Adam Hayden (middle right) presents Reid Mende with a donation of $337 which will go towards the Summer Program for Children with Special Needs. Phil McLachlan/The Free Press

Youth donates birthday money to local foundation

Asked what prompted this generous gift, he said, “Because everyone likes to go to camp.”

For his 10th birthday, Adam Hayden asked all those attending his party to donate money towards the Summer Program for Children with Special Needs, one of many programs put in place by the Elk Valley Society for Community Living (EVSCL).

Hayden and friends raised $337 for the program.

Asked what prompted this generous gift, he said, “Because everyone likes to go to camp.”

Hayden, together with his family, met with Reid Mende and his mother Angela Wallin at the Fernie Aquatic Centre this past Saturday to present them with the donation. Through the EVSCL, 17-year-old Mende has been participating in summer camps and other programs since the age of six.

Fernie, Sparwood youth aged 6-17 participate in programs put in place by the EVSCL, specifically designed to help youth with disabilities. These groups often collaborate and participate in programs together.

“It’s wonderful for the kids,” said Wallin. “They do a lot of activities, they travel a lot.”

Wallin says she’s grateful for the program, as it allows Reid and other youth with disabilities to get out and enjoy their summer.

The Elk Valley Society for Community Living is a charitable, non-profit organization. They believe that, “…regardless of their abilities, all individuals should be given the opportunity to live with dignity as independently as possible within their own community.”

Since 1971, the EVSCL has focused on advocating for the rights of persons living with physical or mental challenges and their families. They continue, through various fundraising activities in the community, to provide a summer program for mentally and physically challenged children, educational seminars for members and families of persons with special needs, and advocacy for the rights of those with specials needs through public awareness and education.

To join the society, or help with fundraising efforts, contact Coleen Pelletier 250-423-7635 or Gayle Vallance at 250-423-6473.

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