August 2023 Newsletter

August 4, 2023

SUMMER 2023 – Camp Mainspring went full S.T.E.A.M. ahead thanks to the generosity of HEAL Foundation, who sponsored a summer of building, discovering, and exploring through adaptive activities for our students with intellectual and developmental differences. Campers used sensory projects to learn about both biological and ecological environments. They even met some new friends Hamba the Gopher Tortoise, Beetlejuice The California King Snake, and Flash the Chinchilla from the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens. They trekked through MOSH’s Expedition Dinosaur, learning about primitive technology. Campers conducted experiments practicing concepts of conservation, aerodynamics, and mechanics. They also got the chance to become toy engineers, creating their very own marionette puppets, stuffed bears, and wooden cars. Through art, they applied mathematical concepts like shapes, patterns, and physics. Mainspring is extremely grateful to HEAL for providing opportunities for our students to apply their learning in unique and memorable ways! Learn More About HEAL Foundation>

JULY 2023 – Mainspring Academy is delighted to announce that the JT Townsend Foundation has extended an invitation to our families who may be interested in receiving individual grants for adaptive equipment. The JT Townsend Foundation mission is to provide hope to the community of people living with disabilities by offering financial assistance for adaptive equipment and services that will improve their quality of life. Grant recipients have received adaptive mobility aids, feeding devices, asistive technology, bikes, carseats, medical equipment, and more. Read JT Townsend’s Inspiring Story Here>

If you would like to apply for a grant for your child, please have your doctor complete a letter of medical necessity describing your child’s need for the proposed equipment. You can then submit the letter and application on their website. If you need assistance with this process, please reach out to Mainspring Administration at [email protected]. We are happy to help! Apply Now>


  • Tuesday, August 1st– Out-of-pocket tuition due
  • Monday, August 7th – New Parent Orientation and Meet the Teacher
    • Nicole, Callie, Paige, Sara, and Jeff’s Classes
      • 9:30am New Parent Orientation
      • 10:30am Meet the Teacher
    • Che, Kim, Dabbs, Liz, Lisa, and Amy’s Classes
      • 12:00pm New Parent Orientation
      • 1:00pm Meet the Teacher
  • Tuesday, August 15th – Open Parent Action Committee (PAC) Meeting 9:15am at Mainspring Academy
  • Tuesday, August 15th – Extended Day Fees Due
  • Tuesday, August 15th – Out-of-pocket Tuition Due
  • Thursday, August 31st – Special Olympics Forms Due
  • Friday, September 1st – Spirit Month: Diversity Day
    • Students and staff are encouraged to dress representing their cultures.
  • Friday, September 1st -Out-of-pocket Tuition due
  • Friday, September 1st – Fall Intersession (10/17-10/20) Deposit Fee and Contract Due
  • Friday, September 1st -Signed Parent Handbook Acknowledgment Forms Due

Questions or missing any forms? Many questions and requests can be submitted in the Parent Corner of our website! More Information>


Jude – August 2nd

Mr. Josh – August 19th

Drew – August 19th

Ms. Nicole – August 20th

Ali – August 25th

Ody – August 27th


This summer, the Florida Department of Revenue Child Support Office generously provided Mainspring Academy a much-needed donation of computers! Technology is not only instrumental in many of our students’ communication, it helps foster an engaging and interactive learning environment for all of our students.

Mainspring Academy received a donation of $75,000 from the Neviaser Foundation, which will make a significant difference for our recent expansion, supporting the continuance of our goal to provide the quality resources that will help students with intellectual and developmental differences thrive beyond their school experience! The Neviaser Foundation has made tremendous impacts for the special needs community in Jacksonville and we are so thankful to be included in their vision!

In preparation for the 2023-2024 school year, parents, staff, Bank of America Community Volunteers, and their Disability Action Network came together to beautify the Mainspring Academy campus. We are so excited to open the additional space for our students. We are looking forward to our students returning “ready to learn” August 9th in a fresh, safe, and comfortable environment.

On behalf of the Mainspring Academy community of parents, staff, and supporters, thank you for the compassion and commitment you have shown for our students and school. It is the kindness of our donors and volunteers that has helped us to expand in size and quality, furthering our mission to provide quality, individualized education in a safe learning environment for students with intellectual and developmental differences who are often missed.
Thank you for the differences you make.

Hello, I’m Benny the Manatee! I’m so excited to join the new school year at Mainspring Academy! Mainspring has so many awesome plans for us this year and it’s really cool to be at a school that teaches us how to be more independent!

Last week was the the 33rd anniversary since the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was passed – a law that protects the rights of people with disabilities in all areas of public life like schools, jobs, transportation, and more. It’s there to make sure people with disabilities have the same chances as everyone else.

Did you know I was named after Dr. Bengt Nirj, a very important disabilities advocate from Sweden? In the 1960s, Dr. Nirj’s ideas influenced a huge self-advocacy movement around the world for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD’s).

Self-advocacy means… knowing and speaking up for ourselves!

Back then, many believed people with IDD’s should be kept seperated from everyone else. They did not get to live freely, make their own choices, or have the same chances to show their skills. Dr. Nirj believed people with IDD’s should go out in the community and have the freedom to express themselves, decide for themselves, learn about responsibilities, and have the “dignity of risk”. He believed the public should “normalize” the idea that, just like everyone else, people with IDD’s can learn the skills to be more independent…if only they were taught! He wrote his studies in his paper, “Towards Independence” which he read at the 11th World Congress. His theory of self-advocacy created a movement that spread from Europe all the way to Canada! In 1974, “People First” became the largest and first self-advocacy organization in the United States. Almost 600 self-advocates came from across the nation to be at the first conference. Many people with IDD’s who had never spoken publicly were actually taking the microphone and being heard!!! For the first time, many people discovered that their voices mattered!

Adults with IDD’s are still speaking out today about expectations that made them feel unheard at school, home, or in the community. As parents, teachers, and friends, it’s important to remember the heart of ADA is self-advocacy. By listening to IDD voices , we can work together to create a safer, more inclusive and accepting world for our kids!


A friendly reminder that all volunteers NOT listed as a student’s parent, guardian, or sibling must complete a Volunteer Application to be kept on file. More Information>

Our first open Parent Action Committee (PAC) Meeting and Welcome Breakfast will take place Tuesday, August 15th at 9:15am in the Mainspring Academy Cafeteria. Parents interested in joining our volunteer event/holiday planning team can access meeting dates, topics, notes, signups, team updates, and action-day group messaging! Join our Parent Action Committee (PAC) (via Mobile or Desktop App)>

Thursday, August 17th is National Nonprofit Day. Clerical staff is seeking parent volunteers throughout August to assist with writing impact statement cards to last year’s donors. All items will be provided. Please email Sabrena at [email protected] if interested! Get on the list>

Our annual Sensory Superhero Day will take place Friday, September 25th beginning at 10:00am. (Volunteers will be setting up between 9:00-10:00am). Mainspring students and staff are encouraged to dress representing their favorite superheroes as we engage with the real-life super heroes all around us!
More Information>

Curious about Mainspring Academy’s needs and how to support us through donations, pledges, or sponsorships? Check out our Ways to Give Page. More Information>


Exciting News! Check back towards the end of August! Link to Mainspring Store Coming Soon!


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