04 .21 .15 Close to My Heart: The Promise Project

That’s the legendary women’s wear designer Dana Buchman pictured above, founder of a groundbreaking non-profit organization, The Promise Project, that serves under-privileged children with learning disabilities. It is an organization I feel passionately about. Here’s why.

“When learning is difficult, everything is difficult.” 

As the mom of a child with learning differences, I know this well. Learning disabilities are often complicated and difficult to diagnose. Fortunately, we were able to identify my daughter’s needs early and she is finding success in a school with teaching methods that cater to the way her brain processes information.

But there are thousands of undiagnosed children struggling in school. These children are devastated by their inability to read and write. Left untreated, learning disabilities (which are actual neurological disorders) can often lead to debilitating low self-esteem, drug use, teenage pregnancy, crime and lifelong poverty. And as I’m sure you know, learning differences have nothing to do with how smart a child is—many children have above average intelligence.

The Promise Project is a non-profit that helps under-served children in New York City get the help they need. By providing testing, advocacy and educational services often not readily available to families in need, The Promise Project unlocks the potential of these children, providing a pathway to success.

The pioneering fashion designer Dana Buchman founded The Promise Project after becoming fervently involved with her daughter’s learning disabilities and education. In 2006, she wrote a book, A Special Education, about the challenges in understanding and managing her daughter’s special needs. And then she vowed to devote her life to bringing resources to families who don’t have their own.

The Promise Project joined forces with Columbia University Medical Center, in affiliation with New York-Presbyterian Hospital, to create the most comprehensive program in New York City to help impoverished children with learning disabilities. The work they do is two-fold: first and foremost, they provide crucial help for children who would likely not receive it elsewhere—but The Promise Project also collects vital data on learning disabilities with the hope that someday soon we can get a clearer neurological understanding of them to better identify and treat people.

Today is The Promise Project’s annual benefit, Beautiful Promise. But you don’t have to attend the actual event to take part in the incredible auction on Charitybuzz. It is a formidable who’s who of fashion, food, jewelry and beauty. And it’s all accessible online and via your smartphone. Mother’s Day is around the corner, spring is in bloom so why not treat yourself or someone you love with a gift that will go the extra distance.

Watch the lovely Dana Buchman speak about learning disabilities here. Learn more about The Promise Project here.

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