Special Needs Chapter Program
Those of you who attended the Triennial Convention last September will recall that we announced our new Special Needs Chapter Program following Saturday afternoon’s presentation from Special Olympian Cindy Bentley and Chair-Elect of Special Olympics of Wisconsin, Vince Vitrano. Later that evening, we were also inspired by the story of Dr. Ronan Tynan who, among his other accomplishments, competed as a Paralympian.
This new chapter program is off and running, with a number of our chapters already planning to show support for this important initiative. If your chapter isn’t certain how the program works, here is more information on the guidelines and ideas to get your chapter on board.
This two-year pilot program provides an extra $500 in Match Funds to chapters that conduct a fundraiser to benefit an organization that serves those with special needs, an individual with special needs, or their caregiver. There are no special forms required to show your support. Simply fill out a Match Fund request, as you would for any fundraiser sponsored by your chapter, and indicate that this is in support of our “Special Needs Chapter Program.” That’s all there is to it!
Some chapters have asked what qualifies as a “special need.” Actually, there are many different types of special needs, including physical, mental, or emotional disabilities. Special Olympics, the Alzheimer’s Association, and Easterseals are just three examples of organizations that serve those with special needs. Individuals might benefit from funds raised to help install adaptive devices, such as a wheelchair ramp at their home. Funds may also be raised in support of individuals who care for those with special needs – perhaps covering the cost of having professional care for the special needs individual for one day, giving the caregiver a “respite day.” If you aren’t sure whether your idea for a chapter activity qualifies for the Special Needs Chapter Program, simply contact the Member Engagement Department.
As a bonus to each chapter, we are providing one copy of the “Special Needs Acceptance Book” free of charge. These books are being sent to each chapter secretary/treasurer or secretary. For its Special Needs Match Fund activity, your chapter may choose to host an event to raise money to purchase additional copies of the book to be donated to local schools in your area. More information on the cost of additional copies will accompany each book.
In the coming months, my hope is that you will submit stories to this blog of the ways your chapter has shown support for this new program.
And just a reminder of our Member Engagement contact information:
Member Engagement Shared Email
phone: (414) 278-6604 (Direct)
phone: (414) 278-6570 (Direct)