Thank you for taking a few moments to get to know our STRIDE Program & how we can partner to give an experience of a lifetime. What do you get when you get when combine an incredible group of individuals and the happiest place on Earth? A vacation of a lifetime that will bring unspeakable joy.
For those of you who don’t know us, our STRIDE Program is a local non profit that works kids & adults with intellectual & developmental disabilities. We provide therapy, a day training program, one on one community access, respite and therapeutic recreation activities. We have 11 Special Olympics teams and have participated in competitions all over the state as well as at the USA games in New Jersey. The amazing individuals we serve have the opportunity to work on developing social, physical, and educational skills that can enrich their lives. While everything we do works toward a specific goal, our overall goal is to improve the quality of life for the kids & adults we serve and their families.
Next year will be our 20th anniversary of opening our program. Since we began, it has always been a dream of ours to give an experience of a lifetime to the folks we serve. We decided that the best gift we could give them is a trip to Disney World! We have 20 participants signed up to visit the House of the Mouse and we can't wait to show it to them! We are working on raising money for the trip to help cover some of the costs our program will incur for scholarships, travel expenses, and park experiences. I can't even begin to do justice to the excitement level our participants have about this incredible trip. Many of the participants we serve on a daily basis require some form of financial assistance. Through fundraisers, donations, and grant writing we are able to make sure that every person who needs our services can get them, regardless of their financial situation.
We have set a goal of raising $20,000. This money helps offset the cost of the trip. It will cost us almost $1,700 per participant & staff member. That cost includes our park tickets, hotel stay, food, and flights. Each participant was asked to contribute a portion of their expenses. If there is a participant who can’t pay, they will be given a scholarship for the trip. For several of them, they are dedicating money they earn through work and have a sense of pride that they are helping to fund their trip. If we exceed our fundraising goal, we will put the additional funds towards character meet & greets, Star Wars dinners, and any other opportunities we think the participants will love.
Our participants face obstacles on a daily basis. For their families, navigating the process and commitment that comes with raising a child with a disability through their adult lives can be very difficult. Our program strives to provide ways to enhance their lives, increase their independence, and make sure they are living the life they deserve. Trips like our Disney one will be an opportunity for them to experience what so many of us take for granted. They will be given a chance to shine like the stars they are and make memories they will cherish forever.
On this trip, we have an individual whose life expectancy was literally less than a month—but who is now a thriving, fun loving, stubborn, and incredible 15 year old. We have a participant going who has lived on her own for 40 years and been a model employee for the past two decades—even walking to work when she didn't have a ride so she wouldn't be late. For some it’s the culmination of a dream vacation that started the first time they saw a Disney World commercial, and for some it will be the first plane ride and the first week away from home. This trip represents the hopes and dreams that their families have had for years—to see their children happy beyond words and exploring life with no boundaries. You aren’t funding a ride on a roller coaster—although we will be tackling every one in the park. You will be funding a chance to give them an opportunity that is as amazing as they are. In a word, you are funding HOPE!
I hope that you will consider helping us make this an incredible experience. Throughout the trip we will post pictures, videos, and do live streaming from Disney World so you are able to see the gifts your generosity has made possible.
I truly hope you will partner with us in making this dream come true for the incredible people we serve.