The Guild for Exceptional Children (GEC) held its fifth annual golf outing to raise money for its programs and services on June 5 at the Marine Park Golf Course.
The dinner and award ceremony began at 6 p.m. following a round of golf that took off to a shotgun start at 1 p.m. after players registered and enjoyed some barbecue.
“We tried to make it a fun event, and the feedback we got from folks was that they had a really good time,” said Paul Cassone, GEC’s executive director.
The GEC raised over $32,000 from its sponsors and supporters, and prizes were awarded to golfers for ending up with the lowest score, having longest drive, hitting closest to the pin and winning the putting contest.
“These funds will support GEC’s mission of care to over 1,000 children and adults living with developmental disabilities,” said Caroline Mansuetto, the GEC’s associate executive director of development.
The GEC, which was established in 1958, is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping “children and adults living with developmental disabilities lead dignified and satisfying lives, reaching their fullest potential and assisting families in every step of their journey.” The organization provides residences, early childhood education, pre-vocational programs, activity centers and employment and support services for people with disabilities.
“We really take pride in trying to maximize people’s independence,” Cassone said.
The GEC’s government funding has declined over the last six years. While government funding is decreasing, the GEC’s costs are going up. As the people the organization serves are aging, the guild is facing a host of new needs that they need to address. With many members in their 70s, 80s, and soon 90s, the GEC will have to provide funding for a different set of medical conditions, surgeries and intensive one-on-one care.
To raise money for these costs, the GEC has been increasing its number of fundraisers, which is why the positive feedback from this year’s golf outing was so encouraging.
“It gave more people an opportunity to hear about what we do,” Cassone said. “We’re hoping next year is even bigger.”