Community raises $164,000 for special needs children

Another successful Decadent Dessert fundraiser

Aspire Special Needs Resource Centre surpassed its goal at the 23rd annual Evening of Decadent Dessert by raising a $164,000.

The event on May 12 pulled in $129,000, an increase from 2016, and exceeded its $125,000 goal. The annual Aspire Children’s Raffle also raised $35,000.

“We’re very grateful for people choosing us. Dollars are tight these days. People can make choices about what events to attend or where to put their money. We’re just grateful they have chosen us,” said Aspire executive director Michelle Sluchinski.

Aspire assists special needs children with developmental and physical challenges including those with autism, Down syndrome, vision and hearing loss, and others.

Funds raised from the event go to support programs and specialized equipment purchases, as well as fee assistance for families struggling to afford Aspire fees.

Sluchinski said government funding doesn’t cover entire fees and more parents these days need help.

“They will try and pay as much as they can but just in the last two years we’ve really seen that request for fee assistance jump because of people losing jobs.”

She said Aspire sees about 350 children each year through programming and touches about 2,000 families in Central Alberta through referrals and information distribution.

“We really are quite a big referral service. When a family is searching for something often they’ll find us and if we can’t provide the services they need we direct them to who does.”

Sluchinski said the number of clients increased when the population climbed in past years.

“The growth slowed down, but we still do have families that are coming to us all the time.”

The 5th annual Walk for Aspire will be held June 10 at Parkland School Playground. For information visit aspirespecialneeds.ca.

szielinski@reddeeradvocate.com

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