EDA Cares was developed to help bring the EDA community together and support local individuals who need help. The Cares Committee consists of EDA staff members who volunteer their time with charities meaningful to them and seek support from their colleagues to give back. This structure empowers employees to support causes that are important to them and provides access to added resources that can help make a bigger impact.
This month, EDA is highlighting one of its charities of choice: We Care Special Sports. This charity was selected by EDA's Culture Coordinator, Karissa Czepiga. Czepiga chose this charity because of its mission to assist families of individuals with special needs through sports programs that promote inclusivity and valued life experiences. Czepiga also chose We Care Special Sports because her son, Dominic, has special needs.
What is We Care Special Sports?
We Care Special Sports is a charity dedicated to providing support to families of children and young adults with special needs through recreational sports. The charity's goal is to enhance the lives of individuals suffering from disabilities by providing recreational activities, social skills support, and other opportunities to families who may not be able to afford it. This organization values inclusivity and strives to build a community where anyone can participate and create lifelong memories. The Director of Inclusion Sports Performance Training, Shannon Schafer, created We Care Special Sports for families who do not have the financial means to join ISPT. We Care Special Sports provides gymnastics, swimming, sibling workshops, parent workshops, and social skills building. Czepiga believes the best part about We Care Special Sports is its impact on the local community. She explains, "While there are other charities that do this type of work, they tend to be on a larger scale, which is absolutely needed. However, as a result, many families get lost in the sheer volume of people who these charities try to help. We Care Special Sports is different because they do it at the local level with a more personal touch."
"My son, Dominic, struggles to participate in sports and find connections among his peers; that is until we found Inclusion Sports Performance Training (ISPT). ISPT is a sports center that improves the lives of both children and adults with differing abilities through sports such as gymnastics and swimming, social skills classes, and so much more." Karissa Czepiga | Culture Coordinator | EDA Contractors
Why We Care Special Sports?
While Czepiga and her family are lucky to have the means to enroll Dominic in Inclusion Sports Performance Training, that is not the case for many families. We Care Special Sports is able to provide access to these beneficial programs and activities for families and children in need. It is incredibly important for families to have equal access to these programs dues to the inclusive environment and human connection that they provide. According to Czepiga, "People with special needs can often feel isolated, because they struggle to connect with others in what is known as the 'neurotypical' way of socializing. This is because they are considered 'neurodivergent'." We Care Special Sports and ISPT have built environments where those with special needs can be themselves and be accepted for who they are.
"I've seen the effects firsthand with my son; I've seen him flourish in an environment where he is guided, supported, and accepted the way he is. These programs allow him and others to explore all that the world of sports has to offer, in a safe and welcoming environment." Karissa Czepiga | Culture Coordinator | EDA Contractors
Support from EDA
EDA Cares is excited to show its support for We Care Special Sports in any way possible. Last year, EDA Cares installed storage and refreshed the gym room where We Care Special Sports and ISPT operate. Since they work out of a small gym room, EDA Cares volunteers went in and re-organized the room in order to maximize the space. This allowed more room for children, adults, and coaches to practice sports and take classes. In addition, earlier this year the EDA Cares volunteers helped out again when they opened a new gym location. This time, they spent their weekend outfitting the space to meet the requirements of a sensory gym.
Support from the 2023 EDA Cares Golf Outing
Aside from utilizing its skilled labor force to improve We Care Special Sports Facilities, EDA is excited to support them through the 2023 EDA Cares Golf Outing. This annual event raises money for the Cares charities of choice through sponsorships and donations. All proceeds from the golf outing go to our 2023 charities of choice.
You can learn more about this charity as well as EDA’s other charitable work at culture.edacontractors.com.