Empower Me’s Day of Dreams upcoming

Staff Reports • Updated May 6, 2017 at 2:00 PM

Empower Me Center invites everyone in the community to its second annual “Day of Dreams” on May 13 at Cumberland University Nokes-Lasater Field. 

“We want to partner when we can with organization’s that are important in our community,” said Cumberland athletics director Ron Pavan.

The day will kick off at 7 a.m. with an original Leadership Wilson Project, Jere’s Ride, in memory of local attorney Jere McCulloch. 

“Jere was such a supporter of Leadership Wilson as a member of the first inaugural class and also of Empower Me Day Camp,” said Leadership Wilson executive director Dorie Mitchell. “After his passing, Leadership Wilson wanted to do something to honor his name. After meeting with his family and close friends, we felt like Empower Me Day Camp would be a great benefactor of what we were trying to do.”

McCulloch’s daughter, Laura Bass, said, “Our family is looking so forward to attending Jere’s Ride and the Day of Dreams,” Bass said. “It means so much to us that he is continuing to be remembered for such a wonderful cause. He would be very honored.” 

Funds raised will help build the Miracle League Baseball Field for individuals with special needs. Cyclist’s interested in participating in the 15-, 30- or 50-mile ride may sign up at jeresride.com or on the morning of the race, beginning at 6:30 a.m. 

“We are very thankful to our diamond sponsor, Wilson Bank & Trust, and platinum sponsor, Rochelle McCulloch & Aulds, and all the other gold and silver sponsors that help make this event possible,” said Empower Me executive director Michelle Hill.

The second scheduled vevent will be the Dream Riders Motorcycle Ride at 9:30 a.m. Motorcycle riders will take to the streets for a 30-mile trek through Wilson County. Interested participants may download a flyer to pre-register or register the day of the ride. 

 “We were approached by some riders out of Nashville who wanted to get involved,” Hill said. “They said they loved to come back from their excursion to great food and live music, so we decided to add them to the big day. I know we have people coming down from Kentucky and other parts of Tennessee to participate. It should be a fantastic sight.”

Gabby’s Walk for Change will begin at 10 a.m. with a hot air balloon basket filled with the change collected through boxes scattered throughout the community at various businesses, plus any donations community members would like to contribute that day. The event is in honor of Gabryelle Conklin who has been a part of Empower Me Day Camp for 17 years. Despite her physical limitations and inability to walk, she has become an advocate for other children who cannot speak. Empower Me will celebrate her life and the lives of others who have unique needs.

“I can’t wait to see all my Empower Me kiddos cross the finish line at our Gabby’s Walk for Change,” Conklin said. “I’ve been competing in races for almost four years now, and I can’t wait to share that feeling with all my camp friends.” 

Regina Conklin, Gabryelle’s mother, said, “We are excited about the second annual Gabby’s Walk for Change as a fundraiser for the Empower Me Center. Events like these are a great way to bring the community together.”

The last of the four events, Donovan’s Jam, will begin around 10:30 a.m. It is in memory of Donovan Walden who was a participant for the first five years of Empower Me. He suffered three strokes between 2003 and 2014 before he died. 

“His big smile, wonderful laugh, teasing nature and love for music is what we will always remember about him,” Hill said. “We celebrate Donovan’s life and those who have gone before us with live music from the Cedar Creek Boys, Roger Brock, Buddy Brock and Brennin Hunt. It’s a great mixture of bluegrass, gospel and country music.” 

The Cedar Creek Boys band members said, “We are proud to be a part of the second annual Day of Dreams. We are anticipating a wonderful day of music and fun.”

Multiple food trucks will be available for participants to buy food, along with Empower Me memorabilia. A silent auction will also be held to raise money for the organization. Free inflatables, family games and face painting will begin at around 9 a.m. with events concluding at around 2 p.m. 

For more information on the Day of Dreams, visit empowermecenter.com.

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