said.
“Without Pleasant Acre, there would not be anywhere for these special needs adults to be able to interact with each other,” she said. “It also gives their parents a respite. It is a win-win for the parents as well as the special needs adults.”
To donate, you can call the school at 601-442-2264 and ask for Foggo-Eidt or mail a check to P.O. Box 1362, Natchez, MS, 39121.
The school’s Some-N-Special Shop is open each Friday and has a variety of items for purchase.
Foggo-Eidt said the community donates items for the school to sell at the shop. She said items could be brought to the store any time Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Foggo-Eidt said the school always has Mardi Gras beads.
“We have had a lot of people who have already come by to pick up beads for the Christmas parade,” she said.
Pleasant Acre is located at 335 Liberty Road.