Hello friend! Our Veteran-inspired project has been selected as one of 200 finalists in the State Farm Neighborhood Assist Grant Program. YOU can help us by VOTING for our project! The 40 projects receiving the most votes will receive a $25,000 grant award from State Farm. You just need an email address to vote, and you can vote up to 10 times each day starting August 16th, and ending on August 25, 2017.
In this National Competition, there are only 8 selected out of the 40 finalists in Pennsylvania. AND…The Celebration of Life is the only competitor in Pittsburgh!
The issue: Increasing numbers of adults with disabilities require our compassionate help to lead lives of meaning, and to make their own contribution to our society.
Envision a vibrant educational, vocational and residential community nestled on 30 to 300 acres, utilizing GREEN building and environmental technologies, that would serve adults with cognitive and physical disabilities. Imagine a setting very similar to a college campus offering workforce training and development, university collaborations of work-study student interns in all fields of academic study, and an early retirees/senior citizen core of mentors and job coaches partnering in work-teams with adults with disabilities. The first pilot site will be in Pennsylvania, with plans to replicate the project nationally. International expansion is also under discussion.
The campus would feature five distinct on-site businesses, each of which would offer employment opportunities to client residents as well as to members of the surrounding community. Product sales of plants, organic vegetables, fresh herbs & spices, and flavorful, exotic hybrid varieties of produce would be one very lucrative outcome from acres of technologically-controlled aquaponic greenhouses. Another future social enterprise business would offer pet care services. Lavish animal kennels, grooming & bathing salons would allow residents to lovingly care for the adored pets of business travelers and vacationing pet owners.
Celebration of Life was conceived, designed and is now being developed by a group of 15 Founding Members who have each enjoyed the special gift of a family member with a physical or developmental disability. All have experienced the full range of emotions regarding services currently available for disabled adults after the legally-required public educational services and therapy programs end at age 21.
The problem is that increasing numbers of disabled adults require our compassionate help to lead lives of meaning, and to make their own contribution to our society. Concerned family caregivers, often working professionals, need additional services and resources to provide lives of greater meaning and encourage highest possible levels of achievement for special needs adults.
The group of Founders, includes health care professionals, college professors, college career counselors, psychologists, an ordained priest, four high school teachers, a municipal department authority, an elementary school teacher, and a professional grant writer and public relations specialist. In addition, the Advisory Board includes six professionals, including a CPA, Lawyer for the land & property donations, Lawyer from the Special Needs Alliance, Professor of Nonprofit Leadership courses, and a nonprofit organizations expert consultant.