Collierville Education Foundation (CEF)
Our goal: To impact students and teachers in our community by funding every eligible teacher grant to enrich, expand and enhance the educational experience in Collierville. We strive to create innovative learning opportunities for our children and supply Collierville teachers with the tools they need to enhance their already active and engaging educational practices.
Here’s what we are celebrating: We have successfully kicked off our 2020 Capital Campaign, even amidst a global pandemic and the cancellation of our fundraising events.
Why we do what we do: Collierville Elementary School P.E. teacher, Richard Muse, noticed that students take home worksheets, books and materials from academic subjects to show their families what they’re learning. Many students don’t have P.E. equipment at home, so they can’t show off their P.E. skills. Collierville Education Foundation (CEF) awarded Richard a grant to start a program that allows select students to take home a bag of P.E. equipment to share the skills and activities that they learned in their P.E. class. Students can record their experiences in a journal that travels with the bag. This not only allows the teacher to see how the equipment is being used, but also inspires ideas for future users. It was a great way to encourage kids to stay active and get creative, even at home.
Here’s what we took away from 2020: Even in trying times this community wholeheartedly supports our students and teachers. They are willing to get creative alongside us to continue fundraising efforts so that we maintain our excellence in education.
Collierville Rotary Club
Our goal: Collierville Rotary is an organization made up of people who share a passion for and commitment to enhancing communities and improving lives across the world. Rotary’s Motto, “Service Above Self” reflects our belief in unselfish volunteer service to help others in need, whether locally in Collierville or other countries.
Here’s what we are celebrating: We are very proud of the following seven life-changing accomplishments from this year, listed from local impact to international impact:
- Donated food gift cards at Thanksgiving to thirty-five Collierville families identified as “families in need.”
- Provided an average of $300 in Christmas gifts to fourteen Collierville families identified as “families of need” so that children and parents could have a Merry Christmas.
- Raised just under $34,000 for Salvation Army to help fulfill its mission of helping people in need in the greater Memphis area. This was the largest amount raised in our area.
- Our Rotary Foundation reviewed grant applications from 12 local nonprofits and awarded a total of $18,500 to help nine of those organizations accomplish their worthy objectives.
- Raised $34,560 for the Rotary International “Polio Plus” fund whose mission is to completely eradicate Polio around the world. These funds will treat 11,520 children in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the only countries where this crippling disease still exists. Our club raised the 2nd largest amount in the 4-state area of Tennessee, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama.
- Submitted a grant application which was approved by our Rotary District for $5,000 to help fund concrete work for a driveway and walkways for La Limye’ Ministries in Archahai, Haiti. La Limye’ is a home for girls that was founded and is operated by Ellen Humerickhouse who is from Collierville and whose family still lives here.
- Partnered with Gift of Life to sponsor Aava Miranda, a 9-month-old baby girl from Belize City, Belize. Aava and her mom, Victoria, traveled to Memphis for life-saving heart surgery at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital. Without the surgery Aava probably would not have lived another 60 days.
Why we do what we do: Because we positively change the trajectory of 49 Collierville families, 9 local non-profit organizations, 11,520 children in Afghanistan and Pakistan, 12 little girls in Haiti and 9-month-old Aava Miranda from Belize. These are the people and causes who fuel our mission.
Here’s what we took away from 2020: First off, Collierville Rotarians are “People of Action.” It takes people who are unselfish with their time and resources to live up to the motto of “Service Above Self.”
There are opportunities to help people regardless of where they live, their background or their need. Early last year, we established goals, built a plan to achieve those goals and utilized the skills of Rotarians to make them happen.
Southern Reins Center for Equine Therapy
Our goal: Southern Reins was founded in 2015 to provide equine-assisted activities and therapies to serve children and adults with physical, cognitive and emotional disabilities and hardship throughout the Mid-South. Our goal is to help as many people as can benefit from the services we offer to foster growth, develop independence and inspire positive life change for everyone we serve. Using horses, we provide a unique recreational activity focused on enhancing life skills that translate to improvements in each individual’s overall quality of life.
Here’s what we are celebrating: 2020 was a year that no one could have imagined. While it was difficult and challenging, our participants reminded us that perseverance and courage can conquer even the greatest of obstacles. The achievement we are most proud of is that we were able to continue to provide the essential services our participants so greatly rely upon during the COVID-19 pandemic. While we suspended operations for two months during the “shelter-in-place” order, we used that time to develop safe operating procedures and protocols that enabled us to resume services; providing weeks of sessions for seventy-nine participants throughout the year.
Why we do what we do: Because of people like Reese. When Reese was 8-years-old, she was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, severe ADHD and Sensory Processing Disorder along with several food allergies.
Last year, Reese really wanted to take horseback riding lessons, so her mom searched around and found Southern Reins. After applying for a scholarship, Reese was so excited to find out she was approved. Now that she has completed a full session of riding lessons, she never wants to stop. She has fallen in love with horses.
Horseback riding lessons have helped Reese in ways her family could never have imagined. She is learning to strengthen the leg muscles she has always had problems with. She is learning to listen to instructions in an outdoor environment. She is learning to follow multiple instructions at a time. She is learning to make split-second decisions, which has always been one of her greatest struggles.
Reese has never been able to function in a hectic environment. Her brain literally shuts down, but she is overcoming that because she is doing something she has come to love.
Here’s what we took away from 2020: This year we learned to expect the unexpected. The steadfast resolve of our entire organization to succeed for those we serve – in good times and bad – is what continues to define and drive us to ensure the sustainability of Southern Reins. Our Board of Directors, staff and volunteers came together to pivot our approach – not just in programming, but also in the transition of our largest fundraiser of the year to a virtual event. Gratefully, our donors, supporters and advocates stood behind us and supported us to ‘ride out’ a challenging year. Overall, we have learned that the journey we shared in 2020 has made our organization stronger than ever.
Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF)
Our goal: Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation’s (JDRF) mission is to accelerate life-changing breakthroughs to cure, prevent and treat type 1 diabetes (T1D) and its complications. To accomplish this, JDRF has invested more than $2.5 billion in research funding since our inception. We are an organization built on a grassroots model of people connecting in their local communities, collaborating regionally for efficiency and broader fundraising impact and uniting on a national stage to pool resources, passion and energy. We collaborate with academic institutions, policymakers and corporate and industry partners to develop and deliver a pipeline of innovative therapies to people living with T1D. Our staff and volunteers throughout the United States and our five international affiliates are dedicated to advocacy, community engagement and our vision of a world without T1D.
Here’s what we are celebrating: While JDRF remains laser-focused on finding cures for T1D advancements in research, advocacy and community engagement have been made during this challenging year. JDRF’s advocacy efforts have ensured the Special Diabetes Program will be funded for the next three years netting $450M for T1D research. JDRF continues to fund research to enable the development of new therapies and technologies to make day-to-day life with T1D easier, safer and healthier as well as making sure these therapies are made available for all who need them regardless of insurance, status in life, age or geography.
Why we do what we do: The drug teplizumab has been demonstrated to delay the onset of T1D for nearly three years in people almost certain to develop the disease. Working with one young man, we were able to reverse T1D through treatment that corrects the effect of JAK inhibitors. This kind of story reminds us why we do what we do.
Here’s what we took away from 2020: We have always seen some of the most generous and loving acts of support between people who became members of a “club” no one wishes to join. However, we have witnessed the strongest commitment to perseverance and outreach in 2020 than we ever have before. Our community has stepped up to provide around the clock support for people who are facing the “highs and lows” of a loved one with T1D fighting COVID-19.