The Easterseals Blake Foundation, an organization that provides educational, health and other services to families with young children, is now able to extend their reach and impact to even more young people because of three Yuma women.

Ruth Brockington, Rochelle Thompson and Sally Houston-Baker recently combined their efforts to give the organization a library of 140 books worth about $350.

Through a chain reaction, the three learned about the work that Easterseals Blake was doing, and decided that it was a worthy cause.

Thompson and Brockington are retired teachers from Yuma and Kofa High Schools, respectively. When Brockington made a donation to Easterseals and brought Teri Koenig, a special needs parent educator with the foundation, to speak during a meeting of her educational sorority Alpha Delta Kappa, Thompson saw, and her interest was piqued.

“The program was really interesting to us, even though we’re retired teachers, we still are interested in education and the things that are going on education-wise,” said Thompson.

And when she realized that Houston-Baker, a fellow congregation-member at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church who organizes their monthly concert series, was looking for a cause to donate the proceeds of their May performance to, everything fell into place.

“I’m always looking for good places to (donate to),” said Houston-Baker. “This has been one of my favorite concerts that we do.

“This May concert is focused on young students, talented students in the community.”

And through the efforts of the three women and some young musicians at St. Pauls, Easterseals Blake now has a lending library to help them in their mission of supporting kids around Yuma.

The library is a part of their Yuma Parents as Teachers program, where they visit families at their homes and teach them about things like child development and parenting.

“We tried to create this lending library because we like to promote early literacy,” said Nidia Garcia, an administrator with the Easterseals Blake Foundation. “And buying books for every single child was very costly.

“We allow them to borrow them for a couple of days and the next visit we go and we switch those books, so it’s going to be a great way for them to be able to read.”

Among the new additions to the library are books about counting, potty training and other topics for kids ages zero through five.

Yohaira Vargas with the Easterseals Blake Foundation, who oversaw the purchase of the books, said that she also made sure to include some that were in both English and Spanish.

“Because we do serve a lot of bilingual families,” she said.

Houston-Baker said that she feels “wonderful” knowing that the books will help kids around Yuma learn how to read.

“Even though we are retired, we still value education,” said Thompson. “And early childhood education courses are very important.”

The Easterseals Blake Foundation deals with childcare, child development, special needs services and children’s health, among other things. For more information, visit / For donations, email

Recommended for you