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Letters to the Editor published on Aug. 8, 2012
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Society for Handicapped Children & Adults a worthy charitable cause

Editor, Ceres Courier,

Many people are still unfamiliar about our 65-year-old organization.

Society for Handicapped Children & Adults has served thousands of people with disabilities throughout its existence in the community. Despite some structuring changes, staff changes and name changes, one important thing has remained the same - the dedication of the organization to help enrich and improve the lives and self-sufficiency of those experiencing short-term, long-term or permanent disability of any type.

Society for Handicapped has several recreational programs that have been successfully running more than 20 years. With the help of very dedicated volunteers, these programs have enabled adults and children with disabilities to experience the thrill of snow skiing, the adrenaline rush or water skiing, the excitement of riding a bike on 2 wheels, the prom, the pride of bowling a strike and so much more. You see, we don't focus on what you can't do, we focus on what you CAN do. We base our organization around the idea of "endless possibilities," not limitations.

Through our Loan Closet, we have loaned hundreds of people durable medical equipment, such as wheelchairs and hospital beds, to help them maintain their own self-sufficiency and live comfortably. Many people have told us how our organization has changed the lives of their children, their relative, or their own lives. For us, it's more than our job, it's our passion. And we hope to continue this amazing organization for another 65 years.

Most assume that we receive government funding because we work with adults and children with disabilities. This is simply untrue. We do not receive any government dollars. We are a 100 percent privately funded organization, relying on the generosity of the community, local businesses, individuals and grants to help fund our programs and services. A little over a year ago, we opened a thrift store, aptly named "Endless Possibilities Thrift Store" next to our offices. Not only has our thrift store brought in a little extra money to help with our funding needs, it has provided us an opportunity to teach much needed job skills to people trying to obtain employment in our area. Through our workforce development program in the thrift store, we partner with several other agencies in the community, providing a job in the store and on the job training. These invaluable skills and opportunities have led some of our participants get permanent jobs in the community as well as in our organization.

When the economy is struggling as it is today, we have a difficult time finding businesses and individuals that are able to contribute financially. We often get told that they are not in a position to donate or they are simply just keeping their own heads above water. We really rely on our fundraising events to help us continue from year to year. Our largest annual fundraising event is our Gala. In years past, our Gala was a black-tie formal at a local restaurant that we rented for the evening. This year, we decided to take it down a couple notches and mix it up. This year's Gala, 2012 Wild West Gala: Jeans & Jewels will be held on a local ranch property in Modesto on Saturday, Sept. 15 from 6 p.m. to midnight. Event tickets are on sale for $85 per person (21 and older). The evening's activities and attractions will include dining stations from local restaurants, beverage bars, dessert stations, midway games such as a Wine Toss and Baseball Throw, a mechanical bull, photo booth, live music and dancing and much more. We are fortunate to have some main event sponsors but we are still seeking sponsors to help make our event a success. Our sponsorship levels vary from $500 and up and include extra marketing and recognition opportunities. We need help in getting the word out about our event and really, about our organization, Society for Handicapped Children and Adults.

Before I began working for Society for Handicapped, I worked as a 911 dispatcher for eight years. After participating in a local volunteer program (contest, The Valley Apprentice), I discovered that I really wasn't in the "right" career for me. I left my job security, benefits package and comfortable salary to follow my heart, working with people with disabilities at a great organization. I have not regretted my decision for one second. Every single time I see a smiling face enjoying water skiing, every time I hear a cheer from a kid that just bowled a strike, every time I see a parent's eyes well up with tears as they see their child ride a bike on two wheels, unassisted, for the first time, I am overcome with joy. I am so blessed and thankful to work for an organization that makes such an impact on lives, but more so, I am thankful that I get to celebrate each of these moments with the children and adults in our programs. It is an amazing experience.

Michelle Gill,

Special Events Coordinator,

Society for Handicapped Children & Adults

1129 8th Street, Ste. 101

Modesto, CA 95354


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Faith in humanity restored

Editor, Ceres Courier,

A recent experience at the Stanislaus County Fair has given me affirmation that there are still people who are being raised the right way.

After enjoying a few carnival rides and games with my son and wife, we were ready to grab a bite to eat. To my horror, when I reached for my wallet, it was gone. Immediately thinking someone had stolen it, I was panicked and upset. My wife suggested that I backtrack and check to see if it had fallen out on one of the rides.

Much to my amazement, when I approached the last ride my son and I were on, the carnival worker handed me my wallet. Nothing was missing! After I thanked him and told him he saved me a lot of time and trouble, he responded that someone had found it on the ride's seat and turned it in to him.

I would like to thank both of these people for doing what is right. My experience at the county fair will now be remembered as a night that showed me there are still people out there who are honest, not to mention a good life-learning moment for my young son. Thanks again to all involved.

Robert Mendonca

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LETTERS POLICY: Letters to the editor will be considered for publication but must be signed with the author's name, address and telephone number. Letters should contain 250 words or less and be void of libelous statements. Letters may be sent to The Ceres Courier, P.O. Box 7, Ceres, CA 95307, or emailed to