October 01, 2012 by Victoria Strong

Each week we announce the Project Mariposa grant recipients on our Facebook fan page. Meet the amazing Project Mariposa September recipients. We know you will be moved by their incredible stories:

Project Mariposa :: {WEEK THIRTY ONE} Grant #67: Alexandria Auberry-Tass, Texas :: "Alexandria was diagnosed at 18 months with SMA type 2 and is now almost 5 years old. She has always been a determined little girl; trying to sit up by herself and roll around faster to get somewhere first. She has gone through so many doctor's appointments, surgeries and "scary" new people that I know she's ready for something great to happen for her. She loves to learn and although writing and drawing comes with increased tiredness and her hands hurt with overexertion, she continues to push herself. With this iPad, she would be able to work more on her writing, reading, and also just have some fun when she's too tired to do much else. I know this would mean the world to her, being able to be independent is something she yearns for and this would help her with that." Congratulations Alexandria! We hope this iPad helps your determined spirit continue to flourish.

Project Mariposa :: {WEEK THIRTY TWO} Grant #68: Savalas Washington, South Carolina :: "Savalas is 5 years old and has SMA Type 2. SMA affects Savalas in many ways: he can't walk or crawl, he is weak in his arms and fine motor skills, he gets very fatigued throughout the day. But Savalas is a very sociable little boy and very smart for his age. He goes to school and is in kindergarten. He tries writing along with his class and while doing his homework, but it can be very difficult for him at times due to his lack of strength. Savalas would be able to benefit from the iPad as it would help in school and help him learn in many ways that do not require so much strength in writing. Savalas' therapists also feel that an iPad would help him tremendously! I just want Savalas to feel like he can keep up with the class and not feel left out as they continue to learn new skills! I also want him to feel as independent as possible. We try to provide everything possible for our son. We don't allow his diagnoses to define him. We feel the iPad will give Savalas another piece of independence and will help him advance." Congratulations Savalas. We can't wait to hear how well you are writing and how much you are learning with your new iPad.

Project Mariposa :: {WEEK THIRTY THREE} Grant #69: Ben Nelson, Wisconsin :: "Ben is a terrific 6 year old, and in most ways is a typical Kindergartner. He's learning how to read and to write, although he faces significant challenges in this regard. For example, he has trouble holding a book and insufficient dexterity to turn pages. He also has difficulty using pens, markers, crayons, etc. Not only are they hard to manipulate, but he tires quickly. An iPad would be a wonderful tool for him. We could prop up the device on his wheelchair tray and he could "turn" pages by simply touching the screen. He could use his finger to practice writing letters and numbers. He could also use it to practice his math tables (not currently his strong suit!!), and to express his latest "creative streak." To this end, painting is very difficult, as the classroom usually uses vertical easels which Ben can't access and, even if he could, he can't lift his arms enough to get paint on the paper. I'm confident the iPad will significantly enrich Ben's day-to-day academic and creative world. In addition to strictly educational benefits, I expect we'd allow Ben to use the device to explore and deepen his love of animals. He has said that he wants to be a zookeeper when he grows up! The unlimited ability to explore the animal kingdom presented by a device that he can readily and easily use would be a real treat for Ben. Thank you very much for your consideration of this application, and for everything you do for kids in need." We cannot wait to hear what Ben is able to do with his new iPad. Congratulations Ben!

Project Mariposa :: {WEEK THIRTY FOUR} Grant #70: Patricia Young, Tennessee :: "Patricia is my heroine. 21, attending college part-time, living on her own with 24 hour nursing care, an inspiration. Her mobility is now limited to her head, and neck, and fatigue is a great factor. Her laptop is elderly and heavy, hard to position for comfort. An iPad would be fantastic for schoolwork, the ease of movement, the fact that we can prop it up in so many positions in bed with her or wherever we happen to be! Financially it would be a blessing as we have been trying to find a way to upgrade her computer. She lives on an extremely fixed income. We all pitch in and help out with expenses. Patricia is a blessing and an inspiration. She is majoring in Child Psychology. She wants to help other children with their problems as she had nobody to turn to when she was younger and does not want that for others. Against all the odds and the occasional naysayer, she continues to plug away at college with a fierce determination and a cheerful heart. I would love to give her everything!" Congratulations Patricia. We can't wait to hear what new possibilities your new iPad brings!


We absolutely LOVE hearing update stories from Project Mariposa grant recipients. Each person has their own interests and the iPad is changing their lives in ways we could have never imagined. This is from Jodi Nelson, grantee #60. "Thank you soo much to the Gwendolyn Strong Foundation for my iPad. I have found an *awesome* app that to some may sound silly, but after long discussions with other disabled women it is AWESOME! The app is called "Closet" and for ME it is wonderful because my caregiver took pictures of all my clothing articles and now I don't need my caregiver to tell me what's in my closet, I can look through my iPad and pick what I'm wearing MYSELF! It *MAY* seem silly to some, but I have found independence in just this *one* app. I CAN'T WAIT to see what other AWESOMENESS this iPad will bring to my life! Thanks SOOOO MUCH." This is fantastic Jodi!

Learn more about theGSF's Project Mariposa support program and help us grant even more iPads to open the world for those with SMA!

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"Project Mariposa" is an initiative of the Gwendolyn Strong Foundation (theGSF) with a simple mission: to make the world more accessible to those with severe disabilities through iPad technology...

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