|Rock ‘n’ roll to benefit Wranglers|
|Written by Deborah Stone|
|Monday, 25 October 2010 12:39|
ShareCome January 1, the Carol Edwards Center will officially close its doors.
As a result of this action, a number of programs will consequently lose their home, as well as potentially the financial support they have been receiving from the City of Woodinville.
The Woodinville Wranglers Special Olympics Team is one of the programs affected by this decision. Founded in 1998, the Wranglers offer year-round social and recreation activities, including Special Olympics sports, for intellectually disabled participants of all ages. Over the years, the program has grown and today, over 100 individuals participate annually. Approximately two-thirds of them are school-aged, and most have graduated from Northshore schools.
The Wranglers Special Olympics team is one of the largest per-capita teams in the state, offering track and field, basketball and bowling. It prides itself on having won several division championships.
In response to the center’s closure, Spotlight Music of Woodinville is turning its upcoming student "Jam Academy" Showcase event into a fundraiser for the Wranglers.
"I was surprised to learn that the Wranglers had lost its funding," says Chris Griffin, owner of Spotlight Music. "I immediately agreed to help by converting our ‘Jam Academy’ showcase into a fundraising event. We’ll also be offering a guitar raffle to further help the fund-raising efforts for this worthwhile program." He adds, "These wonderful kids and their families have endured so many obstacles and certainly costs are associated with raising a child with special needs. Spotlight is glad for this opportunity to help offset those costs."
Elizabeth Sanders, mother of two Wranglers, comments on the program’s value to her children, Will, 16, and Emily, 11.
She says, "It’s a wonderful social outlet and allows my kids the opportunity to make friends. It’s a great after school activity, which gives them an avenue to pursue sports. They don’t have the skill set to do cut sports in the schools, but by participating in the Wranglers, they can play basketball, go bowling and do track and field. They can be a part of a team and experience the camaraderie that comes with it." Sanders also acknowledges all the internal rewards the program has given her children, including pride, self-confidence, respect and a sense of belonging. She adds, "They fit in, when fitting in is a challenge in the ‘real world.’ And they are fully accepted for who they are, knowing that their best is good enough."
Sanders is touched by the support of Spotlight Music, as well as that of Mike Summerfield, owner of Big Daddy’s, where the event will be held. Summerfield has hosted Spotlight Music’s "Jam Academy" showcases in the past, as well as various fundraising events, as he is a firm believer in supporting the community and doing what he can to help out a good cause. The upcoming event will feature several local bands, including the "Blah Blah’s," "No Assurance," "Mid-life Crisis" and "B.O.S.S. 3.0."
Sanders explains that it’s an all-age show and free to the public. She adds, "It’ll be a pass-the-bucket for donations. And we’re going to have a representative from Special Olympics Washington on hand. Also, some of the Wranglers and their families will speak about the program, which will give people a visual of who we are."
Donations will be specifically earmarked for new uniforms for the Wranglers Special Olympics Team.
"We need to raise about $3,000, which will cover the cost of 70 jerseys and sweatshirts," explains Sanders. "Any extra will go towards getting some new equipment." Because past "Jam Academy" showcases have been well attended, the hope is that this one will also draw a crowd. "We anticipate the event will be an overwhelming success," adds Griffin.