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Friday, May 6, 2016

A 'Fiesta' for First Steps program

Friday, October 10, 2003

Fiesta Hair and Tanning Salon had been looking for a local cause to support. Thanks to Peggy Eppert, First Steps became the lucky recipient of their donations.

While Eppert, a developmental therapist for First Steps, was getting her hair cut by Mandy Batchelor at Fiesta, Batchelor and Fiesta Manager Cindy Wallen started talking about their desire to find a worthy cause to help. So, Eppert told them about First Steps and made them aware of the program's financial needs.

They took an immediate interest in the organization, which First Steps President Vicki Switzer explains is "for children 0 to 3 with physical or developmental delays." There is no fee for their service and there are currently no income guidelines.

The group offers 16 types of therapy, which cover if the child is not talking, walking or forming sentences as quickly as he or she should be or if there are far more severe problems. Switzer says that First Step's volunteer staff is willing to help with "any need that a child has." Anyone can refer these children to the program, including doctors, volunteers or family members.

Upon learning about First Steps, Wallen and Batchelor organized a raffle, which took place during the Popcorn Festival. They asked for voluntary donations and anyone who gave money could register to win a Longaberger Basket full of hair products, a candle, a picture frame and several other useful items. Lisa Fields of Staunton was drawn as the winner.

Fiesta raised $140 through the event and plan to have another raffle next year. Caroline McCullough, a First Steps committee member and the coordinator for A Step Ahead, said the money will not be used for the therapy, but rather will one of the group's recreational activities. They often enjoy Family Fun Nights or have swimming parties, for which the therapists "pick up the tab." The money donated by Fiesta may be used to take the kids going to the Pumpkin Patch.

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