News and Press
Kaleidoscope Summerville Participates in Autism Walk and other community events
November 10th was a chilly autumn morning but representatives from Kaleidoscope Summerville were up bright and early for the annual Autism Awareness Walk in downtown Chattanooga. Ten individuals and three staff formed the Kaleidoscope group that raised $340.00 for the cause. A community partner designed and donated t-shirts for everyone at the center prior to the event. In addition, the participants in the walk actually received a second t-shirt from the Chattanooga Autism Center who sponsors the event, which is their main fundraiser of the year.Hundreds of families participated in the two mile long walk from Coolidge Park over Walnut Street Bridge and back to the park again.
Although one individual with cerebral palsy had to walk more slowly, he expressed great pride in being part of the fundraiser. As he passed back over the bridge, he seemed to get his second wind and walked faster and with more pep and energy. At the end, he proclaimed, “Fallon, I love you. I love you with all my heart. Thank you for bringing me with you.”
Fallon Sargent, Site Manager for Kaleidoscope Summerville, has a driving passion to see community inclusion become a reality for men and women who have developmental and intellectual disabilities. She provided the impetus for our participation in the Autism Awareness Walk this year but this is only the beginning of the creative ways she and her staff are working to promote community connections for those in the day program.
They are pursuing collaborative partnerships with local agencies and non-profit organizations that benefit our individuals served as well as the populations targeted by these groups. An example is the Cozy Critter project in which individuals create small stuffed animals from donated, recyclable fabric and materials and then give these gifts to children at the Boys and Girls Clubs, residents at the nursing home, foster children, and others.
Individuals with disabilities can make a huge difference in our communities through volunteering their time. Adults from Kaleidoscope Summerville regularly volunteer at Sloppy Floyd State Park where they complete clean-up and landscaping tasks. On November 19th, they also participated in the “Home for the Holidays” food distribution for residents of Chattooga County and helped to give away frozen turkeys for Thanksgiving. Upcoming plans include participation in the Summerville “Hometown Christmas” Parade on December 3rd, featuring individuals riding on a festive float bearing our Kaleidoscope banner.
People with intellectual disabilities are an important part of our community. Kaleidoscope is supporting them to make valuable connections that enhance the quality of their lives and the lives of those who have the privilege of getting to know them too.