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On Thursday, June 13, you can join the Dream Team and make a real difference in the lives of people with disabilities.
June 13 will be the second annual #Give Big CHQ, an opportunity for local non-profit organizations to collect online donations from their supporters. The Resource Center is partnering with Filling the Gap, Inc., to raise money for our “Dream On” Kathy Seastedt Memorial Fund. The fund, named for a 25-year TRC employee who died in 2008, provides money to people with disabilities who have urgent needs. For the 2017-18 fiscal year, we spent $20,292.22 to assist 89 people, which averages out to about $228 per person. And in the case of those who needed help with their rent or utilities, the Dream On Fund enabled about 30 people to keep a roof over their heads or keep the lights on.
#Give Big CHQ is being organized by the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation and the Northern Chautauqua Community Foundation. To spur some friendly competition among the 100 non-profits participating in #Give Big CHQ, cash prizes will be awarded to the organizations that raise the most money and have the most donors during the fund drive, which runs from 12:00 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. There also will be cash prizes awarded to the organizations that raise the most money during designated hours that day. That’s why we’re asking people to make a donation between 9:00 and 10:00 a.m. during the “Morning BUZZ Power Hour.”
Please support the “Dream On” Fund by making a donation on Thursday, June 13. Visit www.givebigchq.org/organizations/filling-the-gap-inc to make your donation and learn more about the “Dream On” Fund. Below are some examples of people who have been assisted by the fund.
Dan Gage took a big step last fall when he headed off to Mercyhurst University for his freshman year. Dan is on the autism spectrum, and he and his family realized he would need special supports in order to have a successful college experience – this was going to be his first time away from home, and social situations were stressful for him. Dan received money from the “Dream On” Fund to enroll in the university’s AIM (Autism Initiative at Mercyhurst) program, which assists people with autism to successfully adjust to college life and to thrive in the college environment. Dan, who is majoring in music therapy, enjoyed his first year at Mercyhurst and is looking forward to returning to school this fall. He credits the AIM program with giving him a positive college experience, and he is grateful to the “Dream On” Fund for helping him to be able to enroll in the program.
Living most of her life in New York City, Ada R. used English Sign Language to communicate. But when she moved to Dunkirk several years ago, she discovered that deaf people in Western New York use American Sign Language. Ada was in a bind — she was living in an unfamiliar place, and she was experiencing difficulty communicating with others. The “Dream On” Fund gave Ada money so she could take classes in American Sign Language. Now Ada can communicate better with others.
After her mom passed away, Rosalie R. of Dunkirk wanted to spend time with her mother’s sister, who lives in DuBois, PA. But Rosalie didn’t have enough money to buy a bus ticket to and from DuBois. The “Dream On” Fund paid for the trip, and Rosalie was able to spend quality time with her aunt.
Dan Chadwick recently moved in with his mom to help take care of her. But he soon got tired of sleeping on an inflatable mattress. With money received from the “Dream On” Fund, Dan was able to buy a futon bed, a comforter and a blanket. Dan now enjoys comfortable nights sleeping on his own bed.
Each summer, about 70 people with intellectual and developmental disabilities get to spend a few days at Camp Onyahsa, participating in the fun activities that camp has to offer. For many people, the annual Camp Onyahsa experience is the highlight of summer. But occasionally, people need assistance in covering the cost of attending camp. Last year, the “Dream On” Fund provided financial assistance to four people so they could attend camp. One of those people was Matt Baran. Matt likes the food they serve at camp, and he really enjoys the experience of sleeping in a cabin. His favorite activities are singing songs, attending the campfire and going on the pontoon boat. And Matt, who enjoys working, had this to say: “I like camp better than going to work.”