About Us

EKO's Mission is to provide social and educational enrichment to individuals with special needs, their families and educators in a safe, inclusive and supportive environment

The Exceptional Kids Organization (EKO) is a public charitable 509(a)(2) and Not-for-Profit 501(c)(3) organization incorporated by the State of California. We serve over 500 individuals with development or physical disabilities in the South Bay area by providing educational and social support our children need.

Students Having Fun at an EKO Event

We are dedicated now more than ever to create additional opportunities for young people and to support their families by offering forums presented by professionals in areas critical to parent/guardian knowledge.

 

Quick Facts About EKO

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We have served the Los Angeles Special Needs community since 2000

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We've hosted over 300 events since our founding

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Every year we award up to $10,000 in classroom grants.

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Our volunteers combine for over 1,000 hours of service annually

History

In 1999 our founder, Beth Muraida, determined that her son’s special education class was not served as the regular education classes were. The students weren’t attending field trips and they needed computers and classroom supplements that budgets wouldn’t cover. Beth, along with other parents, began to fundraise and eventually 13 classrooms in the South Bay of California were updated with the equipment needed.

After such success, more and more parents, teachers, and community members joined Beth in her mission which led to creation of the Imperial PTO. This gave the group the ability to plan more activities such as monthly-themed dances and a prom event at the Hacienda Hotel in El Segundo with over 100 teens and family members in attendance.

As more community members joined in support of this wonderful cause, a Board was formed in 2000, and the organization was incorporated as the EKPTO (Exceptional Kids Parent Teacher Organization) aka EKO.

Over the years the EKO has grown to support families and teachers throughout the entire Southwest Special Education Local Planning Area (SELPA) by providing teacher grants of $300, individual student scholarships and family education activities.

Board Members

Testimonials

Our son loves to attend the monthly dances held by EKO, especially the June Prom. Our son is our gold. We loan our gold to those we trust. Those that will teach him to be a better individual, and more responsible in the community. Our son has grown with EKO. EKO is to be trusted for your special needs individual.

Dominguez Family — San Pedro, CA

It has been a rewarding experience working events for the EKPTO in the past five years. The time and effort I have put in is always eclipsed by the good feelings I take out.

Jim S. — Volunteer

When Sean attends the EKO dances I know he will be there with many of his friends and other peers that he is familiar with.  I have great comfort knowing that Sean will enjoy an evening out while socializing, dancing and having a snack in a very fun, well chaperoned and safe environment. We are so fortunate to have the EKO in our area!

Kerry R.

EKO is a God send! As a parent of a special needs child it is difficult to find SoCal events that are appropriate and fun for our kids. I remember attending my first EKO dance and feeling apprehensive that “how could these kids have fun” and “no one will be dancing”… I was pleasantly surprised to see the entire crowd of kids jumping and dancing with excitement. You should see the rendition of “YMCA” that they do!

Kevin L. — Parent

We have been involved with EKO for a long time. Our special needs son has blossomed with the support of many programs, specifically EKO. Drake started attending dances ten years ago – how time flies. We always attended the dances with him, but in the last few years he has asked us not to. While this is disheartening – on the flip side, that’s a huge step forward – he’s maturing. EKO has also supported the parents by holding parent information sessions during the dances. The best information for our community has always come from other parents. Our journey has been blessed with others helping us and now us helping others.

Stephanie B. — Drake's Mom

He went from a socially awkward teenager to a more socially perceptive and understanding young man. It is quite amazing to watch these kids interact, cheer each other on, socialize (!), sing, dance and just have fun. The EKO organization has so many loyal, longstanding, wonderful volunteers who support these well-organized, festive functions.

Stephanie B. — Drake's Mom