Thursday, December 7, 2023

Living and Learning

$15,000 grant will help fund programs for disabled youth

Large white house
Living and Learning Enrichment Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of individuals with disabilities, has received a $15,000 grant from the Wendell and Doris Rogers Foundation (WDRF) for the second consecutive year. The contribution will support the essential operations of the organization, officials said.

The Wendell and Doris Rogers Foundation, known for its commitment to enhancing the lives of veterans and their families, at-risk youth, and youth with disabilities, continues to be a beacon of hope and support for communities in need, center officials said. 

“General operating support is often the most challenging to secure, yet it is crucial for our organization,” said Jennifer Provenzano, grants and outreach specialist at Living and Learning. “This generous grant from the WD Rogers Foundation enables us to maintain and improve vital functions ranging from staff wages to facility utilities, ensuring that we can continue to provide exceptional services to our community.”

Living and Learning Enrichment Center was founded in 2015 by Rachelle Vartanian and is a 501C3 charity headquartered in Northville, in the former Don Massey estate.

Vartanian graduated from Eastern Michigan University with a bachelor's degree in teaching for the emotionally impaired. After college, she worked at lock up center for adjudicated youth for 10 years and during this time, she went back to school and obtained a master's degree in educational psychology with a concentration in personality and development. 

When her youngest son was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome, she returned to college for her second master's degree in autism spectrum disorders from Madonna University.  

Looking for social skills groups that would benefit her son brought her to the realization that there were few and far between. Those available cost an exorbitant amount of money and had her driving 45 minutes each way. She created her own local group which met at the Farmington Public Library.

Realizing the need for services for individuals with disabilities, and their families, she took a leap of faith and quit her job after being a special education teacher for 20 years, selling her family home, drawing money from her retirement fund and downsizing her life to begin the Living and Learning Center.

Vartanian expressed her deep gratitude for the continued support: “The Wendell and Doris Rogers Foundation's unwavering commitment to our cause is not just a financial contribution; it's a powerful endorsement of our vision. Their support empowers us to enrich the lives of those we serve, and it's an honor to carry forward the legacy of Wendell and Doris Rogers in our daily work. Together, we are creating a lasting impact that transcends beyond our immediate community.”

Living and Learning staff members also thanked other foundations, corporations, and private citizens who share the vision of the center. “It's through these partnerships that we can collectively work towards providing a higher quality of life for individuals with disabilities and their families,” added Vartanian.

For more information about Living and Learning Enrichment Center and its programs, or to learn how to support its mission, visit