Believe Project: $100 for gifts for students and to help people with disabilities

Daily Herald report
Updated 12/2/2017 4:30 PM

Today's recipients of a $100 bill through the Believe Project want to buy gifts for students in need and support the driving force behind an organization helping people with disabilities.

• Kim Emary of Barrington:


"I work at a middle school in Round Lake where there are so many students who are in need of the basics. Every year our staff does a Giving Tree of students' names and needs. Generally this is the only gift these students receive at the holidays.

"This year I learned we even have students who are homeless, and the tree is overflowing with 85 names, which is more students than we have staff. I would use the $100 to get gifts for three or four students who are in need this year so they could believe in the generosity and kindness of those around them."

• Val Ensalaco of Naperville:

"Rebecca Christiansen has a young son with Down syndrome. She wants to make it easier for people with special needs to find employment with purpose. She is the energy and determination behind the new A Pinch of Happiness Spice Shop at 74 W. Washington St., Oswego, where people with disabilities are involved in every aspect of the business, from blending, packaging, displaying, assisting customers and selling spices, teas, extracts and coffee.

"While the employees gain experience in customer service and communication skills, customers will be amazed and touched at what has been accomplished. A Pinch of Happiness Spice Shop, which is owned by Celebrate Differences, is an example of what special needs employees can do for other businesses. Employees with disabilities currently make up only about a third of the workforce."

The "$100 would be a windfall for Rebecca Christiansen. The Ensalaco family will match the $100."

• The Believe Project is awarding $100 each day in December to two people with good ideas for how to use the money to do a good deed for someone else. If you'd like the chance to help someone, submit your idea at by Friday, Dec. 8.

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