Thanks to the support of our generous donors, Rush Neurobehavioral Center (RNBC) awarded the 100th Meryl E. Lipton Scholarship this year. There are so many families who know their child is suffering and yet can’t afford the help they need. The Meryl E. Lipton Scholarship Program was established to provide the resources necessary to promote academic and social-emotional success for struggling underserved children. The Scholarship Program is 100% funded by philanthropy. An individual scholarship awards the recipient $7,500 to pay the costs of a neuropsychological evaluation and a range of services. At RNBC we believe that every child should have the opportunity to succeed despite socioeconomic status. During this season of giving and gratitude, we want to share a heartwarming story about one of our scholarship recipients. Anaya is a 9 year-old girl who can now accept the embrace of a hug from her mother and sister. This was not always the case. It was not until Anaya’s mother discovered Rush Neurobehavioral Center and the Meryl E. Lipton Scholarship Program that things began to change not only for Anaya, but also for her family. From an early age, Anaya experienced social-emotional and learning challenges. She was very quiet, opted to play by herself and, at the age of two, her speech was jumbled. Anaya was referred for testing at the suggestion of her day care, but after observation the childhood learning specialists didn’t feel there was a need to do anything further. From the age of three until five, Anaya continued on and experienced some difficulties in kindergarten and first grade. According to her mother, Whitney, “She was not learning like the other kids so we switched her to a school that could offer more one on one help. It was in second grade when things took a turn and Anaya really fell behind academically and socially. The kids would tease her and she eventually withdrew completely. It was hard for her to develop friendships.” Whitney started doing her own research for additional help outside of the school. It was difficult to find support because their family did not have insurance and very few providers accept Medicaid. It was when Whitney came across the Rush Neurobehavioral Center and the Meryl E. Lipton Scholarship Program things started to improve. Anaya underwent an extensive evaluation with a psychologist at RNBC and received a diagnosis and detailed feedback. The staff at RNBC worked with the family to create an action plan and provided the resources necessary to execute the plan. RNBC scholarships also support services from community partners including therapists, occupational therapists, mentors and many others. “They were very supportive and held my hand through the entire process. It was wonderful,” said Whitney. RNBC staff was also very involved with Anaya’s education. They helped to get an Individualized Education Program (IEP) and advocated on her behalf to ensure she received the proper attention and access to resources to help her succeed. Anaya is now enrolled in a magnet school and doing really well thanks to the support of RNBC. Before coming to RNBC, Anaya struggled with giving and receiving affection. She was timid, guarded and would flinch. “Now she reaches out to us and gives hugs and kisses. She has been more affectionate than ever before. I am just so grateful and thank Rush for everything. They really gave us hope for the future. I want other children to have the same opportunities to grow and flourish, “said Whitney. Thanks to the generosity of scholarship donors, Anaya now has a great plan in place. She is receiving the services she needs inside and outside of school. Philanthropy makes it possible for RNBC to help children like Anaya and so many others to succeed in life and reach their full potential. Please click here to make a gift Since she stared with rush there is a tremendous difference in our home. I was equipped with more knowledge about how to deal with Anaya and how to help her sister interact with; understand her and how to help her. So now we are all more patient with one another.