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SpawGlass Foundation Gift Benefits Special Needs Children In San Antonio

Eileen Pace


The SpawGlass Foundation Tuesday awarded a $22,500 dollar grant to the Respite Care Center of San Antonio.

Respite Care’s mission is to help children with special needs to heal from complicated medical procedures or from neglect or abuse, and the funds will provide scholarships to care for more special-needs children.

Babies to young children come in with major disorders, cognitive impairment, and birth defects. Some are injured or addicted to drugs after birth, and the shelter is filled to capacity.

Fernanda Smith is a volunteer who takes time from her job at Frost Bank to interact with the babies. Today, she is feeding little David, who has spina bifida.

“It’s just very rewarding. I don’t have kids of my own yet. And it’s just wonderful to interact with them,” Smith said.

Although the shelter serves special-needs children who have been been removed from their homes due to abuse or neglect, Respite CEO Bert Pfiester says the SpawGlass gift also will support day care for families who are struggling with the responsibilities of caring for a special needs child and keeping their jobs at the same time.

“We have a full-time nurse, and we have a lower ratio than most day cares because of the complex needs of the children. So it’s a costly service. Sixty-five percent of our families live at or below the poverty level,” Pfeister said.

The shelter also offers a special-needs drop-in service on Fridays and Saturdays so overwhelmed parents have a chance for a little respite themselves.

Eileen Pace is a veteran radio and print journalist with a long history of investigative and feature reporting in San Antonio and Houston, earning more than 50 awards for investigative reporting, documentaries, long-form series, features, sports stories, outstanding anchoring and best use of sound.