What makes Richmond, VA so special? It is the caring hearts of its residents.
March created lasting memories throughout Richmond. People of all ages and abilities gave of their time, energy and talents to help those in need. They unselfishly gave to others, and in return, they received rewards that money could not buy.
For this Richmond Disability Examiner, I had the honor of participating in four non-profit events in March. Non-profits that give opportunities to excel in sports, learn new skills so they can be productive citizens in the community, become strong advocates for their cause and participate in making wishes come true for those with life-threatening medical conditions.
Participants of the Annual Virginia Victory Games took home more than the gold medals; they took home higher self-esteem and confidence. St. Christopher's School in Richmond, VA came alive with children and adolescents ages 6 – 21 as they participated in an exciting day of club throw, softball throw, shot put, standing long jump, bowling, wheelchair slalom, 60m, 200m and 400m.
All competitors were classified based on their level of disability and they were paired with wonderful volunteers to assist them throughout the games. These athletes were competitive – many competing in multiple games to show their athletic ability.
The Virginia Victory Games, formerly known as The Rainbow Olympic Games, was first organized in 1981 in Richmond, Virginia by a group of physical and recreational therapists. The idea was to give young people with disabilities the challenge of athletic competition similar to their non-disabled peers. The Games were an immediate hit and have been a success each year since. In 1992, The Rainbow Games (as it was called then) became a non-profit organization, relying on contributions from businesses, organizations, and individuals to fund the Games and continue the tradition of offering eligible participants the opportunity to compete at no cost to them.
For more information about the 2015 Virginia Victory Games:
Virginia Victory Games
P.O. Box 34425
Richmond, VA 23234
REAP – Richmond Entreprenur’s Assistance Program / Real People Real Jobs Real Hope
REAP participated at the Virginia Victory Games as a vendor. The SPIN-BOARD was a huge success. Family, friends, spectators and athletes spun the wheel for prizes. And many spun the wheel more than once. Attendance at the Games provided an opportunity to share the mission of REAP – to provide job training and employment for individuals with disabilities. People with disabilities have ABILITIES and are encouraged to reach for the GOLD in all aspects of their lives.
REAP is a 501(c)3, non-profit organization providing comprehensive job training and meaningful employment for individuals with disabilities. Using a social enterprise model, they have launched two businesses; Heart to Heart Gift Baskets & Packaging and New 2 U Sports. Their participants are well prepared to succeed in an integrated work environment in our businesses or in the community, as they choose.
If you need training and employment, or to make purchases:
Karen Hannon, Executive Director
2106-B N. Hamilton Street
Richmond, VA 23230
Kanika Davis from Lynchburg was crowned Ms. Wheelchair VA 2014. Her Platform: Life Beyond Limits. Motto of Inspiration: Pulling the Wheels in Motion.
Kanita is employed as a Transition Counselor with the Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services. She uses a wheelchair due to sustaining a spinal cord injury during a surgery procedure when she was 15 years old.
Daphney Stanley - Ms. Wheelchair VA Franklin County. Her Platform: Once Voice, One Message, One Dream. Motto of Inspiration: Find Your Courage! Find Your Voice!
Whitney Stone - Ms. Wheelchair Martinsville Henry County: Her Platform: Disability Doesn't Define. Motto of Inspiration: I Can Achieve Anything I Want As Long As I Can Still Desire To Dream.
In addition to Kanika receiving a crown, Ms. Wheelchair VA also crowned two 2014 Little Miss Wheelchair Ambassadors Kacie Hodges, born at 1 ½ lbs with Cerebral Palsy and Kara Mclean diagnosed with Mitochondrail Syndrome.
The mission of Ms. Wheelchair Virginia is to educate, advocate, and raise awareness of the abilities and needs of the disability community in order to influence attitudinal, architectural, and social change for all Virginians. Furthermore, our program's mission is to inspire and motivate Virginians as role models of courage and hope. A female wheelchair user is annually selected as our titleholder to carry out our mission while representing Virginians with disabilities as well as all Virginians. The titleholder has a year-long reign speaking at various engagements throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Ms. Wheelchair Virginia program is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that focuses on the accomplishments of Virginians with disabilities. The Ms. Wheelchair Virginia program is led by a Board of Directors and operates through the hard work and dedication of its volunteers.
They are seeking contestants for Ms. Wheelchair VA 2015.
Ms. Wheelchair Virginia
P.O. Box 1500
Fishersville, VA 22939
I had the privilege of representing Make-A-Wish at the 7th Annual Transformation Expo. CeCe Grimes, Jervetta Burns, Todd Wauls (not shown) and I, Make-A-Wish Granters, spent the day sharing the Make-A-Wish story with the event participants.
How it began …
Chris, 7, was diagnosed with leukemia. More than anything else, he wished to be a police officer. Caring people in his community granted his wish ... and set in motion a phenomenon that would create an unprecedented kind of charity.
Make-A-Wish serves a unique, and vital, role in helping strengthen and empower children battling life-threatening medical conditions. A wish come true helps children feel stronger, more energetic, more willing and able to battle their life-threatening medical conditions. For many, the wish marks a turning point in the fight against their illnesses. Doctors, nurses and other health professionals say, the wish experience works in concert with medicine to make their patients feel better emotionally and even physically. That is why wishes matter. That is why we grant wishes.
Make-A-Wish grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy.
If you are interested in offering your time and talents, contact:
Make-A-Wish® Greater Richmond
2810 N. Parham Road, Suite 302
Richmond, VA 23292
You WILL make a difference and impact your community when you give unselfishly of your time, energy and talent.
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