BALTIMORE (WJZ)—The three-day Festival of Trees is about to get underway. It’s a major fundraiser benefiting the Kennedy Krieger Institute.

Jessica Kartalija has more on the event and how it benefits children.

READ MORE: Flash Floods In Maryland Close Some Schools, Roads; Several Rescued In High Water, MSP Responds To More Than 500 Calls

Not only is it a fun event that gets everyone in the holiday spirit, the proceeds help Maryland children with special needs.

At the Kennedy Krieger Institute, Javier and his sister go to speech therapy.

Eight-year-old Javier has cerebral palsy and a developmental disability. He also has a speech delay and uses an iPad to help him communicate.

Javier’s speech therapist, Jennifer Markowitz, has been working with him for three years.

“At Kennedy Krieger, we really strive to focus on seeing that whole child to really get the best picture of them and to really develop the most appropriate individualized plan,” Markowitz said.

Programs like speech therapy are funded through events like the Festival of Trees.

READ MORE: CDC Advisory Panel Backs FDA Decision For COVID-19 Booster Shots, Baltimoreans React

“Sometimes the money helps in clinic, or assisting technology, so that we can help children obtain communication devices or other technologies to help promote their independence,” said Lauren Tooley, Kennedy Krieger Institute.

Javier’s sister, Iliana, came to the institute for help with a speech delay. After making drastic improvements, she has graduated from her program.

“It helped me to … talk,” she said.

The three-day festival with gingerbread towns and toy train gardens, more 100 craft boutiques and family activities is a Maryland tradition. But it’s children like Javier and Iliana, who benefit the most.

“People can understand me,” Iliana said.

Since the tradition started in 1990, Festival of Trees has raised more than $17 million for Kennedy Krieger Institute.

As part of our continuing community commitment, WJZ is a proud sponsor of the Festival of Trees, which runs Friday  through Sunday at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium.

MORE NEWS: 'It's Really Unfortunate': Students In Anne Arundel County React To News Of Postponed Homecoming Dances

Other Local News:
[display-posts category=”local” wrapper=”ul” posts_per_page=”5″]