First Posted: 3/11/2012
Special Spaces of NEPA recently held its first fundraiser at the Hoyt Library in Kingston in its quest to build a new bedroom for a local child.
Special Spaces is a national organization dedicated to building “dream bedrooms” for children with life-threatening illnesses.
The local chapter was spawned by members of Leadership Wilkes-Barre last year, and the group will build its first bedroom in April for 4-year-old Charles Seiger III, of Warrior Run, who has Down syndrome and other health complications.
“Out of the last 365 days, Charles spent about 80 days in the hospital,” said Luke Matthews, director of Special Spaces of NEPA. “I’ve got five young kids with one on the way, and if my wife is in the hospital for two days she gets stir-crazy.”
Matthews, who lives not too far from the Seigers, said the group is different from other children’s charities because of the long-lasting gift they give to participating kids.
“It’s like a little safe haven for them to be normal, where there are no lights flashing and tubes and beeps,” he said. “It’s their special space.”
Charles Sieger Jr. said the family wanted to help the organization in any way it could, but was surprised to hear when his family would be the recipient of the group’s first project.
“We talked to Luke and thought it would be awesome to help out,” he said. “We wanted to volunteer and help build something for another child, but then he said we would be building something for Charles.”
Jen Seiger, young Charles’ mom, said the project means “everything” to them.
“Everything in Charles’ bedroom is all hand-me-downs,” she said. “They’re doing things to make better conditions, too, like taking out the carpet because has asthma.”
The group held a meeting with Charles discuss what he wanted in his brand new room. He told them he wanted a room with Disney characters, Spongebob Squarepants and firefighters as a few suggestions.
The fundraiser was a silent art auction featuring pieces created by students from Wyoming Valley Montessori School. The artwork for sale included pieces replicated from famous paintings, such as the “Mona Lisa.”
Angela Carpenter, of Lehman Township, was happy to help. Her daughter’s painting was featured at the auction, but she felt the organization it benefitted was a great cause.
“It’s a great fundraiser for a great cause – it’s a no miss,” she said. “It’s nice to get the kids exposed to classic works of art, too.”
Jodee DeFinnis, of Shavertown, also said her daughter’s artwork was featured at the auction.
“It’s great,” she said. “My daughter’s excited for someone to buy one of her pieces. She loves art…I think this is a great cause.”
Melissa Szafran, executive director at the Hoyt Library, said it’s astounding how much people want to help the cause.
“I had a woman write out a check for $75 for this (a crayon-colored picture of the “Mona Lisa”),” she said. “It’s just amazing.”
For more information about Special Spaces of NEPA, call Michelle Morgan at 212-9728 or visit www.specialspaces.org.