Empower Me received the $100,000 gift from Debbie Melvin, of Mt. Juliet.
“We are so grateful to Debbie and her family for this incredible gift. She is a true angel who has blessed our organization with her generosity,” said Empower Me executive director Michelle Hill. “She has not only made this generous donation, but her company, Re-Max Exceptional Properties, is the event sponsor for the sold-out Friday’s Dice and Dreams Singer Songwriters Round and Casino Night and has also sponsored other fundraising events for our organization.”
“When I visited Empower Me Day Camp and met Michelle Hill for the first time, my life changed. I knew right then I had to do my part and somehow help to make a difference. We visited at the end of the day when the parents were picking up their children, and everyone was so happy,” Melvin said.
“I remember thinking, it's as much about giving the parents a few hours of time for themselves to do whatever they need or want to do, as it is about these precious children laughing, playing, forming bonds and having fun. Thank God there are people like Michelle Hill and this awesome new facility for Empower Me that will, for sure, change many lives. I am so honored to get to be a part of this wonderful organization. My prayer is that the Empower Me Center is blessed with the donations that they need to make this a state-of-the-art facility for these children to grow and develop.”
“We cannot thank Debbie enough for her contribution and for being a conduit to making the dreams of our participating individuals with disabilities and their families come true,” Hill said.
Empower Me has raised more than $2 million through cash contributions and in-kind gifts toward phase one of its campaign. It recently paid cash and bought 25.45 acres of land on South Hartmann Drive. Phase one includes the land purchase, building two cottages to operate programs and building a splash pad and adaptive playground.
Empower Me currently seeks people who might be able to help with sewer access to the property and perform necessary site work. Mandatory state and local approvals for sewer can take up to six months.
Empower Me’s goal is to hold its annual Fall Sports Festival on the property in 2018 as its first official year-round event.
The Empower Me Center will eventually consist of a community recreational building, a recreational sports complex and independent living cottages, all geared to meet the unique needs of individuals with a variety of disabilities. The building will allow Empower Me to increase their enrollment fourfold during the summer, have year-round recreational programs for adults and offer education classes and courses to health care and education professionals, as well as individuals in the community.
The recreational sports complex will consist of a splash pad, playground, Miracle League Baseball Field, soccer fields, the Garden of Dreams with outdoor musical instruments and an outdoor covered sports court. Year-round recreational sport leagues will be offered.
There will also be 16 cottages for independent living once the main building is built.
For more information about Empower Me, or how to get involved, visit empowermecenter.com.
Empower Me also seeks individuals to serve on committees in 2018.