Program gets support from community
When the founding committee of Special Connections sat around the dining room table at the home of Jennifer Price in Morris, they had big dreams to begin providing services for people with disabilities in Grundy County.
After the first few years of operation for one of Grundy County’s newest non-profits, they are amazed by the generous support the organization has received from the community.
Special Connections provides social activities and other support services for people with disabilities and their families in and around Grundy County. The board is comprised of Deb Bates, Kelly Dransfeldt, Stephanie Kessler, Jeremy McNabb, Sue McNabb, Lanette Lewis, T. Brent Newman, Jennifer Price, Jeff Rzasa, Kelly Thompson and Kristie Witte.
“People have been so encouraging,” said Jennifer Price, president of Special Connections said. “We know there is so much work to do for our disability community here in Grundy County, and we’ve worked hard to try to help, even though we’re just getting started.
“Apparently, others are seeing what we’re doing; it’s really incredible how kind people have been with moneyand with their time. We couldn’t be morethankful.”
Among those who have helped are Larry and SusanTarman of Geo’s Pizza in Coal City. This past summer, the Tarmans gathered some of their friends together at their home in Goose Lake, and offered free pizza, games, prizes and pontoon rides to participants in Special Connections.
“That was such a special day,” Price said. “The Tarmans worked very hard to have things organized for all of our participants at Special Connections. It was a fantastic time and everyone enjoyed themselves very much.”
Frank Varner at Ebbey George’s in Morris also decidedto help. Varner, who organizes an annual golf outing, decided this past year the proceeds of the outing would benefit Special Connections.
"We received a very generous donation from Frank Varner, but even greater is the support he has offered to our organization,” Price said. “He is always asking what else he can do to help.”
To finish out the year, Grainger Foundation recognized Special Connections with a $10,000 donation.
“This was a gift that was totally unexpected, and very much appreciated,” Price said. “With these funds, we were able to purchase an accessible bus for activities and Special Olympics competitions. The bus was customized with lettering from donations made by Ray and Rose Grossi of Midwest Signworks and Grundy County Sheriff Kevin Callahan.
“I know everyone at Special Connections is excited to receive the outpouring of help and support, and we’re going to make sure we continue to work hard to increase our disability programs and awareness. We’re just getting started, and we have great plans to help people in Grundy County.”
If you would like to donate or volunteer, or for more information, visit Special Connections of Grundy County online at www.specialconnections.org,or call (815) 545-3397. “Like” Special Connections of Grundy County on Facebook to stay up to date with what’s going on.