In the midst of handling housing, transportation, health care, and other logistics involved when caring for individuals with disabilities, it can be easy to leave out one other essential element: recreation. So that’s why Advocates created our first #SummerofFun campaign this year, highlighting the importance of providing funding for recreational and leisure activities for the people we serve and their families. Over three months, 88 donors raised more than $8,700 to fund 27 recreational activities for 260 people, including outings to the zoo, whale watching tours, hikes, BBQs, and more.
One of our biggest #summeroffun outings was to see the Boston minor league baseball team, the PawSox, play in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. Thanks to the generous donation of the English Family Fund Foundation, seven families (25 people) from the Autism Alliance of Metrowest, a program of Advocates, sat right behind home plate, received a goody-bag of snacks and a baseball to be signed by the Paws mascot, and were gifted bobble heads from WEEI Sports Radio.
Kelly Hurley enjoyed the game and dinner at the ballpark with her two sons who are on the spectrum, and she is an Autism Support Specialist for the Alliance. She said the PawSox organization was very accommodating for this special day. Many of the children experienced their first baseball game and were still learning how the game works.
“This was a great way to introduce our boys to the game without having to go into Boston,” she says. Another mother was also grateful for a first-time experience that her son will always remember.
Throughout the evening many families made new connections, and Kelly says it was nice to be around other people that understand the challenges that come with an event like this such as noise and lights. One family shared how they’ve previously had to leave events for which they’ve paid a fair amount of money, so this was a welcome change.
“It was a supportive environment and family atmosphere that was non-judgmental,” Kelly says.
One mother, Sharon, wants to let the donors know that their generosity “truly enhanced our lives.” “Ryan really enjoyed himself,” she says. “I feel so lucky that we were able to be part of the Summer of Fun. We feel blessed to be part of the Advocates community.”
To learn more about our #SummerofFun campaign, click here.