Jewish Center victim’s family awards scholarships to visually-impaired children

Jim LaManno (pink shirt) met the children and their families of the first Terri LaManno Scholarships yesterday.

Jim LaManno (pink shirt) met the children and their families of the first Terri LaManno Scholarships yesterday.

Although she died five months ago, Terri LaMsnno’s work at Midtown’s Children’s Center for the Visually Impaired (CCVI) lives on through two scholarships awarded yesterday.

“She loved this place. She looked forward to coming here,” LaManno’s husband Jim said yesterday. LaManno was an occupational therapist at CCVI for eight years. She spent seven of those years working with babies assigned to CCVI’s infant program and one year working with preschool-age children in CCVI’s center-based school.

LaManno was one of the three shooting victims at the Jewish Community Center and Village Shalom last April. She was killed in the parking lot of Village Shalom, where she was visiting her mother, a resident. Frazier Glenn Miller, Jr., a white supremacist, has been charged in the shootings.

LaManno’s family and supporters from across Kansas City and all over the world created a scholarship fund in her behalf. It will pay for a year’s worth of occupational therapy for two children at CCVI this year, and fundraising is continuing to keep the scholarship going.

untitled-(26-of-31)Jim LaManno yesterday presented scholarship certificates to the first two recipients, Samiyah El-Scari and Stephen Coulson and their families.

“These were her kids,” he said. “I’ve looked forward to this day. Its very important for this to happen.”

LaManno said his wife had told him a few weeks before her death how expensive it was to provide therapy to visually-impaired children, and how important it was. He described his wife as a giver, saying he realized they would never have had a “traditional retirement” like others  because his wife would always need to be helping others.

“Obviously my wife had touched many thousands of people,” he said. “This is about her. She loved to serve.”

 CCVI Executive Director Nicola Heskett said the scholarships mean the center will be able to serve more children.

“In effect she’s still working with them,” she said.

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