By Kam Breitenbach, a member of the Rotary Club of Parker, Colorado, USA, and advisor to the Parker Rotary Community Corps
In Douglas County, Colorado and many counties in the United States, the school district finishes educating those with disabilities when they turn 21 years of age. How can this population integrate into their community and experience the joy of giving to others? This is where Rotary can impact their lives through a Rotary Community Corps!
The Rotary Community Corps (RCC) of Parker is for disabled teens and adults in Parker, Colorado and surrounding communities. This service oriented RCC aims to help a population of special needs teens become a part of their community, have a purpose, and learn leadership skills while making new friends. Sponsored by the Rotary Club of Parker, the RCC is the first of its kind and serves as a model for other communities interested in engaging people with special needs. As an advisor for the RCC of Parker and President-elect of the Rotary Club of Parker, I am proud of our RCC members.
Last year, the RCC of Parker was asked to bring a small group of members to present at the Rotary District 5450 Conference in Keystone, Colorado. A few years ago, only one or two members would have agreed to go, let alone speak on stage to an audience of more than 200 people. Yet last year, six of our members were met with a standing ovation at the conclusion of their address. Attendees commented on the young adults’ poise and ability to talk about all the things they had accomplished with so much enthusiasm.
In January of this year, the group was asked to give a presentation for Rotary International President K.R. “Ravi” Ravindran. Once again, they got up and shared their stories about what they do in the RCC and what it has meant to them. President Ravindran was so touched by how the RCC of Parker has become a Gift to the World that he made a donation to the PolioPlus Fund on their behalf.
The RCC of Parker has not just touched the lives of developmentally disabled, but has also connected a group of parents who share resources and friendships that are just as important as those of their children. They have truly become a Gift to the World by inspiring others with disabilities to become a valued asset in their communities.
For those who have relatives or friends with a developmentally disabled child or adult, to know that their child could also become a Gift to the World is an amazing feeling. It’s proof that Rotary can and does make a difference in all kinds of ways. It simply takes a champion to try something new.
To learn more about Rotary Community Corps, sign up for the Rotary Community Corps: Community Solutions for Community Challenges webinar where I will be sharing how to grow a successful RCC.
The Rotary Community Corps (RCC) of Parker is inviting all Rotary Clubs to participate in their next project. They are making fleece blankets for the local hospital and people in need in their community to distribute during the holiday season. Since the RCC has developmentally delayed members and cutting material is difficult. They are calling on Rotary Clubs around the world to assist them with this project and add their clubs names to the blankets. Learn how your club can get involved.