Special Kids Need Your Support

If there is any group that needs as much support as we can give them, then that would be children with special needs. They may be suffering from conditions such as Cerebral Palsy, Muscular Dystrophy, Multiple Sclerosis, Autism, Scoliosis, Spina Bifida, Down’s Syndrome or Blindness. They and their parents have a most challenging existence.

As the world very slowly pulls out of the global recession, agencies that try to help such children find it difficult to get all the financial support they need when money is so much tighter. President Obama had a most appropriate message during the summer with his summer service initiative: United We Serve.

But we cannot do this alone here in Washington. We can rebuild our schools, but we need people to be mentors and tutors in those schools. We can modernize our health care system, but we need volunteers in our hospitals and communities to help care for the sick and help people lead healthier lives. Economic recovery is as much about what you’re doing in your communities as what we’re doing in Washington – and it’s going to take all of us, working together.

I’m calling on all of you to make volunteerism and community service part of your daily life and the life of this nation. And when I say “all,” I mean everyone – young and old, from every background, all across this country. We need individuals, community organizations, corporations, foundations, and our government to be part of this effort.

That approach strikes a sympathetic chord among many people and organizations.

Here in BC Canada, Valley Therapeutic Equestrian Association (VTEA) provides therapeutic horseback riding for children with special needs and relies heavily on donations to continue its programs.

empowering special kids

Recently VTEA was the beneficiary of a major donation of donor management software from the SalesForce Foundation, which is a division of SalesForce.com. SalesForce.com is a world leader in customer relationship management (CRM) and cloud computing. The Foundation provides software support to qualified nonprofits and educators. This allows such social change organizations to focus more time on their missions and less time dealing with technology infrastructure. It donates 10 licenses of Salesforce Nonprofit Edition and a further 80% discount on any additional licenses that may be needed. This is a most powerful way of improving the organizational effectiveness of non-profit groups and over 5,500 groups around the world are now benefiting from this support.

Pete Thomas

Another example of the support being given to children with special needs children comes from the UK. Pete Thomas is a very well known professional saxophonist with an illustrious career. One of his first professional gigs was with Fats Domino and he was probably one of the first British musicians to feature with this 11 piece New Orleans band both as a soloist and as a member of the legendary horn section.

He has now launched a new website, Cafe Saxophone, which is a Fundraising site for charities and includes a Discussion Forum. Currently the site is raising funds for Band On The Wall, and specifically for the Gorton Education Village project. This aims to help with music education for children with special needs with an emphasis on how disabled and non-disabled musicians can work together in music and dance, as well as audio-visual production work and the creation of a Steel Band Academy. The Gorton Education Village project in East Manchester has created a single-site campus on an eight acre site providing 900 co-educational spaces and 110 specialist support SEN places.

Such examples help to make more people aware of these special needs children and hopefully volunteers and donors will rally round.

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