Father of Girls Lost in Tragic Christmas Fire Encourages Arts in Schools

The father of three girls killed last Christmas Eve in a Connecticut house fire is encouraging local schools to apply for grants though his new fund.

After last year’s accident Matthew Badger founded the Lily-Sarah-Grace Fund to support low-income schools with arts grant funding.

Badger is on a national road tour, driving a Winnebago, and speaking at schools that lack funding and could benefit from grants ranging from $100 to $5,000.

Badger’s ex-wife and the grandparents of his daughters were from the Louisville area, so Badger made a special visit to Louisville’s Lincoln Elementary School last week to encourage all Jefferson County public schools to apply for major grants before the deadline this Thursday.

He said his girls were dyslexic and his daughter Grace thrived under a teacher that offered more creative outlets. 

“Dyslexic children learn best if they are actually in the act of doing something. They understand best if academia is taught through a project,” he said.

A New York-based teacher named Amy inspired Badger, who said his own personal experience and research have contributed to him supporting creative learning environments.

“She just kept the classroom in constant motion and continuous projects and whenever you looked inside of her classroom the kids looked like they were fully engaged and enjoying themselves. It didn’t look like a classroom,” he said.

The fund has already provided nearly $400,000 in grant funding to schools across the nation. Applications are open to Title 1 schools only.

Semester-long grant funding of up to $5,000 ends Thursday. Schools can apply for smaller grants on a continual basis.

Find more information at lilysarahgracefund.org

Devin Katayama

Devin Katayama host middays for WFPL and reports on education and other Louisville issues.

@DevinWFPL

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