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Special Needs Scholarship

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The Gardiner Scholarship helps families customize education plans for their children with special needs.

The Gardiner Scholarship is available for qualified Florida students beginning at age 3 through 22 or high school graduate, whichever comes first. To qualify students must be diagnosed with one of the following: autism spectrum disorder, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, muscular dystrophy, Phalen McDermid syndrome, Prader-Willi syndrome, Spina bifida, Williams syndrome or an intellectual disability (severe cognitive impairment). Also, students who are deemed “high risk” due to developmental delays and who are not older than 5 on Sept. 1 may be eligible for the year they are applying.

The Gardiner Scholarship allows parents to direct their scholarship funds toward a combination of approved programs and providers they think will best meet their children’s unique needs. These include approved private schools, therapists, specialists, curriculum, technology— even a college savings account.

We are currently accepting applications for the Gardiner Scholarship for the 2017-18 school year. Scholarships are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. To apply for the Gardiner Scholarship for the 2017-18 school year, please click here.

Please note: Scholarships are awarded to eligible students on a first-come, first-served basis once their applications are completed. Please be sure to advise families early, in order to receive a 100% award scholarship students must be deemed eligible no later than August 1st.

Another option is the Income-based Florida Tax Credit Scholarship (FTC), a program that empowers low-income families to find the K-12 school that best meets their children’s learning needs. Families may choose between two scholarship options: one that helps cover private school tuition and fees, or one that assists with transportation costs to attend a public school in another county. If a family’s household income qualifies for the free or reduced-price school lunch program (185 percent of the federal poverty guidelines), or, if the family receives SNAP (food stamps), TANF, or FDPIR, the student may be eligible.

We are currently accepting applications for the Income Based Scholarship for the 2017-18 school year. Scholarships are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. To apply for the income-based scholarship for the 2017-18 school year, families may click here.

Please note: Income-based scholarships for new students are limited. Scholarships are awarded to eligible students on a first-come, first-served basis once their applications are completed. Please be sure to advise families early, as we anticipate going to a waitlist much earlier than usual.

Children who are in foster care or out-of-home care, or who are homeless may also be eligible for either of these TWO scholarships.

To learn more about the scholarships, please visit www.StepUpForStudents.org.

You may also view our current flier at www.StepUpForStudents.org/flier.

Thank you for helping us reach children who may benefit from our two K-12 scholarship opportunities.

Courtney Studios Donates Photography to Gold Coast

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Meet Courtney Ortiz


Hi! I’m Courtney. Mother, wife, photographer, and owner of Courtney Studios. I started Courtney Ortiz Photography when my son Owen was 10 months old. I was an elementary school teacher for the 6 years before kids and the idea of starting a business to give me more flexibility and time to be with my son was exciting. Fast forward eight years and 3 kids later, Courtney Ortiz Photography is now Courtney Studios — a gorgeous natural light portrait studio located in the heart of downtown Hollywood, and voted “Best Family Photographer” by South Florida Parenting Magazine 2014 & 2015. Since the studio began in 2007, I still hold strong to the ideal that portrait photography is an art that should be enjoyed in your home, in the rooms where you feel the most love.

Gustavo Earns Green Belt

By | BGCDSO Families | No Comments

Gustavo has come a long way since he started training at Mixed Martial Arts Center!

Gustavo’s coach, Sensei Pedro Font, says he’s a great student and one of his best students. He does’t consider him a great kicker, a great grappler or a great striker as a great student. Those are all great skills to have but Gustavo excels in Mindset, Mastery, Attitude & Character says Coach Font. Those are the qualities that, to his coach, make a student great. All qualities that Gustavo displays.

More than anything Coach Font is impressed by his personality. Gustavo is a gentle warm hearted boy who is 100% courageous, limitless and has such a beautiful outlook on things. He has an undeniable ability to tackle multiple tasks with ease. He finds it remarkable to see him take on, and excel, two different martial arts styles simultaneously.

Coach Font firmly believe that Gustavo can even become one of our volunteer instructors and is excited about that possibility.

Great job Gustavo! BGCDSO is very proud of you! Keep up the great work!

Amazon Buying Helps BGCDSO

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Every little bit counts

AmazonSmile is a simple and automatic way for you to support Broward Down Syndrome Gold Coast Org. every time you shop, at no cost to you. When you shop at Amazon, you’ll find the exact same low prices, vast selection and convenient shopping experience as Amazon.com, with the added bonus that Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to our organization.

How much of my purchase does Amazon donate?

The AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price from your eligible AmazonSmile purchases. The purchase price is the amount paid for the item minus any rebates and excluding shipping & handling, gift-wrapping fees, taxes, or service charges. From time to time, we may offer special, limited time promotions that increase the donation amount on one or more products or services or provide for additional donations to charitable organizations. Special terms and restrictions may apply. Please see the relevant promotion for complete details.

Can I receive a tax deduction for amounts donated from my purchases on AmazonSmile?

Donations are made by the AmazonSmile Foundation and are not tax deductible by you.