The families of 13 children received life-changing pieces of assistive technology on Tuesday during another joyful Kosair Charities enTECH Day of Celebration at Spalding University.

Participating families of children who face cognitive challenges and physical differences applied for the devices through Spalding’s Kosair Charities Enabling Technologies of Kentuckiana (enTECH), assistive technology resource center and its Kosair Charities Lending Library and Financial Assistance Program.

There was no shortage of smiles as Kosair Charities President Keith Inman handed out the assistive technology devices to the children and their families, most of whom would not have been able to purchase the equipment on their own or through their health insurance.

The devices included Apple iPads and Pencils, an interactive printer, a swing, eye gaze applications, and switch toys. They will provide therapeutic, educational and sensory benefits and will help the children with communication, speech and play.

Keith Inman presents an assistive technology gift to an enTECH client
Keith Inman presents an assistive technology gift to a young enTECH client.

“Ninety-eight years ago, Kosair Charities was created for one reason, and that was to help children overcome  obstacles and reach their full potential,” Inman said. “I am loving the laughter I hear today, because this is what it is all about it. That is what happens here at enTECH. Miracles happen here. … I want to thank Spalding for all you do. It’s easy to love this place. This is the best day of my year.”

EnTECH, which is a division of Spalding’s Auerbach School of Occupational Therapy, has increased its therapy staff in recent months and now has speech therapists, occupational therapists and physical therapists ready to provide services and introduce young clients to the center’s array of assistive technology.

Learn more about enTECH’s services and staff at

“Having enTECH here at Spalding truly lives out our mission, and it allows us therapists to students from our (occupational therapy doctorate) program as well as the children that we serve thrive and meet the goals they have to engage in life to its fullest,” Auerbach School of Occupational Therapy Chair Dr. Sara Story said. “We’re excited for this Christmas in July opportunity and to have our therapists be able to come alongside these families and fulfill our mission.”

The Kosair Charities enTECH Day of Celebration was the latest memorable occasion in a 25-year philanthropic partnership between Kosair Charities and Spalding. Kosair Charities has supported a range of capital projects and academic programs and initiatives at Spalding that will positively impact children and pediatric healthcare.

Just last week, Kosair Charities announced a $2 million grant in support of the new Kosair Charities School of Physical Therapy and Center for Interprofessional Education at Spalding.

OT Chair Dr. Sara Story and the enTECH therapy staff
Spalding OT Chair Dr. Sara Story, left, and the enTECH therapy staff at the enTECH Day of Celebration.




On Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020, Spalding University and Kosair Charities announced the 2021 cohort of the Kosair Charities Leadership Development Institute – an innovative yearlong professional development and executive coaching program at Spalding for nonprofit leaders. Learn more about the 20 nonprofit leaders in the upcoming class below:

STACY BAILEY-NDIAYE, Executive Director, Bridge Kids International

About the organization: Bridge Kids International uses the power of African heritage culture to create communities that support the well-being of young people.  We help young people develop their own solutions to community challenges and build positive relationships between African, African-American, Caribbean and other African Diaspora groups for the purposes of friendship, cooperation, and individual and community empowerment.

On being part of the Kosair Charities LDI: “I was honored to be asked to participate in LDI.  I am excited to build my capacity to lead from my strengths, develop a strong and balanced team, and incorporate sound business strategies to grow my organization.”

KARINA BARILLAS, Executive Director, La Casita Center

About the organization: La Casita Center is a community of Latinx Hospitality. We are a grassroots nonprofit located in Louisville, accompanying families in the Latinx community.  Our mission is to empower these families, providing a foundation for systemic change with long-term effects.

On being part of the Kosair Charities LDI: “I am honored to have been invited to participate and to be part of the KCLDI.  I am looking forward to acquiring new knowledge, participating and strategizing the steps for La Casita to go to the next level.  I am also very excited to meet amazing nonprofit people in my cohort, and learn from them as well.”

**NEWS RELEASE | Announcing the Spalding’s 2021 Kosair Charities LDI class

KAITLIN BLESSIT, Executive Director, Marty’s Orchid House

About the organization: Marty’s Orchid House is a therapeutic and health-focused day center for preschoolers with autism, sensory processing disorders and overlapping health conditions. We offer all day services for working parents of high-risk children, including skilled pediatric nursing care, adapted curriculum, therapeutic services and nutritional support.

On being part of the Kosair Charities LDI: “What an honor to be chosen for the Kosair Charities Leadership Development Institute! I am thrilled to have the opportunity to learn from the best of the best. I look forward to learning about my own leadership style analysis so I can maximize my strengths strategically and become aware of areas needing more strength and balance to boost my organization to excellence. We all have the ability and great responsibility to continuously develop ourselves professionally to support our organizational mission and vision. In order to best serve our community, we must first begin with ourselves.”

MARLAND COLE, Executive Director, Evolve502

About the organization: Evolve502 is a public-private partnership working to ensure that every child in Louisville is prepared for college, a career and a successful, productive life.  Evolve502 does this work by convening and organizing community partners to better link youth to resources to ensure academic success and by providing access and funding to pursue a postsecondary education, beginning with the Jefferson County Public Schools class of 2021. Focusing on systems, scholarships and supports, Evolve502 is committed to removing and mitigating the systemic barriers of poverty and racism, and to ensure an educated, growing and vibrant community where all citizens can prosper.

On being part of the Kosair Charities LDI: “I am honored to be selected as a Kosair Charities LDI participant. I am looking forward to gaining new tools and perspectives that will enable me to grow in my leadership role. I also appreciate the opportunity to build a network of relationships with other nonprofit thought leaders who share similar experiences and challenges.”

MEGAN COOPER, Executive Director, Camp Hendon

About the organization: Camp Hendon supports children with Type 1 Diabetes and their families through summer camp, weekend retreats and other year-round events. We empower our campers and their families by providing the tools, guidance and camaraderie they need to take control of their journey with diabetes.

On being part of the Kosair Charities LDI: “I am really honored and excited to be a part of the Kosair Charities LDI at Spalding. As a young professional with only a few years of nonprofit experience under my belt, I am looking forward to honing my leadership skills, gaining greater confidence in myself as a leader, and tapping into all of this for the benefit of Camp Hendon.”

ARTHUR COX, Executive Director, St. George’s Scholar Institute

About the organization: The St. George’s Scholar Institute (SGSI) is a youth development agency that provides quality, out-of-school programming for social, emotional and academic learning to vulnerable youth in the California neighborhood and surrounding neighborhoods. Our mission is to Embrace, Educate and Empower youth in Louisville.

On being part of the Kosair Charities LDI: “I was honored to know that I was selected to take part in the Kosair Charities Leadership Development Institute. The distinction came at a pivotal time in my career. I look forward to learning about myself, my assets and deficiencies and how I can best lead the team I’m a part of.”

JENNIE JEAN DAVIDSON, Executive Director, Neighborhood House

About the organization: Neighborhood House is a whole-family community center serving the neighborhoods of Louisville’s West End. We serve families from the twinkle to the wrinkle! That includes a world-class child development center, a robust youth program (currently providing all-day NTI support to four classrooms of Jefferson County Public Schools students), a family engagement and family coaching program, a senior program (which is safely virtual during the pandemic), and an emergency food bank.

On being part of the Kosair Charities LDI: “I am excited to bring new tools to Neighborhood House to help us increase our impact and our ability to ensure that families are better off as we enter our 125th year serving kids and families in Louisville.”

EMILIE DYER, Program Director, Americana World Community Center

About the organization: Americana World Community Center is bridging the gap from surviving to thriving for Louisville’s refugee, immigrant and underserved populations through education, family support, youth achievement, and career and financial development.

On being part of the Kosair Charities LDI: “I am excited to be part of the unique professional learning opportunity provided by the Kosair Charities LDI. I believe this training will allow me to further develop my professional network and build my finance and advancement skills for nonprofit management.”

EDWIN FOX, Tutoring Program Coordinator, First Gethsemane Center for Family Development

About the organization: First Gethsemane Center for Family Development Inc. has provided our youth with several Out-of-School-Time Academic Enhancement Programs, which include summer enrichment camps, free spring/fall after-school tutoring, robotics workshops and Saturday ACT prep workshops. We focus on improving reading comprehension, mathematics and writing skills for the youth.

On being part of the Kosair Charities LDI: “I was very excited to be selected for the Kosair Charities Leadership Development Institute. This is an opportunity to learn how to enhance and improve the daily operation of our organization in providing life-changing academic support to youth in our community.”

TANISHA “TISH” FREDERICK, Founder, BAYA (Beautiful As You Are)

About the organization: The BAYA (Beautiful As You Are) program provides self-esteem building services for girls ages 6-18.  We serve as an after-school program for some JCPS schools, Boys and Girls Club and the Cabbage Patch Settlement House, to name a few.  The “BAYA Center,” located in Clarksville, Indiana, provides weekly interactive self-esteem building workshops and activities to girls and their families at little to no cost.  Our overall goal is to teach girls to cope with stress in a positive way and to love themselves unconditionally.

On being part of the Kosair Charities LDI: “My initial reaction was shock and excitement! I couldn’t believe I was chosen to be in a class with so many excellent nonprofit leaders. I am looking forward to growing as a leader, stretching myself mentally and being challenged by the curriculum in this program.  I have high expectations that when I graduate from this program I will be in a better position to take our organization to the next level and truly build sustainability as a nonprofit.”

SONJA GREY, Executive Director, ECHO (Exploited Children’s Health Organization)

About the organization: For over 30 years, ECHO’s mission has been dedicated to preventing and reducing the incidences and impact of child abuse by providing education, advocacy and support services to the children and families of Metro Louisville. ECHO provides comprehensive and evidence-based prevention education. Our program provides educational information about child abuse prevention and is targeted for children and youth, youth-serving organizations and concerned adults. The program helps to empower the voices of children and seeks to create a stronger and safer community for all.

On being part of the Kosair Charities LDI: “My reaction to being selected for this program was pure excitement! I am honored to have been selected to participate with such an elite group of community leaders. I am most looking forward to cultivating new relationships with my classmates, learning new tools or skills from experts, and ways to engage with each other. With this experience, I want to continue to learn about myself and how I can be the most effective, compassionate leader for ECHO and the community.”

SARAH HALFACRE, Executive Director, Green Hill Therapy

About the organization: Green Hill Therapy’s mission is to help children reach their full potential through proven playful intervention. We accomplish this by providing highly specialized and individualized Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy services.

On being part of the Kosair Charities LDI: “The Kosair Charities Leadership Development Institute at Spalding makes me extremely hopeful for the future as it sets all of our organizations up for success. I am eager to further develop and implement the essential skills of leadership so that I can best position Green Hill Therapy to help children in our community. This is an extraordinary opportunity that promotes networking and cooperation between nonprofits in our area.”

JOE MCCOMBS, Director of Operations, enTECH at Spalding University

About the organization: Kosair Charities Enabling Technologies of Kentuckiana – or enTECH – is one of five assistive technology resource centers (ATRC) in the state that receive funding from the Kentucky Assistive Technology Network (KATS) to assist those in need of durable medical equipment and communication devices that enhance the quality of life for individuals across the lifespan. A division of Spalding University’s Auerbach School of Occupational Therapy, enTECH also partners with Kosair Charities to support medically fragile children and others to overcome barriers with mobility and communication.

On being part of the Kosair Charities LDI: “It is an honor and a privilege to be a part of the Kosair Charities Leadership Development Institute, and I am extremely thankful for the opportunity to be included in this cohort. I look forward to collaborating with my colleagues and to learning more about the how’s and why’s that make their organizations successful.”

KATHY MULLEN, Director of Education, VIPS Louisville

About the organization: Visually Impaired Preschool Services (VIPS) providers early intervention services and educational consultation for children who are blind or visually impaired. We are statewide providers across Kentucky and Indiana. In Kentucky, we serve children aged birth to 5 years, and in Indiana, we serve children aged birth to 3. We serve children in their homes and the community, coaching parents on how to fully include their child in their family life and to prepare them for their next educational setting. We have offices in Louisville (headquarters); Lexington, Kentucky; and Indianapolis. Our Louisville campus is home to VIPS Kids Town Preschool, of which Kosair Charities is a major supporter.  Kids Town Preschool is recognized internationally as a premier center for educating young children who are blind or visually impaired.

On being part of the Kosair Charities LDI: “I humbly acknowledge that others recognize me as a leader in the field of early intervention. Participating in LDI will help me confirm that recognition comes from my leadership skills and experience and not my age. As a lifelong learner, I am truly honored and extremely excited about being selected for the second LDI class. Very grateful, too!”

CHRISTINA POOLE, Founder/President, City Schoolhouse

About the organization: We are a private neighborhood school serving children ages 6 months to 12 years where ability to pay does not infringe on a family’s access to attend our school. There are three main factors that distinguish City Schoolhouse from other schools. First, we educate the whole child with an individualized learning plan. Second, we use a two-generation approach to education. Third, our schoolhouse model is intentionally designed to be close to the people it serves.

On being part of the Kosair Charities LDI: “I was honored to be selected to participate in the LDI at Spalding! I believe it is a great opportunity to connect with other nonprofits and leaders in the community. I look forward to developing more leadership skills to carry our organization’s mission far and wide and for many years to come!”

KISH CUMI PRICE, Director of Education Policy and Programming, Louisville Urban League

About the organization: The Louisville Urban League is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, community service organization dedicated to eliminating racism and its adverse impacts on our community

On being part of the Kosair Charities LDI: “I am excited to be in great company with some of the city’s most impactful leaders as we prepare to learn from each other and benefit from the personal and professional development opportunities offered by the Kosair Charities Leadership Development Institute at Spalding.”

KATHERINE SIX, Executive Director, Educational Justice

About the organization: Educational Justice strives to end educational inequity by pairing a fifth- to eighth-grade student with a high-achieving high school student for long-term academic mentorship aimed at both improving academic performance and providing a meaningful student leadership experience.

On being part of the Kosair Charities LDI: “My honest first reaction to being selected for the Kosair Charities Leadership Development Institute at Spalding was honor and excitement, quickly followed by reservation of not knowing if I would have the time to dedicate to the institute in this particularly challenging season due to COVID-19. However, after the first meeting with the program directors and other participants, I knew this was the exact time to participate in this opportunity. Now more than ever as a young leader, I need the lessons in leadership and communication that this institute will provide so that I can better support the rest of the Educational Justice staff who are working tirelessly to provide students throughout Louisville with the academic assistance they deserve.”

DAVID WEATHERSBY, Chief Operating Officer, Seven Counties Services

About the organization: Seven Counties Services is a community mental health center and provides behavioral health services to the people of the seven counties region surrounding Louisville.  We serve people with issues related to mental health, addictions, and intellectual and developmental challenges.  Our mission is to help people find and reach their potential.

On being part of the Kosair Charities LDI: “I am grateful and excited to have this opportunity and look forward to learning all about strengths-based and possibility-driven leadership.”

PATRICIA WILLIAMS, President and CEO, Wesley House Community Services

About the organization: Wesley House Community Services is a cornerstone nonprofit 501(c)(3) institution serving Louisville Metro and surrounding areas for more than 117 years. Our programs include early child development, Out-of-School Time services for youth and economic empowerment resources for adults. We provide direct services to our communities’ most marginalized and economically vulnerable populations.

On being part of the Kosair Charities LDI: “I am delighted to be a part of the 2021 KCLD cohort. I look forward to accessing knowledge about my leadership style that will allow me to leverage it as a resource to drive our agency’s mission forward. I’m super excited to share this opportunity with a table of phenomenal leaders.”

LORI WILSON, Executive Director, Carriage House Educational Services

About the organization: Carriage House Educational Services provides inclusive preschool and early intervention ABA group services to children ages 2-6 years. We also provide home- and community-based behavior intervention services through the Michelle P. Waiver.

On being part of the Kosair Charities LDI: “I was honored to be selected to participate in Kosair Charities Leadership Development Institute at Spalding University. I am looking forward to enhancing my leadership skills and applying what I learned to our organization.”

The pandemic may have forced it to take place over a video conference instead of in person, but the physical distance didn’t prevent Thursday’s Kosair Charities and enTECH Virtual Day of Celebration from living up to its name in the joyful, celebratory spirit of the holiday season.

Leaders from Spalding University and Kosair Charities joined the online call to meet the families that are receiving gifts of assistive technology for their children who face physical challenges and cognitive differences.

The gifts, to be distributed in the coming weeks through enTECH and its Kosair Charities Financial Assistance Program, will provide the children with therapeutic, educational and sensory benefits and help them with communication, speech, mobility and play.

enTECH Overview| Visit home page of the assistive technology resource center

The gifts included Apple iPads with the latest assistive-technology apps and accessories, switch toys, floatation devices that help with bathing, and communication and writing tools. The devices and apps are often not covered by insurance and can very expensive if purchased out of pocket.

Brittany Farris was thankful that her 23-month-old daughter, Leah, would being receiving a series of specialized switch toys to help her play.

“Most toys that are typical for a child her age, she just cannot play with,” Brittany Farris said. “It’s been one of those things where we’re like, ‘How can we get her switch toys?’ Insurance does not want to pay for play things for children sometimes. So it’s been quite difficult to get some of these items, and we’re just truly so appreciative of each and every item. And I promise we will utilize them and really appreciate what you guys are doing.”

Shamenda Harper Livingston said her sixth-grade son Kinjay would benefit from the LAMP Words for Life communications app he’d be receiving, adding that he has been thriving as an honor-roll student at Johnson Traditional Middle School. Additionally, Kinjay’s new Apple Pencil “will really help him make his letters and writing a little better and more legible,” his mom said.

The Kosair Charities Enabling Technologies of Kentuckiana assistive technology resource center – or enTECH, for short – is a division of Spalding’s Auerbach School of Occupational Therapy and is located on Spalding’s campus at 812 S. Second St. in the former Kosair Shrine Temple. It is one of five state-designated assistive technology resource centers in Kentucky, and it offers a range of therapy services. Kosair Charities is a major supporter of its programs and facilities.

“This partnership with Spalding is so important because Spalding is not afraid to think big and bold, and that’s what we need in this world: big and bold thinking,” Kosair Charities President Keith Inman said. “So this is going to be a partnership that’s going to last a long, long time.

“… We’re just honored that we we have the ability to do the little piece that we can do because what you do at Spalding and enTECH, top to bottom, that’s hard work. For 97 years, we have had one goal, and that’s to help children overcome some significant obstacles to reach their full potential. And nowhere is this more evident than on this call.”

Spalding President Tori Murden McClure said that in a year in which the pandemic had limited the joy of so much, Thursday’s virtual celebration with Kosair Charities and enTECH was a return to fun.

“This event (is an occasion in which) we give really important technology and mobility tools to the young ones in a setting where you’re just thrilled to see them, and see the families and the joy and the relief and the fun,” McClure said. “And so I just want to, say, I really love our Kosair Charities partners, and I love enTECH.”

Watch the video of the full Kosair Charities and enTECH Day of Celebration below:

Telehealth uses information and communication technologies to enable healthcare providers to connect with patients at a distance. While telehealth has been slowly gaining traction in healthcare for more than two decades, the Coronavirus is proving to be a tipping point. Social distancing, along with school and clinic closures, has necessitated the use of telehealth to provide health-related services.

Spalding University is nurturing innovation in the areas of both telehealth and distance education.

In 2008, I partnered with Kosair Charities’ Enabling Technologies of Kentuckiana (enTECH) assistive technology resource center, a state-designated assistive technology resource center located on Spalding’s campus,  to develop a pilot telehealth program that provided occupational therapy services to young children in rural Kentucky. This was funded through a grant by the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky.  I’m proud that this early research, as well as my work with national and international organizations, has contributed to the global advancement of telehealth.

RELATED | Faculty Focus Friday Q&A with Dr. Jana Cason
RELATED | Dr. Cason, expert on telehealth, honored for innovative practice in OT
VIDEO | Watch one of Dr. Cason’s recent lectures on telehealth

Other Spalding faculty and staff who are fluent in telehealth are preparing students “to meet the needs of the times” – a tenet of Spalding’s mission. Here are examples of other ways the university is embracing telehealth delivery and educating students about it:

  • Dr. Norah Chapman, Associate Professor in the School of Professional Psychology, has evaluated evidence-based telepsychology interventions.
  • Students pursuing the Auerbach School of Occupational Therapy’s Assistive and Adaptive Technology Certificate or post-professional Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) degree can acquire telehealth competencies through an interdisciplinary online course – Introduction to Telehealth.  Students learn about telehealth terminology, technologies, standards and guidelines, practice considerations, clinical applications and telehealth outcome research.
  • All Spalding graduate students in a health-related field will have the opportunity to take the course, Introduction to Telehealth, as an elective beginning in Fall 2020. In addition, telehealth-related educational content for healthcare administrators, clinical directors, and undergraduate students is on a fast-track development.
  • Spalding is also meeting the needs of the times via its on-campus Comprehensive Outpatient Rehabilitation Facility (CORF), which provides coordinated, multidisciplinary rehabilitation services. In response to the coronavirus and need for social distancing, CORF administrators are exploring telehealth as a way to continue to provide high-quality physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy and social work services.
  • The School of Professional Psychology’s Center for Behavioral Health is also implementing telehealth services.  Additionally, the School of Professional Psychology is making telehealth delivery available to all practicum students for continuity of care.

The coronavirus has necessitated the rapid adoption of telehealth across all healthcare sectors.  As a result, it has forever changed the landscape of how health-related services are delivered.

Spalding University is proud to live its mission as “a diverse community of learners dedicated to meeting the needs of the times.” Assuring that our students in health-related fields are provided with opportunities to graduate as competent users of telehealth is just one of the many ways we are fulfilling our mission and meeting the needs of the times.

The future is now, and Spalding is leading the way.

Dr. Jana Cason, DHSc, OTR/L, FAOTA, is a professor in the Auerbach School of Occupational Therapy. She was the recipient of the 2019 Emerging and Innovative Practice Award by the American Occupational Therapy Association for her work and research on telehealth in OT.

Spalding University’s enTECH center, Kosair Charities and the families of nine children enjoyed a happy holiday gathering on Wednesday during the second annual enTECH Day of Celebration. Gifts of assistive-technology devices and toys were distributed to the children, who range from 2 to 16 years old and who all face physical or cognitive challenges.

The gift distribution was made possible through the support of Kosair Charities. After enTECH therapist Alison Amschoff announced the recipients and explained how the children would benefit from the devices, Kosair Charities President Keith Inman and Board Chair Hugh I “H.” Stroth were on hand at enTECH to deliver the gifts.

The participating families applied for the devices through enTECH and its Kosair Charities Lending Library and Financial Assistance Program. The assistive-technology gifts, which included iPads and iPad accessories and various other switch toys, provide therapeutic, educational and sensory benefits and help with communication and play.

“I just want people to know that enTECH is a really significant part of this community for families who have kids with disabilities,” said Eric Wright, whose teenage daughters, Ella and Elsie, received an iPad and Apple Pencil on Wednesday. “Their advocacy and what they do for parents in the realm of therapy and the realm of assistive technology is truly amazing. I’ve been blessed to be able to have this for my family. We love the therapists we’ve worked with, particularly Alison, who we’ve known since Ella (who’s now 16) was 2 years old.”


Wright said assistive-technology devices like the ones that were distributed on Wednesday can be expensive for families to purchase and may be difficult or impossible to acquire through insurance.

He said Ella’s old iPad, which she relies on to communicate because she is nonverbal, constantly freezes up but that it was unlikely the family would have replaced it anytime soon.

“To have Kosair Charities partner up with Spalding and enTECH to make this gift happen is really amazing,” he said. “This makes a big difference for us, particularly as we move into the new year.”

The Kosair Charities Enabling Technologies of Kentuckiana (or enTECH) assistive technology resource center is a division of the Spalding University Auerbach School of Occupational Therapy. EnTECH is one of five state-designated assistive technology resource centers in Kentucky. Its mission is to create assistive technology solutions to meet the needs of the times through the enhancement of all people’s participation in everyday life activities. Its Lending Library provides families or individuals the opportunity to rent or be loaned pieces of assistive technology.

Spalding, Kosair Charities and enTECH officials posed families at enTECH
Officials from Spalding, Kosair Charities and enTECH gathered with the families who received gifts at the enTECH Day of Celebration, Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2019.

Spalding University, enTECH and Kosair Charities helped make this early part of the holiday season bright on Tuesday for the families of six children who face special challenges.

Surrounded by holiday decorations and gathered by the tree at the Kosair Charities Enabling Technologies of Kentuckiana (enTECH) Assistive Technology Resource Center, those families received gifts of assistive technology that will help the children learn, play and communicate. The devices were distributed to families who applied through the enTECH and Kosair Charities Financial Assistance Program, which is supported by a grant from Kosair Charities.

Kosair Charities President Keith Inman was on hand to deliver the devices to a thankful group of kids and their parents.

“Any kind of help we can get is a true blessing,” said Heather Vanover, whose 9-year-old son, Hunter, who has Poland syndrome and autism, received a Buddy Bike tandem bicycle that he can ride with a parent.

Hunter has been coming to enTECH and Kosair Charities Integrated Technology Experience (KITE) camps for most of his life and has worked with enTECH therapist Alison Amshoff since he was an infant.

“Good job, bud!” Amshoff told Hunter as he climbed on the bike. “Look at you go!”

The bicycle will help Hunter work on his balance and develop his core strength while, above all, enabling him to interact with his family and experience the joy of bike rides with them, Heather Vanover said.

“Every parent wants their child to gain access to as much as they can or to learn as much as they can,” Amshoff said. “Through the support from Kosair Charities, we’re able to have materials and to have technology to offer these families so that their children can have the maximum potential.”

Brantly Grienenberger, 5, received a Tobii Dynavox Indi speech tablet device that will help him communicate with his family. Brantly has been nonverbal his whole life and has a neurological disability, his father, John, said, though doctors have so far not been able to give an exact diagnosis. That has led to limitations in the family’s insurance as far as obtaining assistive technology.

Using the gift from enTECH and Kosair Charities, Brantly is able to make gestures or point to images or buttons on the device to help express that he’s hungry, thirsty, wants to play or has another desire.

The device “has advanced our son’s quality of life by giving him a voice,” John Grienenberger wrote in his application for the program.

“It’s awesome,” John Grienenberger added on Tuesday. “We’re so happy about it. It’ll help us out a lot.”

Other families received Apple iPads that can be installed with an array of apps that are designed for children who face special challenges.

The enTECH Kosair Charities Financial Assistance Program is part of an outreach program from the enTECH Lending Library. The Lending Library provides families or individuals the opportunity to rent or be loaned pieces of assistive technology and give them a try, helping inform their decision before they make what is usually a significant purchase.

Spalding and enTECH encourage members of the public who need assistive technology to give the Lending Library a look.

“It allows families to see if a certain type of technology will benefit their child and how it can improve skills in their life and benefit the family,” Amshoff said.

Related: Find out more about the Lending Library and other enTECH services

enTECH, located at 812 S. Second St., is a division of Spalding’s Auerbach School of Occupational Therapy (ASOT) and is one of five state-designated assistive technology resource centers in Kentucky. Last spring, enTECH expanded with the unveiling of the Kosair Charities Virtual Immersive Playground, a clean, open space that’s loaded with assistive technology and sensory devices that are therapeutic, entertaining and educational for children with special needs.

Related: Spalding, enTECH unveil ‘stunning’ Virtual Immersive Playground

Spalding’s graduate-level occupational therapy students use enTECH and the three-times-a-year KITE camps as a training ground for interacting with pediatric clients.

The Auerbach School of Occupational Therapy graduate program now offers an entry-level doctorate in occupational therapy (OTD). It is accessible to any student with a bachelor’s degree in any field.

Related: Learn more about the Auerbach School of Occupational Therapy

A young boy holding a gift bag smiles while standing next to a Christmas tree, Kosair Charities President Keith Inman, enTECH therapist Alison Amshoff and Spalding Advancement Chief Bert Griffin
Kosair Charities President Keith Inman distributed assistive technology gifts to youngsters during the enTECH Lending Library celebration as Spalding Chief Advancement Officer Bert Griffin and enTECH therapist Alison Amshoff look on.

Spalding University announced Wednesday, Sept. 5, that it has reached a milestone in its ongoing, largest-ever capital fundraising campaign: surpassing $30 million in total contributions since 2014. They have supported new construction projects, facility improvements and academic and scholarship programs that broadly impact campus and student life.

The $30.4 million raised to date is a record for a Spalding campaign, and it far outpaces the original fundraising goals – $20 million by 2020 – set by the university’s board of trustees when it voted to launch the campaign four years ago. The goal was officially upped to $30 million in 2016.

“We are extremely grateful for the individuals and organizations who have stepped forward in support of our campaign and the mission and progress of Spalding,” Chief Advancement Officer Bert Griffin said. “We’ve made improvements all over campus and have not used any tuition dollars to make it happen.”

Spalding President Tori Murden McClure added: “Through this campaign, we have provided our students and the community with more resources and services while making our campus greener and more beautiful. We are grateful to our many partners who are helping us meet the needs of the times and change our community for the better.”

Some highlights of the $30 million capital campaign:

● Nearly $11 million in student scholarships and fieldwork stipends have been or will be distributed by way of the campaign, including more than $4 million in federal grants for clinical psychology and social work students from the Health Resources and Services Administration.

● More than $7 million has been donated or pledged in support of a greening initiative that has beautified the 23-acre downtown campus. Completed projects include the Mother Catherine Spalding Square green space on West Breckenridge Street between South Third and South Fourth and 2.2-acre Trager Park, which, in partnership with Louisville Gas and Electric Company and the Trager Family Foundation, opened last fall at the corner of South Second and West Kentucky. The Trager Park site was formerly an unused asphalt lot.

Ongoing outdoor projects are the seven-acre athletic fields complex between South Eighth and South Ninth streets that will be the home of Spalding’s NCAA Division III softball and soccer teams, and the Contemplative Garden at Spalding University, which will be a meditation space at 828 S. Fourth St. that is designed to honor Trappist Monk Thomas Merton and His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

Thanks to a recent anonymous $500,000 challenge grant, installation of the playing surfaces at the fields complex is expected to begin this fall, and it could be ready for competition by late spring 2019.

FROM WHAS: Spalding works to build Ninth Street ‘Field of Dreams’

● Kosair Charities has contributed more than $1.2 million to Spalding in support of the Kosair Charities Enabling Technologies of Kentuckiana (enTECH) assistive-technology resource center, the Auerbach School of Occupational Therapy and the Spalding School of Nursing.

RELATED: Spalding, enTECH receive $275,000 grant from Kosair Charities

● A $500,000 challenge grant from the James Graham Brown Foundation has helped raise $1 million to develop programs focused on restorative justice and restorative practices as well as Spalding’s Center for Behavioral Health.

● Nearly $1 million was raised to renovate the lower level of the Columbia Gym into a student fitness center and lounge.

● Other facilities that have undergone major improvements and modern updates are the Republic Bank Academic Center, which is the home of Spalding’s nursing and social work programs; the Spalding Library; the historic Tompkins-Buchanan-Rankin Mansion; and the Egan Leadership Center Lectorium.

Kosair Charities has awarded a grant of $275,000 to Spalding University for the 2018-19 year that will be used to enhance and support growth at the Kosair Charities Enabling Technologies of Kentuckiana (enTECH) assistive technology resource center, which primarily serves children with special needs, and to continue a pediatric fieldwork cooperative involving Spalding occupational therapy graduate students.

The grant continues the longtime support of Kosair Charities for Spalding and enTECH, which provides affordable access to assistive-technology toys and therapeutic devices while also offering therapy and community engagement programs. Since 2014, Kosair Charities has contributed more than $1.2 million to enTECH, Spalding’s Auerbach School of Occupational Therapy and the Spalding School of Nursing.

“EnTECH is a tremendous community resource on Spalding’s campus that uses modern technology to help children learn, grow and play,” said Keith Inman, President of Kosair Charities. “We support its desire to grow and serve as many children and families as possible as this directly aligns with our mission.”

“Through the Kosair Charities Scholars Program, students will gain valuable pediatric fieldwork experience. We support the efforts of Spalding’s Auerbach School of Occupational Therapy to train skilled, compassionate students who want to work with kids.”

enTECH improvements

Located on Spalding’s campus at 812 S. Second St., enTECH will use $200,000 of the 2018-19 grant funding in the following ways:

● Create “switch camps” and pre-vocational computer training for children 10-17 years old who have disabilities or limited mobility. The camps will introduce the children to assistive technology devices known as switches that allow users to navigate a computer and operate programs such as Microsoft Word and Excel. Conventional keyboards, mouse devices and other computer accessories are often inaccessible to individuals with limited mobility, making it difficult to get a job or succeed in classroom environments that require typing on a word processor, entering data or navigating a web browser.

EnTECH will upgrade its computer lab with switches that are designed to sense pressure, heat, puffs of air or facial movements in order to detect computer users’ intentions and help them navigate a program.

● Purchase two interactive autism robots – known as Milo ($7,500) and Nao ($10,500) – that will help children on the autism spectrum develop skills such as communicating verbally, making eye contact and understanding what others are thinking or feeling.

Milo has a life-like face that mimics emotions, and the robot speaks directly to the child. Nao performs fun, playful actions like playing a drum, pointing and dancing.

● Purchase four OptiMusic Beam systems ($7,500 each) that use a combination of lights and sounds to encourage children with disabilities to explore and interact with their environment. EnTECH’s Kosair Virtual Immersive Playground room already has four OptiMusic Beams, and their popularity has led to increased demand.

● Renovate the entryway and transitional spaces of the enTECH facility – housed in the former Kosair Shrine Temple – into a lively, clearly defined space that is appealing for children and celebrates Spalding’s partnership with Kosair Charities.

● Revamp the enTECH website and enhance enTECH’s marketing efforts in order to help grow the number of children receiving services and resources.

Continuation of Kosair Charities Scholars Program

The other $75,000 of grant funding will be used to continue and expand the pediatric fieldwork cooperative known as the Kosair Charities Scholars Program, which began in 2016. The grant will fund stipends for 15 graduate students from the Auerbach School of Occupational Therapy to perform their 12-week Level II training at approved child-centric sites.

The fieldwork placements will result in dozens of children receiving services.

To qualify for the Kosair Charities Scholars Program, students must commit to working with children or providing occupational therapy services to youth for a minimum of three years after graduation.

“We’re extremely grateful for the support of Kosair Charities,” said Cindee Quake-Rapp, chair of the Auerbach School of Occupational Therapy. “This grant will help make enTECH an even better resource for children, and it will strengthen Spalding’s ability to train great pediatric therapists.”

About enTECH: Kosair Charities’ Enabling Technologies of Kentuckiana (enTECH) is a division of the Spalding University Auerbach School of Occupational Therapy. It is one of five state-designated assistive technology resource centers in Kentucky. Its mission is to create assistive technology solutions to meet the needs of the times through the enhancement of all people’s participation in everyday life activities. More information is available at

About the Auerbach School of Occupational Therapy: Established in 1995, Spalding’s Auerbach School of Occupational Therapy prepares students to become outstanding occupational therapy practitioners in varied health, education and community settings. Its nationally ranked master’s-level training program is leading the way by transitioning to a doctorate-level program well prior to a deadline mandated by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education. More information is available at

About Kosair Charities: Established in 1923, Kosair Charities’ mission is to protect the health and well-being of children in Kentucky and Southern Indiana by providing financial support for clinical services, research, pediatric healthcare education and child advocacy. More information is available at


A major renovation, an array of new assistive technology and a commitment to helping children resulted in the unveiling over the past week of a key community resource at Spalding University.

Spalding’s Auerbach School of Occupational Therapy (ASOT) and the Kosair Charities Enabling Technologies of Kentuckiana (enTECH) assistive technology resource center debuted the new Virtual Immersive Playground for children with special needs. The room of high-tech toys and video and sensory devices – located on the third floor of Spalding’s College Street Building, 812 S. Second St – was made possible through the support of Kosair Charities.

An opening reception was held Wednesday, April 11 – attended by many members of Spalding’s faculty and staff and the Kosair Charities board – and the room was in use for first time last week at the year’s first five-day Kosair Integrated Technology Experience (KITE) camp for children with special needs.

The Virtual Immersive Playground is the finished product of a renovation project started last winter to transform what had been an old band room. Risers and carpeting were removed, and a sleek, open space was created with assistive equipment, including touch-screen and gesture-recognition devices, along the walls.

“The transformation from the old band room is stunning,” said Dr. Cindy Quake-Rapp, chair of ASOT. “I think this is going to be a real showpiece for anyone at Spalding to show people what we’re doing for the community and the kids we’re serving, thanks to Kosair Charities.”

The equipment in the Virtual Immersive Playground is meant to engage children in positive physical, cognitive and sensory experiences. The devices are designed to be therapeutic, educational and fun, and many are intended to teach the concept of cause and effect by using gesture-recognition and motion-sensing technology.

“I’m just ecstatic about the fact that we have this amazing space, and all this equipment is therapeutic,” said Dr. Josh Skuller, enTECH director and ASOT faculty member. “It’s another avenue that we can provide occupational therapy, speech therapy; even physical therapists could come in here with a child. It’s just something to help increase kids’ potential.”

KITE ‘truly a multisensory experience’

A couple dozen children attended last week’s KITE camp.

A young boy with physical and cognitive challenges stemming from a severe brain trauma suffered as an infant could be seen smiling as he experienced the light and sounds of the gesture-recognition equipment.

“The children realize that if they want to uncover something, they have to step on it. To move a ball, they have to kick the ball,” Quake-Rapp said. “They learn how to interact with their environment. The touch-screens have interactive games that teach them everything – shapes, body parts, colors, numbers, letters.

“It’s truly a multisensory experience for them.”

Though the Virtual Immersive Playground is new, KITE camps have been an ASOT and enTECH staple for years.

The five-day camps are held three times a year for any children 2 1/2 to 9 years old with special needs. The kids make stops throughout the day to the Virtual Immersive Playground, to the gym space with games and exercise equipment in the College Street ballroom and to art and sensory rooms on the first floor of enTECH.

Skuller said he has enjoyed seeing the same children come back to KITE year after year and watching how they progress.

“It’s wonderful knowing that the parents value this program so much,” Skuller said, pointing out a 9-year-old boy who’d been coming to KITE since he was 3. “He learned to ride a bike here.”

Speaking of enTECH and its resources more generally, Quake-Rapp said that in her previous teaching stops, she had not encountered a university with an assistive technology center like the one at Spalding and enTECH.

“We help evaluate people for technology, so they get the best piece of technology. We loan equipment out, we give equipment away,” she said. “And it’s amazing for our students to see what OTs can do by helping people with special needs use technology.”

Academic component

Spalding’s master of occupational therapy (MSOT) students are required to participate in a KITE camp once during their curriculum, and Quake-Rapp said many students and alumni volunteer over and over.

Skuller teaches a pediatrics class in which students spend the final week working with kids at enTECH.

“They have to figure out how to work with the kids, figure out interventions, figure out how can they utilize the equipment in here to help the child progress,” he said. “It’s been a great hands-on experience. Being able to apply what they’re reading and their classroom knowledge with this facility really helps firm up what they’re doing.”

The Auerbach School is transitioning to a doctor of OT program starting in January of 2019, and Quake-Rapp said she expects students will pursue enTECH- and KITE-related Capstone projects.

“Those students will be very much woven into enTECH,” she said “We’ll have some very good clinicians in here.”

ASOT master’s student Rico Thomas, who is set to graduate this summer, said he expects the Virtual Immersive Playground to draw more children to KITE and enTECH and more OT students to Spalding.

“You can use this area to learn about different disabilities and what each of these pieces of equipment does for a child,” Thomas said. “It gets your mind thinking about how to incorporate technology along with meeting your client halfway and finding the best outcome for them.

“When I’m looking at OT schools, I’m looking at what benefits me but also what benefits the population that’s around it. Spalding has that.”

In the darkly lit enTECH Immersive Playground, a young girl sits and interacts with the animated video display projected onto the floor beneath her.
A young girl uses one of the GestureTek gesture technology video devices at enTECH’s new Virtual Immersive Playground.
A look at the old College Street Center band room with bright red carpet and wooden risers before it was converted to the Virtual Immersive Playground
Before being transformed into the Kosair Charities Virtual Immersive Playground, the third-floor room at the College Street Center was an old band room with risers and carpeting.
Overhead view of the Virtual Immersive Playground during its opening reception - a large open space, dimly lit, so as to show various video projections on the floors and walls; people mingling about
The transformed Virtual Immersive Playground, shown at its opening reception on April 11, 2018.