As one of the most recognizable nonprofits in a community that continually experiences varied degrees of need, fundraising, grant writing and dependency on community donations are very difficult and often uncertain. SOS Health Care runs on a shoestring budget and makes every attempt to maximize staff and volunteers without compromising quality of service. We know almost daily that the scope of our business can change. Knowing this, we continually seek to build relationships with other groups within our community with whom we can partner in order to continue to meet our ever growing needs.
On April 8, the CDC released the following: “Today the CDC announced a 72 percent increase in the diagnosis of autism over the past four years. One of every 50 children aged 6 years to 17 years has an autism spectrum diagnosis.” Coincidently (or not) April was Autism Awareness Month. As we see the numbers continue to rise, we know that our services and various programs will continue to grow, thus requiring more money in order to keep our business running and growing in coordination with the increased numbers.
We recognize the challenge of keeping up with the increased demands of our client base, and this makes us work even harder at building relationships and partnerships within the community. We all agree that SOS always finds a way to assist our families in need. We also realize that we cannot do this alone and that we are truly dependent upon the kindness and assistance from other groups within our community.
Blessings seems to always come our way when we are most in need. During the early part of this year, we were approached by the Grand Strand Sertoma Club. We were offered the use of their building located on 21st Avenue, the former home of Pee Dee Speech and Hearing. Oddly enough, that is where I first met our executive director, Sarah Pope. She and I met many years ago in this very space while our children were attending speech therapy. Immediately we met with the Sertoma Club and expressed our strong desire to take them up on their offer. What an amazing gift and how incredibly serendipitous that we would end up where we started. After several meetings with the Sertoma Club, we sealed the deal and moved in shortly after Christmas. This space will allow for us to operate many of our programs under one roof rather than having to constantly jockey for places at which to host our programs.
The Sertoma Club has gone even one step further and donated most of the proceeds of the annual Sertoma Ball to SOS Health Care for some minor alterations of the site. With the funding, new windows will be installed, a privacy fence will be erected in order to ensure the safety of our vulnerable children and our kind friends at Florian Greenhouse will donate a greenhouse so that we can incorporate gardening and planting into our summer camp program with the hopes of growing and selling produce.
Yes, we have been abundantly blessed with kind friends in the community who have joined forces with SOS Health Care Inc. in order to make the lives of our friends and loved ones with autism spectrum disorder more abundant. Thank you can never express our gratitude, but hopefully, our hard work and continued contribution to the community will speak volumes.
The writer is board president of SOS Health Care.