Endowment created for Penn State Altoona’s Sense-ational Endeavors Camp

ALTOONA –Penn State Altoona has received a gift from Philip S. and Amy Coleman Perchy of Altoona that will create the first endowed enhancement fund for the campus’ Sense-ational Endeavors camp.

The gift was presented in memory of Philip’s parents, Stuart C. and Betty J. Perchy. In addition, the Perchys made a gift that is designated for the purchase of equipment vital to the operation of the 2013 program.

The camp, part of the campus’ Summer Kids’ College, is an educational enhancement program tailored to the needs and interests of children with disabilities. Sense-ational Endeavors is the first Penn State summer camp in south-central Pennsylvania specifically designed for children with disabilities. The endowment will generate discretionary funds that camp administrators can apply to operating expenses or award as scholarships to campers in need of financial assistance.

“There can be no doubt that the generosity of benefactors changes lives and creates opportunities for the children who participate in Penn State Altoona’s educational enrichment programs such as Sense-ational Endeavors,” said Chancellor and Dean Lori J. Bechtel-Wherry. “For that, Philip and Amy Perchy and all who designate gifts for Kids’ College programs merit the respect and admiration of our entire community. On behalf of all the children who are maximizing their developmental potential and enhancing their educational experiences through participation in Sense-ational Endeavors, Penn State Altoona expresses its sincere appreciation to Philip and Amy for their ongoing support.”

Philip Perchy earned Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in education from Penn State in 1970 and 1974, respectively. Amy Perchy earned her bachelor’s degree in music education from Penn State in 1971. Both are former Penn State Altoona students.

The Perchys are benefactors of the William H. and M. Jean Coleman Endowed Scholarship that was created at Penn State Altoona in memory of Amy’s parents. The Perchys have been recognized for their philanthropic support of Penn State Altoona with induction into the Ivyside Society, established by the Penn State Altoona Advisory Board in 1987 to honor those who, through their philanthropic support and leadership, share a commitment to the continuing excellence of Penn State Altoona.

“My parents, a part of the Greatest Generation, were very fond of Ivyside Park and what later became Penn State Altoona,” said Philip Perchy. “The beautiful campus was a special place for relaxing walks, enjoying the lake and groves of trees, and also attending various campus events from time to time. My parents worked all of their lives to provide a loving home that stressed education, pride in hard work, and Christian values. My mom loved working with elementary students as a teacher aide for the Altoona Area School District. My dad was employed as a salesman, working many long hours each day. Neither of my parents was college-educated.”

“We are honored to give this gift in memory of Philip’s parents so that more children with disabilities can benefit from the numerous activities that the Sense-ational Endeavors camp is striving to provide,” said Amy Perchy. “These special activities will be enhanced by the beauty of Penn State Altoona, its staff, and this program.”

Launched in 2011 and modeled after the traditional Summer Kids’ College, Sense-ational Endeavors fosters a supportive and effective learning environment in a University setting. The program is staffed by professionals trained to work with children contending with physical, cognitive, emotional, social, and intellectual disabilities.

Sense-ational Endeavors focuses on the stimulation of the senses. The camp creates a combination of sensory activities, physical movement, and social skill development. In addition to therapeutic programs, campers engage in recreational activities and exercise tailored to their ability. All activities are modifiable for each child and his or her abilities, skills, and strengths. Guided by a multi-disciplinary approach and in the spirit of Summer Kids’ College, camp staff coordinates physical games, introduce the children to music and art therapy, and initiate activities that address life skills, social skills, and cognition.

Private support for Sense-ational Endeavors is especially vital because the camp is self-sustaining. Penn State Altoona does not receive state funding for any of its summer enrichment programs. Gifts from individuals, businesses, and corporations in support of these programs help Penn State Altoona to accommodate annual requests for financial assistance received from families who cannot afford the full cost of tuition.

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