Let The Sun Shine!

Sponsors Needed for Annual Sunshine Center Fundraiser; Circus Fun For All

By Esther Davis McKenna
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The Sunshine Center, Inc., has been helping folks with developmental disabilities for over 70 years. Much of their work relies heavily on fundraisers and donations to continue supporting the community. 

 They invite the public to this year’s annual fundraiser, “Under the Big Top,” which will be held on August 10 at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Galveston from 6pm to 9:30pm. 

 Sunshine Center, Inc. is a private, non-profit organization founded in 1953 by a group of parents whose children had Down syndrome. Sunshine was first established as a private elementary school offering learning opportunities for children excluded from public schooling. 

 When legislation passed in the 1970s to include these students in the public school system, the center became an off-campus facility serving students with special needs within the Galveston Independent School District. 

 The center adjusted to reflect more legislative changes over the years, developing programs to increase the independence of adults with developmental disabilities. 

 Current programs assist individuals with developing and maintaining educational, vocational, social, and life skills that allow them to lead a happy and fulfilling life. They also provide support services and education for family members. 

 Most importantly, the Sunshine Center provides a safe space for clients to get out into the community and socialize with their peers. 

Circus Fun For All Ages Tickets for “Under the Big Top” cost $50 per person, for any age. Admittance includes dancing to music by D.J. 

Jay Flowers, a photo booth, face painting, clowns, a nacho bar, and more. 

 There will be a variety of items offered for the silent auction and raffles including spa treatments, art, sports items, cocktail gift baskets, local event tickets, and gift cards, among other items. 

 Board President Laura Tacquard is overseeing this year’s annual fundraiser and is stressing the need for community involvement. “Raising funds is what keeps us going. The money allows us to buy needed supplies and allows our clients to participate in activities,” she said. 

 “Awareness is key. The more people who know what we do, the more people are willing to share their time, talents, and connections with us.”

 “We are always looking to partner with individuals, groups, and businesses that align with our clients’ needs,” said Tacquard.

 Placeholder imageHow You Can Help There are several ways you can make this year’s annual fundraiser a success. Individual tickets can be purchased for $50 each and the different levels of sponsorship run from $100 to $1,000. 

 “Our board works tirelessly to recruit local businesses and individuals to sponsor this event so that all the proceeds can go directly to our center’s programs,” Sunshine Center Executive Director Stephanie Carmona said. 

 There will be a silent auction during the event and donations are needed in advance of the event as well. 

 “We rely heavily on grants and donations to provide vital services to adults with developmental disabilities. Without generous support, we would not be able to serve the community for 70 years,” Carmona said.

 “Too many individuals often wait 10 years or more on the state’s list for funding. Sunshine is the only facility of its kind, committed to serving these individuals regardless of their ability to pay,” she said.

 Carmona, who has been director of the center for 20 years, encourages folks to tour the center to see the new sensory and pollinator garden and all of the other services they offer. 

 “The happy faces of our [clients] remain the best way to see what donor support can do to help us prove our motto, ‘disability does not mean inability.’” 

 “The clients who attend the Sunshine Center are a very special group of people,” Tacquard said. “Seeing clients enjoy our services in person is a great introduction to what we do.” For those who are interested in a tour of the facility, call during normal business hours, Monday to Friday from 8am to 4pm. 

 The center hosts a variety of events throughout the year, including community outreach and educational family support sessions. Check out the calendar on their website to see what’s coming up.

 For clarity, please note that the center is located at 1726 21st Street; the annual fundraiser will be held at the Knights of Columbus Hall, located at 1912 Winnie Street. 

 You can purchase tickets, become a sponsor, or make a donation in several ways. Visit their Facebook page and/or website at www.sunshinecenterinc.org, or mail/deliver your donation to the center at 1726 21st Street. 

 If you are a local and would like to arrange the pick-up of a donation, please call the center directly at 409.763.5029 and ask for Michelle or Stephanie.

Placeholder image If you scan the QR code provided here, you can use PayPal as payment. Please make a note at the time of payment as to what you are purchasing. For example: “tickets,” “sponsorship,” etc.