Family Connection of South Carolina exists to serve people, including many children, with disabilities and special health care needs, and this year, the organization will raise money for the mission by showing the community that those they serve are rock stars.
The nonprofit kicked off the fundraising drive for its annual Buddy Walk event with a party for participating families at Brussell’s Gymnastics on Lake Murray Blvd. Kids and parents enjoyed playing in the gym, along with a lunch of pizza and chicken nuggets.
“We love doing things like this” Randall Russell of Brussel’s Gymnastics said. “We’ve been so blessed, so if there’s any way we can give back, we want to.”
Over lunch, Family Connection organizers announced two new additions to the fundraising effort. Families will place donation boxes in local businesses, schools and other public places, allowing supporters to donate $1 or $5 to put a name of their choice on a “rock star” to go on display. If all the stars are claimed with donations, the effort would raise $35,000 for Family Connection.
“That helps Family Connection serve so many more people throughout the year, ” said Padgett Mozingo, director of communications for Family Connection of South Carolina.
Kids and parents alike will also have a chance to spread joy throughout the area by leaving painted rocks for others to find. The kids began turning the rocks into works of art Saturday, with some writing simply their names, others adding inspirational messages, and others simply producing bright bursts of color and patterns. “FCSC” was added to the back of each rock. The kids and their families will leave the rocks for others to find, and those people can choose to keep them or pass them along to others.
“It raises awareness, which is the whole point of what we’re trying to do,” Mozingo said. The message of inclusion was an easy one to appreciate Saturday, as kids with special needs joined those without in the gym, enjoying playtime side by side, and then painted rocks together, far more alike than different.
Buddy Walk 2017 is set for Oct. 22 at Saluda Shoals Park, and the brightly colored rocks will be making appearances in the community beginning this week. More information on the event is available online.