The nation’s largest broadline closeout retailer, today announced it will donate $100,000 to the Chabad House Life Town, a unique interactive world where children with special needs can develop important life and job skills through role-play.
At Life Town, children with disabilities can practice navigating the real world. Students learn the things that most people take for granted, such as how to make appointments (and keep them), present an insurance card at the doctor’s office, and make deposits and withdrawals at a bank using real money. The simulated city is currently spread throughout the former Kent Elementary building in Columbus. This fall, Life Town will move into a new, specially designed facility at the Lori Schottenstein Chabad House in New Albany, Ohio. Big Lots’ donation will help support programs at Life Town’s permanent home.
“We were looking for a charity close to the hearts of our associates and where we could make an immediate and local impact,” said Big Lots CEO Steve Fishman. “Life Town is a fantastic cause, and we are very excited to be part of such a wonderful educational and social experience for children.”
The Life Town village is part of an organization called the Friendship Circle, which links volunteers with disabled children. In the past two years, nearly 2,000 children have benefited from the learning experiences offered through the Central Ohio Life Town.
“Life Town was founded on the belief that given the right setting and the right support, children with special needs can learn the skills they need to become contributing citizens and live independently,” said Esther Kaltmann, the program’s director. “We are grateful to Big Lots for their exceptional leadership and generosity in helping children lead happier and more productive lives.”