WACOSA hosted its first Harvesting Happiness Benefit Breakfast on Thursday, Sept. 25 at Automotive Parts Headquarters (APH) in St. Cloud. Nearly 60 people gathered for one hour to hear inspirational stories about the determination and success of adultwith disabilities, and approximately $17,500 was raised to support WACOSA’s mission.
“We are so thankful for the outpouring of support generated from this first-time event,” says Steve Howard, WACOSA Executive Director. “Hosting a benefit breakfast allowed us a platform to share our story and build relationships that didn’t exist before. We are passionate about helping adults with disabilities improve their quality of life, and we need community engagement to make that happen.”
The highlight of the morning was a brief video featuring moving stories about WAOCSA clients and the impact WACOSA has had on their lives. The event also included a warm welcome from Cory Bartlett, APH President, a speech from Steve Howard and a testimonial from Karla Myres, WACOSA Board of Directors.
Born with multiple physical and developmental disabilities, Lee’s family was concerned about his transition from school to work. “We were aware of WACOSA, but it still was just the scariest thing,” says Nancy Bartlett, Lee’s mom. After nearly 12 years, Lee still gets excited about working at WACOSA. “He gets thrilled, like someone was going to a birthday party.” adds Nancy. “I am so grateful he has WACOSA to go to and work.”
Nearly 10 years ago, Ric came to WACOSA after experiencing a traumatic brain injury following an altercation while out with friends during St. Cloud State’s homecoming celebration. The dispute left him in a comatose state for nine months, and doctors did not expect him to recover. Beating the odds, Ric not only recovered, after coming to WACOSA, he also began to thrive. “I’ve come a long way because I’m not a person who gives up,” says Ric. An employee of WACOSA ThriftWorks!, Ric enjoys his work and interacting with the public. “The people at WACOSA ThriftWorks! treat me with such respect,” adds Ric. “My favorite part about coming to WACOSA ThriftWorks! is just being able to be out in the community and do normal stuff.”
To view the eight minute video including these, visit wacosa.org and select News & Events.
“We are especially thankful to our sponsors and table hosts for helping us to get this first-time event off the ground,” adds Howard.
Event sponsors included APH, Park Industries, Borgert Products, Inc. Brenny Transportaion, Inc. Shift Technologies, Inc. and MCI Carpet One. In-kind donations from Custom Catering and Tell-A-Vision Productions were also accepted. Table hosts included John Bartlett, Chris Dolney, Karla Myres, Park Industries, John Riordan and Rachael Sogge.