Why this family continues their support after 40 years

Bill and Margot’s son, David, was the first non-deafblind child with multiple disabilities accepted by Perkins. Now, more than 40 years later, Bill and Margot continue supporting Perkins.

Portrait of Bill and Margot Moomaw. Bill is on the left, wearing a blue suit with no tie. Margot, on the right, has short gray hair and is wearing a black and white polka dot dress.

What Bill and Margot Moomaw appreciate the most about Perkins is its can-do attitude. Students and their families choose Perkins for all the things not typically found in a public school setting. This instruction is integrated into every moment of the day — from daily living tasks like cooking and housekeeping to mobility skills, personal care, managing money and social skills.

When Bill and Margot enrolled their son, David, more than forty years ago, they helped pave the way for more students with multiple, complex disabilities to define their own success at Perkins. 

Adapting to every child’s needs

There was a point where the family had to move to Germany for a year and enrolled David into a school for the blind in Munich. Denise, a Perkins staff member who had previously worked with David, agreed to accompany the family to Germany as David’s guide. 

Denise attended the German school with David for half the day and became an invaluable resource both for that school and as an ambassador for Perkins. Bill and Margot appreciated Perkins’ openness to adapt and exchange resources with the Munich school for the sake of David’s development.

“Our family came back with so many resources for Perkins around physical education, which the German school excelled in. Many of the custom playground structures at Perkins were built a year after their return based on the ideas generated from their experience in Germany,” explained Bob and Margot. 

The school in Munich, in turn, gained many insights that informed their communications program thanks to Perkins’ expertise in communication learning. Today, Perkins follows a similar model, where deafblind specialists and teachers of students who are visually impaired (TVI) provide direct and consultative services for children enrolled in public schools. With this model, Perkins is currently serving over 500 students across 125 schools throughout New England.

Even if we’d had the opportunity for TVIs in our local community, we would have fought to have David come to Perkins, for the experiences here are critically important for life after school.

Bill and Margot Moomaw

Learning is for life

With Perkins’ Expanded Core Curriculum, Bill and Margot felt like partners in David’s educational journey. Too many times they had seen other kids who attended their local schools without leaving their home environment, and, as a result, found it incredibly difficult to move into adulthood and life beyond the home that involved other caregivers, new responsibilities, and routines. 

But with Perkins, Bill and Margot saw their son unlocking more opportunities. David learned many life skills and strategies, developed interests, invested in peer and adult caregiver relationships, and after leaving Perkins, David was ready to engage in the broader community with more independence. After experiencing David define his own success and graduate from Perkins, Bill and Margot volunteered their time to support the school. 

Now spanning over four decades of support, the Moomaw family continues to partner with Perkins. They have supported both on and off campus efforts to provide the best education possible to students and even remained in contact with Denise, the Perkins staff member who accompanied them to Germany all those years ago. To this day, Margot still calls Denise to talk through new things happening at Perkins and to find out what resources might be appropriate for David at this point in his life. 

We are so grateful for families like the Moomaws, who advocate fiercely for their son and for students with disabilities. Their support represents a core Perkins value, one that we believe with our whole heart: every child deserves to learn and learning is for life. 

If you’d like to learn more about planned giving and the various ways to support Perkins, contact us today.

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