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Project Independence helps people with developmental
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Crowds at TeWinkle ‘Walk for Independence,’ to help adults with developmental disabilities

  BY SARA CARDINESTAFF WRITER  OCT. 3, 2022 5:22 PM PT Locals laced up their shoes Saturday and headed to Costa Mesa’s TeWinkle Park to “Walk for Independence,” an annual fundraiser for the nonprofit Project Independence, which helps adults with developmental disabilities live, work and play as self-sufficiently as possible. Now in its 13th year, the walk funds programs that assist people with daily living skills, help them find and retain employment and accomplish errands and other vital activities. Clients and supporters walk around the park site, having solicited donations from friends and family members for their effort. Director of Development Todd Eckert said Saturday’s event was a bit of a soft return to an in-person format, after two years of virtual walks during the pandemic, and one that attracted on-the-spot participation from people out at TeWinkle for some morning exercise. “I’m processing checks now from people who spontaneously dropped by and have become friends,” Eckert said Monday of the fundraiser, which is a chance to share client success stories with a wider community. “[This] is to show our community our mission in action, what we do, what our folks are about, and it does that in spades.” As such, Project Independence clients often take center stage at the event. Noah Torgeson provided on-site musical entertainment under the stage name DJ Noah, while client Craig Thompson served as this year’s grand marshal of the walk. Thompson and fellow client John Correa received awards Saturday for their participation and contributions. Correa’s donation, the highest amount raised by a single walker, clocked in at an impressive $2,280. Eckert said engaging PI clients with the wider community and offering them a chance to serve and give back is a priority. Some clients even serve as board members for the Costa Mesa organization. “We really feel it’s important that they’re represented,” he added. “We found 45 years ago there’s a huge recipient benefit to having our folks in the bloodstream of the community.” This year’s event was sponsored by Union Bank, and organizers received a certificate of recognition from former Costa Mesa mayor and Orange County Supervisor Katrina Foley. According to Eckert’s early calculations, donations are shaping up to outpace the $40,000 benchmark set by organizers. “It’s always nice to beat our goal,” he said.

13th Annual Walk for Independence funder set for Oct. 1 in Costa Mesa

Nonprofit Project Independence’s walk at TeWinkle Park in Costa Mesa will help launch National Disability Employment Awareness Month. Nonprofit Project Independence invites champions for the rights of people with developmental disabilities to run, walk or roll at its 13th Annual Walk for Independence, set for Saturday, October 1, 2022 at 8 AM in-person at TeWinkle Park in Costa Mesa to help launch National Disability Employment Awareness Month. Union Bank is the lead sponsor and the Daily Pilot is the media sponsor. Funds raised from the walk will help fund the organization’s Independent Living, Supported Employment, and Day Program services that support more than 600 adults. More than 400 people are anticipated to participate the event that annually raises more than $40,000. “We invite everyone to celebrate independent living for people with developmental disabilities as we return to a much-anticipated, in-person celebration,” said Project Independence CEO Robert Watson. “The annual walk has grown to become our signature fundraising activity because it helps pay for the many services we provide to adults with developmental disabilities living in the Orange County community.” To register to participate in the event, visit http://www.proindependence.org/walkathon-3/# To become a sponsor, please contact Director of Development Todd Eckert at Todd@Proindependence.org or 714-549-3464. =========================================================================== ALSO IN THE NEWS AT:  

13th ANNUAL PROJECT INDEPENDENCE WALK FOR INDEPENDENCE RETURNS TO TEWINKLE PARK ON SATURDAY, OCTOBER 1, 2022

Daily Pilot newspaper is media sponsor   Costa Mesa, California, September 16, 2022 – Nonprofit Project Independence invites champions for the rights of people with developmental disabilities to run, walk or roll at its 13th Annual Walk for Independence, set for Saturday, October 1, 2022 in-person at TeWinkle Park in Costa Mesa to help launch National Disability Employment Awareness Month. The Costa Mesa-based Daily Pilot newspaper will again be the media sponsor. Funds raised from the walk will help fund the organization’s Independent Living, Supported Employment, and Day Program services that support more than 600 adults. More than 400 people are anticipated to participate the event that annually raises more than $50,000. “We invite everyone to celebrate independent living for people with developmental disabilities as we return to a much-anticipated, in-person celebration,” said Project Independence CEO Robert Watson. To register to participate in the event, visit http://www.proindependence.org/walkathon-3/# To become a sponsor, please contact Director of Development Todd Eckert at Todd@Proindependence.org or 714-549-3464. Project Independence has more than four decades of service and stability in Orange County as a lifeline to adults with developmental disabilities. Eighty-seven cents of every dollar raised by Project Independence goes directly to support vital programs for people with developmental disabilities. For additional information, please visit www.proindependence.org   ###

Project Independence’s “Empowering Possibilities” Giving Day

24-Hour Fundraiser May 20 Seeks to Raise $100K For Nonprofit Programs and Services for People Living with Disabilities in Orange County Costa Mesa, Calif. (May 6 2021) — Project Independence and nine aligned nonprofits will partner with the Orange County Community Foundation (OCCF) on May 20 for Empowering Possibilities, a collaborative Giving Day to support people with disabilities living in Orange County. The 24-hour online effort aims to raise $100,000 for 10 nonprofits offering a range of education and supportive services, skills training and counseling, and community outreach programs. Within Orange County, there are over 250,000 people living with disabilities, making up 8.5% of the community. This Giving Day is an opportunity for donors to collectively support the nonprofit organizations providing the tools and resources necessary for Orange County’s disabled residents to achieve success and independence. In addition to Project Independence, other participating organizations include Blind Children’s Learning Center of OC; Dayle McIntosh Center for the Disabled; Down Syndrome Association of OC; Family Support Network; Hope Center for the Arts; Special Olympics Southern California; Speech and Language Development Center; United Cerebral Palsy Association of OC; and Vocational Visions. “Funds raised during the Empowering Possibilities Giving Day will support individuals and families who have suffered from gaps in services, isolation, and lacked access to special education programs, especially during the pandemic,” said Shelley Hoss, president and CEO of the Orange County Community Foundation. “We are proud to power this collaborative effort to build a supportive and inclusive Orange County for all people, including our neighbors with disabilities.” For more than four decades. Project Independence has been promoting civil rights for people with developmental disabilities through a range of vital services that expand their independence and choice. Subscribe “We are so please to team again this year with our fellow nonprofits serving those who need us most.” said Debra Marsteller, CEO, Project Independence. “At Project Independence we are honored to serve adults with developmental disabilities. Our Empowering Possibilities Team represents the valuable community services to so many individuals and families throughout Orange County who need a helping hand. As a result, our entire community grows stronger. We thank you for your compassionate support during this campaign. We could not do what we do without you!” To give online during the 24-hour Giving Day, please visit empowering-possibilities-giving-day.ocnonprofitcentral.org. For more information about Orange County Community Foundation Collaborative Giving Days, please visit oc-cf.org/givingdays. ### About Project Independence Founded in 1977, Project Independence is an Orange County-based 501(c)3 nonprofit, serving nearly 1,000 people with developmental disabilities in their homes, at work, and in the community through Independent Living, Supported Employment and Day Program services, and other supportive resources. For more information, please visit www.proindependence.org About Orange County Community Foundation Founded in 1989, the Orange County Community Foundation (OCCF) works with donors, strengthens the local nonprofit sector and works to find solutions to community needs. Since its inception, OCCF has awarded nearly $780 million in grants and scholarships, placing the organization in the top two percent in grantmaking among U.S. community foundations. For more information, visit oc-cf.org or call 949-553-4202. Be a part of our conversation on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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We serve over 700 people with developmental disabilities in Southern California as they experience life and discover their potential for independence, as every person should have the opportunity to do – regardless of disability.

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