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Lake Forest Couple Receives Milton Brown Award

David and Donna Raye make a difference with SEDOL students.

David and Donna Raye have been honored with the Milton Brown Award for their work with the Special Education District of Lake County.

Brown was a longtime special education administrator for the Special Education District of Lake County who specialized in business and operations, and exemplified the many dedicated people who use their talents and skills on behalf of individuals with disabilities.

The couple was nominated by Dr. Carol DuClos, Special Education District of Lake County program review and development specialist, and by Ann Subry, executive director of SEDOL Foundation, for their ongoing support and commitment to the special needs students in Lake County.

Lake County Chapter No. 336 of the Illinois Council for Exceptional Children sponsors the Milton Brown Award, which was presented to the Rayes at the Exceptional Children’s Week Awards Ceremony on May 6 at the Ramada Inn in Waukegan

David Raye joined the Special Education District of Lake County Foundation seven years ago and serves as the chairman of the board. Under David’s leadership, the foundation has reached a milestone of raising more than $500,000 to grant more money than ever to the  Special Education District of Lake County center and various programs. 

Donna has volunteered on many SEDOL events and has leant her creative talents to the annual Dinner Dance held in March.

In 2009, David and Donna started the “Help Them to Hear” program. More than 400 children in  Special Education District of Lake County’s care have been identified with partial or complete hearing loss. The cost of hearing aids — typically $1,500 to $6,000 — is prohibitive for most families. The “Help Them to Hear” fund provides assistance to the many families that don’t qualify for state funds.

The grant started by the Rayes served as the seed money used to start the “Help Them to Hear” technology development and implementation program at Special Education District of Lake County’s Audiological Services Department in Gages Lake.

This program aims at creating a system for identifying children who may otherwise not get the help they need, and making sure they are fitted with hearing aids or other technology. This will enable them to develop speaking, reading and other skills.

David and Donna have been married 29 years. They have two children, Emily, 15, a sophomore at , and Evan, 13, who attends , both in Lake Forest.

David Raye is owner of The Goddard School in Third Lake. After two decades as an executive in the corporate world, David’s young children inspired him to dedicate his life to delivering high-quality education for infants, toddlers, pre-school and kindergarten children. David’s extensive research led him to The Goddard School. 

Within seven years, David’s school quickly has become one of the top 10 schools of more than 400 Goddard Schools in the United States in all business, program, and health and safety categories.

David serves on the Deacon Board of , which consists of leaders who conducts all business on behalf of the church. He also serves as chairman of the board for the Special Education District of Lake County, which assists severely disabled children ages 3 to 22.

David also is past president of the Grayslake Exchange Club whose mission is eliminating child abuse. Most recently, David joined the board of the Hindustan Bible Institute in Chennai, India, where he has participated in short-term missionary work with the poor and underprivileged.

- information compiled by Wendy Petera

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