Guardian Angels Offers Special Populations Opportunities To Shine
They live among us and accomplish great deeds. Their fundraising supports the City of Cape Coral, Parks & Recreation Department’s Special Populations program and increases community awareness about the needs of individuals with developmental/intellectual disabilities.
Guardian Angels, a 100% volunteer, nonprofit, tax exempt 501 (c) (3) organization, supports the Freida B. Smith Special Populations Center. In 1979 it aided three adults in a summer camp.
Now more than 200 individuals are served-about 100 adults per day-ages 22 and up. All donations directly assist programs. Special Populations mission is to promote independence through education, exposure, encouragement and experience in a safe and caring environment.
“Staff teach participants to be all they can be,” remarks Fred Mohr, community ambassador for Guardian Angels for Special Populations. He is the single largest benefactor to date. The first endeavor for the Mohr family was funding a beautiful butterfly house on the grounds. “Guardian Angels is the best volunteer organization I have worked with.”
Special Populations Supervisor for the City, Sara Sansone, volunteered at a summer camp in high school for students with disabilities. Her passion blossomed and she earned her Bachelor’s degree in Elementary and Special Education. “We focus on abilities in a positive atmosphere.” Sansone has been deeply involved with expanding programs for 26 years.
Vince Marcucci, president of Guardian Angels and Recreation Specialist I states, “Because our individuals are vulnerable, we reinforce their rights continually to increase their awareness and safety.” Besides educational lessons, participants learn grooming, health and hygiene. “It’s about choice.”
Structured programs meet goals and include music, art, dance and therapeutic opportunities. Computers add much to learning. Life skills adult day training program, after school, evening, school’s out camps and special events continue to provide enhanced experiences. Programs evolve, offering variety. Pop’s Cafe in City Hall employs some individuals while sixty others work part time for the city in a variety of jobs.
Future vision for expansion keeps Sansone cognizant to ensure quality and respect for each person. The City of Cape Coral is their largest supporter. State of Florida Medicaid Waiver funds provide support for some life skills programs. Other resources originate from local organizations and grants. Sansone states, “We would not be able to exist without the support from our generous community.”
A very special fundraising event for the ten-year anniversary of the Special Populations Golf Classic is on the horizon for November 5, 2016. A Seven Night Eastern Caribbean Cruise for Two sails from March 18-25, 2017 and will be raffled on the day of the golf fundraiser. Tickets are on sale now, at a value of $2900-chances are $20 each or six for $100-do you feel lucky? A new event, Run-4 Special Populations, a 5K, Snowman Shuffle Fun Walk and Doggie Stroll is scheduled for late winter as well as the ever popular Fashion Show and Auction.
Guardian Angels for Special Populations need new volunteers who can chair committees or serve on committees for their fundraisers. They also need donations from the community to support the events. Please contact them at: MySpecialPops.org or 239.574.0574 or Fred Mohr at 239.677.1077. Help make this the best year ever for this unique group!