Special Strong is looking to expand globally to provide services to the special needs population, and we need your help. Read more below about our story and how you can help.
When I was four years old, I got diagnosed with a learning disability and a mood disorder. I was immediately put on medications and started to attend counseling with minimal benefits. I had a lot of trouble in school and got bullied and made fun of for being “different” than my peers.
As I got older, my parents decided to enroll me in sports to give me an outlet. I quickly got the nickname “Daniel the running machine” because of how fast and active I was on the field. As my parents saw the benefits of playing sports, they bought me a gym membership to the YMCA to give me an additional outlet when I wasn’t playing sports. I quickly fell in love with fitness because of how it made me feel, and I dedicated my spare time to learning everything I could about it.
A few years after graduating high school, a mentor of mine saw my passion for fitness and suggested that I become a personal trainer for the special needs population. The next day, I received a personal training magazine in my mailbox that was supposed to go to our neighbor’s mailbox. I knew that this was God confirming to me the direction I needed to go, so I studied and became a certified personal trainer. I worked at several gyms with great success and learned how to adapt fitness for the special needs population.
In 2016, I started Special Strong to provide health and fitness to the special needs population in North Texas. I didn’t have any connections to the special needs community, so I didn’t realize how big the need was until after our first year when we had several waiting lists for areas that needed our services.
In August of 2019, we started working with Brandon. After a few months of working with him, we caught him on video walking for the first time in eight years. You can see the video and read the full story here
The video went viral and had over 150 million worldwide views. We had parents all over the world send us emails about people in their lives needing a service like ours, but we had no one to refer them to because no one else does what we do. My heart broke as I read story after story, not having a solution for them. I realized there was a huge global need for our services.
I did a lot of industry research and learned some saddening things.
* About 56.7 million people — 19 percent of the population — had a disability in 2010 (census.gov)
* Nearly one-fifth of all Americans—more than 54 million men, women, and children— have a physical, sensory or intellectual disability (census.gov)
* In 2017–18, the number of students ages 3–21 who received special education services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was 7.0 million, or 14 percent of all public school students (nces.ed.gov )
I asked myself … how can we help this global need if we are only in North Texas?
To date, we have already served over 1,000 special needs clients with zero injuries and an 80% success rate. The training model that we use to work with special needs is nationally accredited and recognized by some of the top organizations in the world. Based on these facts, we determined that our model could easily be duplicated worldwide and that creating a licensing model for our company was the best route to take to help people all over the country.
In order to create a licensing program and make this a reality, we need to raise money for the following startup costs
* Legal fees for licensing
* Operations manual
* Strategic planning
* Website updates
* Software expenses
In total, the initial fees will total around $40,000. We plan to use as much of our own capital as we can for the startup costs.
a.) we are a for-profit company, which means we cannot provide tax write-offs for donations
b.) Once we create a licensing program, part of our global initiative includes creating a sponsorship program. Our sponsorship program will come from our own profits and from community donors. The sponsorship programs will go to help those who cannot afford our services. To date, Special Strong has sponsored over $20,000 in services for clients who cannot afford services.
c.) Please keep in mind that each donation has a 2.9% transaction fee + a $0.30 fee. We suggest you add that back into your donation so we receive your full donation
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