Children with special needs and their families experience unique challenges, and nearly 200 of them each year are better prepared for the future thanks to the therapeutic treatment and early education at Shawnee Mission Health's Lee Ann Britain Infant Development Center (Britain IDC). Recognizing the valuable resources these programs provide to the community, Doug and Nan Smith have pledged a lead gift to The Foundation for Shawnee Mission Medical Center (SMMC) to build the B.E. Smith Children's Center, which will allow the Britain IDC to deliver even more advanced levels of care.
The B.E. Smith Children's Center will be built on the SMMC campus at I-35 and 75th Street and will house the Britain IDC and the SMH Early Learning Center (ELC), where 600 children of SMH associates and physicians benefit from Christian-based early education. Not only will the new building replace the outdated facilities where the centers currently operate, it will also enhance their therapeutic treatment and educational offerings. The Britain IDC currently offers individualized programs for each child and family from a team of physical, occupational and music therapists, speech language pathologists, early childhood special education teachers, behavior analysts, social workers and paraprofessionals. With approximately 30 families consistently on the waiting list for the Britain IDC, the B.E. Smith Children's Center will also help fill a great community need.
"I am inspired by the joy children with special needs bring to this world, and have personally seen the positive impact the Lee Ann Britain Infant Development Center has on the children who graduate from its program," said Doug Smith. "Nan and I hope the B.E. Smith Children's Center will allow children to benefit from the enhanced programming and will alleviate some of the financial burdens their families may be experiencing, in addition to providing affordable Christian-based child care for the associates of Shawnee Mission Health."
Smith is CEO of the national health care leadership solutions firm B.E. Smith, which his father founded. The B.E. Smith Children's Center is named for his father, and represents an opportunity to give back to the regional community and the health care industry.
"Shawnee Mission Health has a long history of giving back to the community," said Ken Bacon, president and CEO of SMH. "The B.E. Smith Children's Center will allow us to impact the lives of more of our community's young children as they learn and grow in a modern environment with the most advanced technology. We are very thankful to the Smiths for their generosity and helping make this a possibility."
The Foundation for SMMC has launched a $15 million philanthropic campaign to complete funding of the B.E. Smith Children's Center. The Foundation is grateful to the Smiths for their leadership and their collaboration with SMH leadership on the design and vision for the center.
"Generations of community children will have a bright future because of the B.E. Smith Children's Center," said Lou Gehring, Senior Executive Director of the Foundation.
The Britain IDC is an important outreach program of SMH, touching the lives of more than 4,000 children with special needs since 1972. The Center provides a unique program that involves family and friends in the process of therapeutic treatment and education. More than 90 percent of the families served receive some type of financial assistance. No family is turned away based on the inability to pay.
SMH's Early Learning Center operates for the benefit of SMH associates and physicians serving children six weeks through 12 years of age. Its teachers have a baccalaureate degree, Masters degree or are currently enrolled in college, and have numerous years of experience with children.
For more information about the Britain IDC, visit ShawneeMission.org/LeeAnnBritainInfantDevelopmentCenter. For more information about the Early Learning Center, visit ShawneeMission.org/EarlyLearningCenter.