LifeTown Columbus adapts with online lessons to continue helping children


COLUMBUS (WCMH) — LifeTown Columbus helps more than 2,000 children with special needs every year. It a small version of a town that children can learn life skills in and is one of only two in the United States.

But now that schools have been closed and interaction is limited, education is happening in different ways. Karissa Pleasant is a recent high school graduate and she used to visit LifeTown frequently with her school.

It’s a great resource,” said Karissa’s mother, Kari. “It’s a great tool especially for families mostly that have a child with IEP, it helps them a great deal.”

But with COVID-19 halting all in person visits, LifeTown Director Ester Kaltmann says they knew they needed to fill the gap.

“People will understand that we need to make sure they’re not forgotten,” Kaltmann said. “If you can’t come to LifeTown, we’ll bring LifeTown to your doorstep.”

With some boxes, a few visits to the store and some volunteers, the program came to life and became mobile. They created a mini version of the life-sized town and are bringing it to families at their homes. LifeTown workers set up outside on sidewalks and yards, so families could engage in the activities.

Volunteers pack more than 200 bags with activities that the kids can do at home throughout the summer as well. Kari Pleasant says this gesture means the world.

“It’s part of her routine,” said Pleasant. “A lot do children with autism have a routine they have to keep up with and she really misses LifeTown. The fact that they help her count money, it’s going to help her a lot in the future out here and also she’s learned how to do interviews for jobs, so they help her with tons of skills that are very important.”

They have a virtual LifeTown for students online as well and are taking applications for anyone who may want to have LifeTown come to them this summer.

Here is the document to apply for a LifeTown home visit:

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