Blue Ridge Soap Box Derby set for Saturday, April 27, 2019 – Seeking Corporate Sponsors

Community, News

CEO Mike Sullivan and CFO Brian Higgins of Blue Ridge Soap Box Derby Ltd., is hosting a community event on Saturday, April, 27, 2019, at Fannin Middle School.

Higgins, guest speaker at a recent Rotary Blue Ridge weekly meeting explained, “We are working with (Fannin) Boys & Girls club to allow them to race for free by building car kits previously purchased. Kits can be purchased for $150. People can sponsor a car for a child. We are offering car kits to the general public for a fee of $200. We are also offering a Corporate Class Sponsorship for businesses. We have three of our top five sponsor slots filled. Each sponsor is in his/her own category as to not have any competition between companies. We need 2 more!”

Sullivan pointed out the Derby will be:

  • Donating 100% of all money raised after the bills are paid will go to the Fannin County School System; specifically West Fannin’s STEM program.
  • Working on getting a Special Needs group together. They will ride in tandem cars with a driver so they can experience the race.

To become a Corporate Sponsor or to donate a car kit, please contact Mike Sullivan (919-273-8315, palledine@hotmail.com) or Brian Higgins (706-455-9829, woodworkingace@yahoo.com).

Car kit fully built

Blue Ridge Soap Box Derby CEO Mike Sullivan and CFO Brian Higgins speak at weekly Rotary Club meeting.

Rotary Blue Ridge meets in the Chamber of Commerce meeting room 12 p.m.  Tuesdays. The Chamber is located at 152 Orvin Lance Dr, Suite A, Blue Ridge, GA.

Someone sitting in the shade is because someone planted a tree long ago.” Les Brown

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Families with autistic children now have local services – “One child at a time”

Community, News, Non Profit
Tripp Ritchie, CEO NGAF

Challenges can arise at anytime for families, especially with special needs children such as those with autism. Readily available resources are imperative.

Until recently parents suspecting autism and needing assistance in diagnosis, treatment and other essential information were forced to travel to Atlanta. Families in Fannin, Gilmer, and Union counties now have another option closer to home.

North Georgia Autism Foundation (NGAF) CEO Tripp Ritchie was the guest speaker at a recent Kiwanis meeting to inform members of this new program. A former Kiwanian, he expressed how his time in Kiwanis was an inspiration in helping him see how great a need there was for a local program such as NGAF.

NGAF programs not only support families in diagnosing a child, but also in assisting both child and family members with facing challenges of living with “Autism Spectrum Disorder” (ASD) and other Developmental Disorders throughout their lives.

Ritchie explained there was one foundation supporting autism, but no rural area program, until NGAF. He shared with attendees:

  • One in 59 children is affected with autism.
  • One in 38 affected is boys.
  • By age three, a diagnosis can help change these children’s lives. It is important to have a diagnosis before a child reaches age three to help with directing a pathway of success in later years.
  • Ninety percent of brain development is before age six.
  • Eleven children from Fannin County are currently diagnosed with autism and are receiving treatment. They are enrolled in a local school.
  • From placing an application to diagnosis and on to a treatment plan usually takes 24 months.
  • He hopes to bring this number down.

Since the inception of NGAF, the program has been gaining momentum and currently serves 27 families.

NGAF is removing barriers, increasing access to early clinical diagnosis, and providing treatment services. Treatment programs are individualized which fills a gap in services not available in the North Georgia Mountain area a few short months ago. NGAF offers diagnosis and treatment options at no cost to individuals and families.

Ritchie added there is a need for $50,000 which will help open a Pediatric Rehabilitation Clinic by July 1, 2019. Community support would be appreciated and “all of our funds (will) stay right here in North Georgia.”

Donations for NGAF can be sent to North Georgia Autism Foundation, 11 Overview Dr. Suite 203, Blue Ridge, GA 30513.

Ritchie can be reached by email at Tripp.Ritchie@ngafinc.org, Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/pg/NorthGeorgiaAutismFoundation/ or call 1-706-455-5183 for more information on services offered for individuals with autism.

“Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does”

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2019 Night to Shine – A night unlike any other

Community

There is one night a year when stars above look down in awe. Friday, February 8, 2019, was that special night.

Excitement filled the air as paparazzi and crowds gathered for the red carpet event hosted by First United Methodist Church of Union County (FUMC) in Blairsville. Honored guests from Fannin, Gilmer, and Union counties in Georgia and Cherokee County, SC, would soon arrive.

On this “Night to Shine”, 108 Kings and Queens in their finest attire were escorted through the cheering crowd by students from Young Harris College, volunteers from FUMC, and from the community. Just the beginning of a very special evening for memories to last a lifetime.

The royal guests were delighted to be pampered by hairdressers or to have their shoes shined before heading off on a thrilling ride in a stretch limousine. Then it was time for dancing, what many attendees had been looking forward to and so they danced the night away.

As the evening came to a close each King and Queen received a gift bag along with a t-shirt commemorating the event.

Former NFL quarterback, Heisman winner, and current New York Mets outfielder, Tim Tebows’ Night to Shine is now in its 5th year. According to the Tim Tebow Foundation website, this special night’s history began in 2014 with a simple vision, “work with churches around the country to provide an unforgettable prom night experience, centered on God’s love for people with special needs, ages 14 and older.”

In 2015, the first Night to Shine was held with help from 15,000 volunteers among 44 participating churches in 26 states and 3 countries to make 7,000 honored guests feel like royalty. In 2019 the event now has over 600 churches from around the world to make a memorable event for an estimated 100,000 Kings and Queens with the help of 200,000 volunteers!

This is the second year First United Methodist Church of Union County hosted the event.

Information about sponsoring a 2020 attendee, volunteering or the mission of Tim Tebow foundation can be found online: www.timtebowfoundation.org

Churches wishing to join in the “worldwide movement celebrating God’s love for people with special needs and the value of life” can find more information about hosting, fundraising and financial grants on the website.

Giggles, laughter and smiling faces beaming with pure joy were, without question no match for the heavenly stars on this “Night to Shine”.

Linda Strickland on the Red Carpet
Jonathan Waters and Michelle Queen
Annette Freer on the Red Carpet
Rick Cruse and escort on the Red Carpet
Party Room
The stage is all set!
Kristell Hannah
Sonny Thomas and Shelby Bittenbinder
Ainsley Price
Amanda King wears her tiara proudly
Kari Castlen with her tiara
Rena Nelson
Eric Morris and Bailey Whitener
At 9 p.m., balloons fell on the Kings and Queens of Night To Shine ending the evenings festivities.
Gini Bell, Fannin County Special Olympics Co-ordinator

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BRES sends a “Big Bear Hug” to FCHS Construction Class

Blue Ridge Elem, Fannin County High, Rebel's Corner

Blue Ridge Elementary wants to give a “Big Bear Hug” to FCHS Construction Class and their teacher Daniel Stewart, for making our idea come to life! Blue Ridge Elementary requested that a structure be built for our growing population of students with sensory needs.

We needed a structure that could withhold special swings designed for sensory purposes and FCHS students delivered! The structure not only serves a functional purpose within the room but reflects great craftsmanship. Our sensory room is a vital part of our students’ schedules. This room offers students with specific processing disorders and needs a place to take a break or calm down throughout their day.

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