Having an aunt with cerebral palsy since birth, I have a first hand account of the time and effort my grandmother, grandfather and now mother and father have put into my Aunt Toni's well being. So when I was asked by my good friend, Bill Raven of Raven One to One Marketing, to take part in the annual Via Golf Tournament this past Monday I couldn’t resist.
In Lehigh Valley since 1954, Via is a non-profit human service agency that needs and depends on the help and generosity (both financial and volunteer support) of others to provide the much needed care for individuals with disabilities like Autism, Cerebral Palsy and Down Syndrome to name a few.
Having run the Lehigh Valley Half Marathon Relay in the past, and having attended this year's Via All-Star Basketball Classic Banquet, I was somewhat aware of all the great things the folks at Via do to help those individuals and families in need. But to see the outpouring of time and energy put into a golf tournament on a rainy Monday in May was amazing.
From the moment we stepped on the grounds at Northampton Country Club to the time the clubs went back in the trunk, the staff was cordial and willing to accommodate us at ever turn. Hats off to the staff at the country club and more importantly all the amazing folks at Via for an even wider eye-awakening experience.
I remember a time when people would look at my Aunt Toni (and perhaps still do) with fear and reluctance as she is developmentally delayed. Remember these individuals didn't ask to go through life with these cognitive disabilities. Don't walk the other way when you see them, embrace them. You'd be surprised how much you might learn and fortunate you'd consider yourself to be touched by them. I know I'm a better person for having my aunt in my life.
I'm sure there are other great charities doing similar great deeds on a daily basis...I'd be happy to hear what others think.