Updated: Dec 28, 2019
SUPPORT FOR FAMILIES OF CHILDREN WITH DISABILITIES
Celebrate Differences started out as a small organization with a goal to offer a support group with families of children with disabilities, but has grown to be so much more. Founder, Rebecca Christiansen, is a mother of fraternal twins, Kyle and Ryan. Ryan was born with Down Syndrome, and she became heavily involved with the Down Syndrome community. “I met so many families who would ask me why I only helped families who had children with Down Syndrome,” says Rebecca. “I realized I could help other families and so Celebrate Differences was founded. It has been an amazing ride.” Celebrate Differences is an all-inclusive Disability Awareness Center, welcoming all children and their families regardless of age or disability. The organization offers services such as monthly workshops, a resource library, support groups, play groups, and fun family events. It is a community where those with disabilities can celebrate their uniqueness, utilize their gifts and truly be themselves.
One of the organizations goals is to inspire growth in the social skills of their participants. Their MORE program (More Opportunities for Recreation and Employment) is focused on immersing their participants in the local community by having them engage in volunteer and job positions. MORE is focused on several key aspects: health and wellness, improving life skills, improving vocational skills, and community integration.
Celebrate Differences has many fundraiser events including a 5K in April, a car show in September, and an upcoming golf outing. However, something they are very excited about is their recently purchased spice shop in Oswego, A Pinch of Happiness. “The store provides the highest quality, freshest and most flavorful spices, teas, extracts and coffee, while providing meaningful employment to those with disabilities,” explains Rebecca. “Our workers with disabilities are involved in every aspect of the business from blending, packaging and sales. Our mission touches the hearts of our customers while improving the lives of these individuals like no other business in our community.”
To support Celebrate Differences and their mission, be sure to stop into A Pinch of Happiness for a little spice shopping. There is always a need for volunteers in the shop as well as any of their fundraisers and programs. To learn more about Celebrate Differences, visit www.celebratedifferences.org . Mindy’s January Giving Inspiration: Leave a copy of a really good book that you’ve read in a café for someone else to enjoy.
ABOUT THE WRITER Mindy Kyle is the owner of Be Inspired Studios and is passionate about helping people discover what brings them joy and to live a full, healthy and happy life. She has her Masters in Fine Arts degree in creative writing from DePaul University and lives in Naperville with her husband, three children and the cutest dog in the land.