The first Monday in August has been a huge day for our family for the past 12 years. It is the day of our annual golf outing fundraiser. It started because our son received early intervention and was starting out in a regular education classroom. At first the goal of the outing was simply to give back, so we paired with the amazing group at Northeast Ohio Easter Seals and all our profits from the outing went to them. Then we decided we wanted to do more: The Orange Effect Foundation was born.
I am always sentimental at the outing. It’s a great day to reflect on how far our family, and Joshua in particular, have come. But yesterday was even more than that. It was a time to be so thankful for so many people. First and foremost for me is the girlfriends. They take off work, get the kids covered for the day, and essentially drop everything to be there for the day to run the show. They are rock stars in all they do. This year in particular, they really had to step up their game since I decided to twist my knee right in the middle of the whole thing!!! But that is another blog post.
Then there are the golfers. There are many types that come to our outing. The easiest two to describe are the ones that don’t golf but are there to have fun and support the cause (and trust me they have a great time!) and the ones who like to golf and come to support the cause. They all get to experience a course normally open only to members and they get to have a great time while supporting the cause. I’m grateful to each of them.
And we would not be able to do what we do without all of those folks and our sponsors. There are many to list and we are going to recognize everyone on our sponsor page. I hope you all know that every dime goes to helping kids communicate.
Of course, my favorite part of the outing is when my son Joshua gives his speech at lunch. He’s such an amazing kid and I am so proud of him.
Here’s a transcript of what he said this year.
Hello! For those who do not know me, my name is Joshua Pulizzi. When I was two, my parents found out I had Autism. Being first-time parents, they were surprised when I wasn’t showing the same signs of development as others my age were. Despite my diagnosis, my parents were determined for me to have a relatively normal childhood. Since fifth grade I’ve never needed any additional tutor for school or speech therapy.
And I’m extremely grateful for it. Because of what they were able to provide for me I grew up with many friends and have maintained an overall happy life so far. That’s why the work that my parents are doing right now is amazing. Some parents want their kid to have that opportunity to live a normal life but because of financial issues or whatever might be happening, that isn’t an option. With that, I thank you for coming out today, so that other kids might have the chance that I had.
So, thank you to every one of you for supporting us with monetary donations or emotional support or by spreading the word. We value everything you do. We continue to have a lot of work ahead of us.