School survives on donations

Published 12:27 am Monday, December 7, 2009

NATCHEZ —Some of music’s greatest country singers performed live at Pleasant Acre Day School last week.

Billy Ray Cyrus sang of an achy breaky heart, Patty Loveless sang of a lyin’ cheatin’ heart and Lee Greenwood sang of America’s blessed heart.

The singers, impersonated by students at Pleasant Acre Day School, are preparing for their annual Christmas program at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the Natchez Elks Lodge.

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“We’re having Santa, songs and supper,” Pleasant Acre Director Mary Ann Foggo-Eidt said. “(The students) fit the part of the person they are impersonating and they dress the part, too.

“They have costumes with sparkles and sequins and rhinestones, and that always makes them feel extra special to put on beautiful clothes and get in front of the audience.”

Pleasant Acre, which celebrated its 50th anniversary this year, is a day treatment program for adult trainable, mentally challenged students. The school’s curriculum aids students in developing life skills and self-help skills

Currently, nine students attend the school, which operates solely on community contributions. The contributions are used to fund operating costs and school field trips.

“We receive no state, federal, county or city money,” Foggo-Eidt said. “We operate on the generosity of the Miss-Lou community.”

From 8 to 11 a.m. each Friday, the school opens its Some-N-Special Shop, where patrons can purchase donated household items at bargain prices. Foggo-Eidt said items can be brought to the school from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

“We take anything except clothing,” Foggo-Eidt said.

In addition to the Some-N-Special Shop, the school boasts a Mardi Gras bead recycling program. Beads of any size, length and color are sold. The beads sold are also donated to the school from the community.

Foggo-Eidt said both the shop and the bead program teach students sorting, counting and social interaction. The students often assist patrons with their purchases.

Foggo-Eidt said she has noticed less foot traffic in the Some-N-Special Shop as of late. She suspects the economic downturn is the reason.

“And the people who do buy are being more careful,” Foggo-Eidt said.

Foggo-Eidt said there are alternative ways to contribute to the school.

“We welcome anybody to come see our building and meet our students,” Foggo-Eidt said. “Get to know us because to know us is to love us.”

Pleasant Acre Day School is located at 335 Liberty Road. For more information, call 601-442-2264.