Think of the look on your child's face when he got his first hit or she won her first race. Picture the joy in the accomplishment, the thrill of achieving something he or she didn't know was possible.
That's what WDSRA gives children and adults with special needs -- moments of excitement, confidence built on success.
If you goThe WDSRA Foundation is hosting two golf outings to benefit Western DuPage Special Recreation Association programs for children and adults with special needs. Both events are Monday, June 25, at Arrowhead Golf Course, 26W151 Butterfield Road, Wheaton. Register online at wdsra.com. Info: (630) 681-0962, ext. 132, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
18th annual Women's Golf Outing
When: 7:30 a.m. for registration and continental breakfast; 8:30 a.m. for shotgun start
Details: Nine holes with cart, buffet lunch, raffle, on-course refreshments
Charlie Long/WDSRA Golf Classic
When: Noon for registration and buffet lunch; 1 p.m. for shotgun start
Details: 18 holes with cart, dinner, awards, raffle, silent auction
The Western DuPage Special Recreation Association, a partnership of nine park districts, offers a variety of programs all aimed at creating opportunities for children and adults with special needs.
Sometimes that means a girl with Down syndrome can play soccer at the park district with her mainstream classmates because a WDSRA aide joins her on the field to help keep her focused on the game. Sometimes it means a boy in a wheelchair can be a star on the court because he competes on the Wheelchair Warriors basketball team.
For others, it's a chance to explore the arts through art, dance, drama, music or even video production. It's the opportunity to experiment and maybe perform onstage in the spring Performing Arts Recital.
And for many, WDSRA is the center of their friendships as they go to movies, watch sports, play games or just hang out with their peers. Girls can join WDSRA's Girl Scout troops, adults can help the community through WDSRA's Aktion Club sponsored by Kiwanis International, and teens can bond with a peer without a disability through the Saturday Buddies Club.
In all, WDSRA serves more than 4,500 children and adults with special needs in more than 1,500 programs, trips and events annually.
On Monday, men and women will take to the golf course in two WDSRA Foundation events that support the program by raising awareness of WDSRA's mission and raising money to help fund its offerings.
Jeoffry Hayden first participated in the Charlie Long/WDSRA Golf Classic when he was invited to fill out a foursome. Though he had no previous ties to WDSRA, he was moved by the event's cause. Today, he's a WDSRA Foundation trustee, telling us more about his connection to the organization.
When first asked why I play, I was unaware that it was specific to my support of the WDSRA Foundation and its Charlie Long Golf Classic.
I quickly thought of the reasons I love golf and consider it the greatest game: the vision of a long drive, the feel of a purely struck iron, and the sound of a holed putt; the dedication to improve your game; the challenge of a tough hole; the joy of posting your best round; the excitement of playing a great course; the camaraderie of your usual foursome; and the power of a great shot to overshadow several bad ones.
When I realized I was being asked why I support Western DuPage Special Recreation Association by playing in the Charlie Long/WDSRA Golf Classic, the answer was suddenly much more important and the words more elusive. However, upon further thought, the reasons for my participation share many of the same words as my love of golf.
Like many, I was first introduced to WDSRA through the golf outing. Initially invited to fill a foursome that included a co-worker, a customer and a WDSRA staff member, my participation has since grown to include the roles of donor, sponsor, volunteer and WDSRA Foundation trustee.
My participation in the Charlie Long/WDSRA Golf Classic has given me the opportunity to see the bright smile of a participant as they greet the arriving guests at our annual dinner auction, to feel the emotion of a parent's voice when they describe what WDSRA has done for their child, and to hear the incredibly generous stories of our hall of fame nominees.
I volunteer to support the staff's dedication to individuals with disabilities in DuPage County. I donate because I know the challenge of fundraising in a tough economy. I play because my entry fee will be used to bring joy to the heart of a young adult who otherwise may not be able to afford a WDSRA program.
On Monday, June 25, I will once again play in the Charlie Long/WDSRA Golf Classic. I'll revel in the excitement of a special event and enjoy the camaraderie of a large crowd coming together for a great cause. Most importantly, I'll be there in support of the WDSRA mission. Through athletics, social activities and day trips, WDSRA gives its participants the power to overcome their daily challenges with wonderful experiences.
Please join me for a great day of golf and to learn more about the vital services WDSRA provides to our community.