Donor Stories: Clark Family Foundation’s Gift Expands Services for Pediatric Patients

David and Jacquie Clark

David and Jacquie Clark’s philanthropic strategy is a simple one.

“What we gravitate toward are things to help individuals with special needs, to help their lives progress rather than to stay stagnant,” said Jacquie Clark, a retired school speech pathologist.

The Clarks, who reside in Huron, Ohio are the force behind the addition of a sensory room for a Sandusky agency that provides services to adults with developmental disabilities. With financial support from the David and Jacquie Clark Family Foundation, the space opened in late 2019.

The foundation also provided funding for a two-year certificate program at Bowling Green State University Firelands for students with intellectual disabilities.

When it opens in 2022, the Pediatric floor of MetroHealth’s new hospital building will feature a multi-sensory room for inpatients. A generous gift from the foundation is making that possible.

The therapeutic space will be a place where a child can engage with and respond to a variety of sensory experiences such as touch, sound, visual, spatial awareness, and motion. It will also be a place of refuge from the hospital room, which often can be overstimulating.

Prior involvement with the creation of a sensory room made the Clarks eager to help MetroHealth achieve a long wished-for addition to the Pediatric Department.

“We had done so much research and we saw the advantage of it in Sandusky,” Jacquie Clark said. Added David Clark, “It was in our wheelhouse. We didn’t mind duplicating those efforts.”

All pediatric patients – but especially those with neurodevelopmental or neurosensory disorders such as Autism Spectrum Disorder, Intellectual Disability, or even hearing impairment – will benefit from the multi-sensory room. MetroHealth already has several successful outpatient programs. The new space will better meet the needs of children who are particularly vulnerable to the stress of the inpatient environment.

The room’s functional features are being developed, said Melissa Armstrong-Brine, PhD, a clinical psychologist in the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at MetroHealth. “The gift has been a wonderful surprise and has opened up a lot of exciting opportunities,” she said.

Your Generosity Means a Healthier Greater Cleveland

Support MetroHealth in its commitment to care for all.

Give to MetroHealth Today
Photo of playing children in SAFE MAAC program