Founder of Jesse’s Jar, Tom Hudzina Closes the Special Needs Funding Gap

Avatar

Chris Dima

Founder and CEO

Jul 8, 2014

“We are Jesse’s Jar. I want to tell you a little about our story. Our story starts with our family. Seven years ago Jesse’ was born into our family. I have three boys, Daniel, Jack and Jesse. Jesse is our middle guy. He’s seven years old.

DSC_0144bw

“We live life like any other family. Jesse, was born with special needs. He has a disability, but I cant tell you what it is because he falls into the undiagnosed realm. There’s no genetic disorder, no Autism, he doesn’t have a disease, he just has a disability. Jesse is incredibly awesome. He’s got a personality that draws you in.”

DSC_0147bw

“We were invited into Jesse’s class this year. In Watching Jesse’s teacher talk to her students about what its like living with multiple disabilities, I said to myself,’Man! Kids with disabilities need kids without disabilities, and kids without disabilities needs kids with disabilities because kids with disabilities have something to offer too. What if we could communicate this need for one another to the community and increase the resources available for people who care for children with disabilities?”

DSC_0093bw

“Around us, at Coasteville highschool, there are hundreds of family with children of special needs. Its not just us. We did some research, there are 6.1 million children in the US with special needs and that number in increasing every year.

DSC_0084bw

“Out of every 100 children, 2 have Autism, 7 have ADHD, 8 have a learning disability, and 14 have a developmental delay. Devolpmental delay is what my son would fall under. It means there is no specific diagnosis, but it keeps them from doing what some other kids can do. These stats came from the center for disease control”

DSC_0061bw

“There are school funding gaps for kids with special needs. The West Chester School District did some research into the funding trajectory for schools in our community. We found out that federal and state funding gap of 3.1 million dollars, which not unlike the previous statistic, is increasing very year.”

DSC_0018bw

“When you look at the fiscal need for funding in schools who care for kids with special needs, that need well surpasses the access to readily available resources.”

DSC_0055bw

“If you think its difficult for a school district, just think how difficult it is for a family with a fixed income?. Your dependent upon grants or resources given from the state, but if the state has gaps, then you wont get as much funding for your kids. Theres is always a need for more funding for these kids”

DSC_0054bw

So, how do we close this gap? Well, it takes generosity. You can close the gap by fundraising, you close the gap by a number of different ways. Every month my son comes home with a flyer of something you can buy to raise funding. Smencils, its a pencil with a smelly erasers, ginormous pack of candy bars, recyclable trash bag, a lollipop tree, spirit gear; with microsoft clipart from 1985. What kid wants to wear clip art school gear? And ‘mmm cookies’. This is all the typical stuff that they use to raise funds.

DSC_0048bw

“Typical parent fund raising is to either get an extra job or brutally work out your one job. Which generally involves sweating it out and feeling like, ‘we’re not gonna be able to close the gap.'”

DSC_0046bw

“I went on every major school fund raising site. In the country it funnels down to two or three. There are two or three companies in the country that sell and distribute all the products.”

DSC_0035bw

“I visited one site that listed all the various types of fund raisers they offer. Bands, Boy Scouts, Church, PTO, Preschool and countless others. And if you went through the whole list, you’d find a bunch of different causes and organizations that are interested in fund raising, except what you wont find on this list is, What? You wont find a special needs fundraiser.”

DSC_0115bw

“Nobody seems to be thinking, ‘how do we close this (special needs funding) gap?’. Instead they focus on new Mac computers, or a big field trip, or a playground equipment. Very rarely you find anybody particularly interested in the one class in every elementary school that has kids with special needs in it.”

DSC_0098bw

“We thought to ourselves,’What if we created something better, easier and more special. Something that was streamed-lined. Something that was ongoing, that parents really wanted to buy and that was connected to the technology of today. so that I could purchase something and tell everyone I could possibly know about it via social media.”

DSC_0102bw

“We took an ordinary mansion jar that ordinary people already like to use and filled it with stuff. We filled it with products, all different sorts of products, such as coffee, ginormous gum balls, chalk, games for kids and many many other things. We also created a product line that enabled people to consider buying it as a gift for someone else.”

DSC_0112bw

“Jesse’s Jar is about cataloging all these products, creating a better catalog of products and using social media to people that we are buying this product for this specific need. We chose to ship the Jar in a beautiful box that encouraged people to give it as a gift, and the proceeds of this gift go to helping children with special needs.”

DSC_0104bw

“Chose to start locally, here in West Chester. Got local business to put their products in the Jar. We leverage the resources and skills of local artisans, like candle, candy, t-shirt, makers. Taking any product that was locally made like BBQ sauce, or anything else to help close the funding gap in our community”

“Our mission as a family, because we want help kids and families like ours, and because we want to help the organizations that help care for children with special needs. Quality and creative products that successfully raise money, so that special needs projects can be achieved.”

‘Its a simple way to give a special and loving gift. Choose a jar, choose a product, choose a lid, write a note and ship it off.”