When you read the parent testimonials on the Lattice Educational Services website, words like “thrive,” “peace,” “happy” and “grateful” all jump out. But beyond the words, there are feelings. A sense of support. Of hope. Of community. There is a feeling of acceptance and the parents’ deep gratitude to Lattice is palpable.
Lattice is a non-public school in Santa Rosa that provides individualized learning opportunities and resources to students with developmental disabilities. The school serves more than 160 children from pre-school to 22 years old.
Like so many in Santa Rosa, the founder and Executive Director of Lattice, Nancy Alcott, lost her home in the Tubbs Fire. As if that weren’t bad enough, her two children, who also work at the school, Jennifer Ingels, Director of School Services and Cory Lucas, Director of Support Services, also lost their homes, as did Lattice’s Administrative Assistant, Annie Rath. In total, four out of five of the school’s administrative staff lost their homes in the fire.
Despite this, they put everything aside and re-opened Lattice within two weeks. Like many of the heroes around us who may not even be aware that they are heroes, Nancy describes it as matter-of-fact. “For the students we serve, consistency and routine are essential,” she says. “Even minor disruptions can have outsized impact. So we knew we needed to get back to some semblance of ‘normal’ as soon as possible, even amidst all the challenges we were facing after the fires.”
After everything that Lattice has done for its students and the community, on Comcast Cares Day, Saturday, May 4, more than 100 volunteers will focus on returning the favor. Spearheading the effort is Jeffery Jividen, a Residential Construction Specialist for Comcast in Rohnert Park, whose 17 year-old-son, Eric, attends Lattice. Jeffery nominated Lattice as a Comcast Cares Day project because of the “amazing things” they’ve helped his son and so many other students accomplish.
“After the fires, as much as they could, the school community banded together and put the students’ needs first before trying to figure out their own needs, even given what they just lost,” Jeffery said. “After seeing that, I just knew we needed to do something to help them in return.” Jeffery is proud that Comcast answered the call to help.
On Cares Day, Comcast volunteers will be doing a range of projects including painting a mural on an entry wall and replacing fluorescent light covers with decorative covers (since some students have light sensitivities). Landscaping, gardening, cleaning and overall beautification are all planned and materials are on the way. “We’ve ordered a lot of paint,” Jeff says. “We will paint a baseball diamond on the blacktop, paint a tricycle path in the preschool area and paint planter boxes.”
Volunteers will refresh soil in planter boxes, add gorilla hair to planter areas outside buildings, pull weeds in surrounding areas outside, clean interior and exterior windows, doors, tables, chairs and counter tops, add locks to fences for more security and more. More than 15 individual projects will be completed throughout the day.
“It’s an honor for us to be selected as a Comcast Cares Day project because it means we’re being recognized for what we do,” Nancy said. “We take pride in how our school looks, and we want our families to feel proud. But it can be tough to keep things looking as nice as we would like. We’ve dreamed of doing a lot of these projects for some time, and to now have this help from Comcast volunteers to get it done is so wonderful. It’s very meaningful to the kids, their families and our staff.”
Anyone interested in volunteering can come out to Lattice Educational Services – located at 3273 Airway Dr., Santa Rosa 95403 – on Comcast Cares Day, Saturday, May 4 from 8am to 1pm. To learn more about Comcast Cares Day or to sign up to volunteer at other California projects or locations, visit https://comca.st/2Y1lpeB