0

'Kids of the '70s' donates to Easter Seals

Easter Seals Executive Director Beth English, right, stands with Sal Giovingo, one of the coordinators of a recent Albany "Kids of the 70s" event shortly before a check presentation to Easter Seals Wednesday. The event raised $2,600 for the organization.

Easter Seals Executive Director Beth English, right, stands with Sal Giovingo, one of the coordinators of a recent Albany "Kids of the 70s" event shortly before a check presentation to Easter Seals Wednesday. The event raised $2,600 for the organization.

ALBANY -- An organization that assists area people with disabilities and special needs now has an extra $2,600 to help with the work, thanks to some nostalgic contributors.

A group of people who attended an area high school in the 1970s, known as "Kids of the '70s," participated in an event on Oct. 8 to raise money for Easter Seals Southern Georgia.

Sal Giovingo, a local real estate agent and one of the coordinators of the event, presented the $2,600 raised at the event to Easter Seals at a news conference on Wednesday.

The "70s Kids Days" reunion party was held at Thronateeska Heritage Center with appetizers, a barbecue dinner and music from Bonfire with Billy Spires and Eric Hardy.

The fee for the event was $25, and was attended by 400 people. Some of the attendees wrote their own checks out to Easter Seals. Those contributions comprised $550 of the total donation.

There were 2,000 people who expressed interest in the event through Facebook, Giovingo said.

The decision to make Easter Seals the beneficiary was made early in the planning.

"We felt that if we had extra money, it needed to go to Easter Seals," Giovingo said. "Easter Seals is an organization close to our hearts.

"Since we grew up here when the Easter Seals was being formed, it seemed like the right thing to do. (Its existence) means to us that they are taking care of peoples' needs in the community."

Easter Seals offers services to those with disabilities or special needs and their families by offering a variety of programs and services that enable individuals to lead lives of equality, dignity and independence.

The money raised will go toward scholarships for Megan's House, Easter Seals Executive Director Beth English said.

"We are so appreciative of this," she said. "This will go a long, long way.

"It was just a huge surprise (that $2,600 had been raised). We had no idea it would be this large of an amount."

Megan's House is a respite home for children up to age 17 who have developmental disabilities or autism, or who are medically fragile. Direct care is provided by qualified, experienced direct support professionals and individualized care plans are developed by the registered nurse on staff.

Megan's House is available for a minimum of 24 hours to a maximum of two weeks per visit and may serve up to two children at one time. The cost of services to the family is determined by a sliding fee scale.