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SO MUCH TO GIVE is a program launched in late 2021 within Pillars of Light and Love. It is the initiative of Maureen Stanko, a 25+ year Methacton School District teacher and mother of Nicholas, who is in his late teens and struggles with autism and intellectual challenges. Maureen is excited to be coordinating and directing activities for this program at the Empowering U Center in Trappe.
The impetus for the creation of SO MUCH TO GIVE is the tremendous need for older teens and young adults, like Nick, to spend time with peers, engage in meaningful activities, and continue on a path of lifelong learning beyond high school. The primary mission of "So Much to Give" is to help young adults with disabilities to gain personal fulfillment by utilizing their unique gifts and talents to make a positive difference for others in the community.
The following core facets of SO MUCH TO GIVE will help to fulfill this mission:
1. Social Events- “Social Skills Groups for a Higher Purpose” will involve structured activities designed to harness creativity and promote social interaction. During these events, some type of craft, or item, will be created by the young adults and subsequently distributed to recipients in our community.
2. Vocational Skill Development- Well-supervised volunteer experiences will be
organized to develop skills as well as tap into special talents and unique interests. For example, Maureen’s son loves to peel potatoes and is quite proud of this ability. Teaming him up with a local soup kitchen or perhaps a restaurant would allow him to generalize this skill in a new environment.
3. Community Integration- Development of partnerships with other programs, organizations, and local businesses will open up volunteer opportunities, assist fundraising efforts, and serve as a segue to group participation in a wide array of
community activities and events.
4. Family/Caregiver Support- First-hand involvement in SO MUCH TO GIVE's events and activities (when possible) will provide family members and caregivers with an innate support system with whom they can share valuable information, troubleshoot challenges, and celebrate successes.
In addition to the above, SO MUCH TO GIVE will work in tandem with Pillars of Light and Love to continue their efforts to offer support through self-care and learning opportunities at the Empowering U Center for those with disabled loved ones of ALL ages.
Volunteers are needed to make all of this happen! If you are interested in donating your time and/or talent to help with event planning, working first-hand with our young adults in some capacity, or assisting with fundraising efforts, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you would like to attend a monthly SO MUCH TO GIVE SOCIAL SKILLS EVENT AT PILLARS OF LIGHT AND LOVE, please email Maureen Stanko SoMuchtoGIvePA@gmail.com
If you are able to make a monetary donation to help us facilitate our So Much to Give program, please see link below
Meet Maureen Stanko and some of the young adults with disabilities and their families who come to our SO MUCH TO GIVE Program! This was our promo video for the Cafe which helped us raise $150,000 in start-up costs! Thank you to all who donated to make this dream a reality!
TO VOLUNTEER TO HELP AT THE CAFE PLEASE SEND AN EMAIL TO MAUREEN AT SOMUCHTOGIVEPA@GMAIL.COM
The So Much to Give Program at Pillars of Light and Love is excited to have opened a full service restaurant at Skippack Pike & Bustard Rd, a mile south of Skippack Village.
The mission of the So Much to Give Inclusive Cafe is to provide a welcoming and inclusive experience to empower all people, including those with disabilities, and their families, to have equal opportunities to work, dine, socialize, volunteer and learn. Plans include live music & karaoke after dining hours.
The restaurant will be a satellite location for Pillars of Light and Love offering empowerment programs including life and stress management workshops.
Learn more HERE