Leaving a Legacy to His Forever School

Eric Child (center, above) is revising his estate plan, making Kirby School a beneficiary of his trust, benefiting the financial aid program at Kirby School. “What Kirby does for a student lasts a lifetime; I wanted my legacy to do the same. It is an investment for the future,” Eric said.

Eric’s relationship to Kirby School is an unique one, involving a shared interest in trains, a sense of belonging, and a desire to make a lasting local impact.

Eric Child with Trevor Park, courtesy of The Santa Cruz Sentinel

Child, a train enthusiast, met Trevor Park, alumni class of 2017, when Park was a 6-year-old budding train enthusiast back in 2006 at the MAH toy train show. With support from Trevor’s parents, Mary and Malcolm Park, the two would work together to construct the Fern Creek and Western Garden Railroad, a spectacular model railroad that occupies most of Child’s garden at his home on Ocean View Ave. In 2016, Trevor brought Mr. Child to Grandparents and Special Friends Day at Kirby School. Child’s experience was profound.

During his youth and adolescence, Mr. Child attended a different school just about every year. The impermanence left him feeling that he didn’t have a school he could call his own; a stark contrast to the experience he witnessed at Grandparents and Special Friends Day. Kirby feels like his forever school.

In reflecting on his decision, Mr. Child said, “There are so many worthwhile things you can do, so when I began thinking about my estate and its impact, I looked at many of the non-profits in the area–all of them doing truly important work. Yet, as I thought about what is important to me, and how I could do more than affect an immediate need, I focused on education. It was at about the same time that I attended Grandparents and Special Friends Day with Trevor and saw Kirby School first hand; it’s classrooms, it’s faculty, how it works. I was truly impressed with every teacher I met. I saw how Kirby School isn’t just teaching kids, it’s teaching kids to think. It was then that I realized the best thing I could do was to support Kirby School.”