Rotaract Blue offers Open Arms for special-needs community

| 27/07/2016
CNS Local Life

Open Arms gala committee: (back row, L-R) Francesca Hamman, Tapi Moyo, Nyron Jones, Chynae Samuels and DeAnn Blackman; (front row L-R) Kellie McGee-Sandy, Alice Ramos and Vanessa Williams (Photo by Maggie Jackson)

(CNS): Rotaract Blue Cayman Islands raised more than $20,000 at their ninth annual fundraising gala held 16 July for their Open Arms programme which was established in 2007 to enhance society’s understanding of persons with special needs and enrich these individuals’ lives. About 150 people attended the gala, which aims to shine a spotlight on the special-needs community and raises funds for related schools and organisations: the Lighthouse School, Special Needs Foundation Cayman, Maple House, Sunrise Adult Training Centre and Special Olympics Cayman Islands.

Kellie McGee-Sandy, the gala’s fundraising chair, said of the initiative: “The impact of the Open Arms gala has exponentially risen since its inception in 2007, largely thanks to our generous corporate sponsors and donors. This has afforded Rotaract Blue with the gift to be advocates for a minority of our population who aren’t always able to advocate for themselves, but to also make a difference through raising significant amounts of funds and awareness for a cause which is largely under-resourced in our islands.

“There is no denying the challenge for the committee to put on an event of this magnitude alongside full-time jobs and busy lives. However, the energy on the night, the joy on the faces of the award recipients, and the successful outcomes makes it entirely worth it.”

McGee-Sandy said that this year’s guest speaker, Chelsea Rivers, inspired and touched the hearts of the entire audience as she shared the many challenges and realities for her family who are raising a son who is “differently-abled”. In addition, her family is supporting the special-needs community by pioneering “The Blue Spot” Facebook page to ensure that those parking in handicapped spots are people who truly need it.

Apart from the funds raised by the event, she added, “We raised significant awareness allowing the community to nominate individuals in the special-needs community for a number of awards. The recipients of these awards were then honoured on the night of the gala.”

Tags: , , ,

Category: Donations, Service Organisations

Comments (1)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Talent! Commitment! Performance! We are so very proud of the young adult Rotaractors who bless our Cayman community with their energy, grace and ability.