When Joel and Doris Abramson retired, they took a close look at what they wanted to accomplish with their giving. While they were glad to donate to different causes each year, Joel, a World War II fighter pilot and retired businessman, and Doris, a former opera singer, wanted to find a way to contribute that would live on forever.
“We love kids and felt we wanted to make a contribution to the ones who may need extra help to reach their potential,” explains Doris. In 1992, the couple established a permanent scholarship fund at the Connecticut Community Foundation to support college students planning careers teaching children with learning disabilities.
In 2014, the Abramson’s scholarship was awarded to Haley Callahan of Middlebury. “I’ve been planning to teach special education since the sixth grade. I cried when I heard I’d received the scholarship,” recalls the Pomperaug High School graduate, who made special arrangements during high school to earn credits by working with students with a variety of disabilities. Now, with the support of the Doris and Joel Abramson Scholarship Fund, Haley is studying special education at Southern Connecticut State University and moving toward her dream of teaching young elementary school students with learning disabilities. “I don’t look at what the students can’t do – I focus on what they can. That’s where you start.”
Joel and Doris are thrilled to know that they have helped put Haley on her path. “We wanted to give people like Haley a chance to do what they cherish and dream about. Helping students like Haley is exactly what we were hoping for. You drop a pebble and the ripples spread out,” explains Joel. Doris agrees. “Haley embodies the spirit of our scholarship. It’s so valuable. Think of the lives you’re changing.”