Empower Me Center is stretching for a slam dunk during the month of March with a $1,000 challenge aimed at securing 1,000 people to donate $1,000 each to help finish phase one of the Empower Me Center project.
Phase one will allow Empower Me to purchase 26 acres of land on South Hartmann Drive, build two cottages to temporarily operate their programs from and build the splash pad, adaptive playground and Garden of Dreams. To date, Empower Me Center has raised $1.6 million through in-kind gifts and cash contributions.
"Instead of it being 'Madness,' it's 'March Gladness,'" Empower Me Center Director Michelle Hill said. "We are asking you to help us reach our goal so we can turn our kids' faces from sadness to gladness with a new facility. Many of our kids are sitting on the sidelines extremely sad because they are not able to participate in the various sporting activities offered to their non-disabled friends. Empower Me will help turn that sadness to gladness with the building of the Empower Me Center."
Individuals in the community are being asked to either make a one-time donation of $1,000 or sign up to make a $100 gift each month for the next 10 months through Empower Me's website. Hill said, "It's a competition that anyone can participate in with brackets and even a winner. We are looking for 'coaches' who can go out and solicit 'players' to sign up to donate. Every $1,000 is a point. The 'coach' with the most points will win a prize. Anyone can be a 'coach,' all you have to do is reach out to your friends, family members, co-workers and ask them to make a donation referred by you."
The winner, Hill added, will have a choice of either six weeks of summer camp for free or a weekend getaway at Center Hill Lake.
Empower Me will have a Tip-Off Party on Monday, March 6, from 4 until 7 p.m. in the Greer Recreation Center at Lebanon's Baird Park. Empower Me Center's Challenge for Champions Playbook will be given out to interested "coaches" with flyers to distribute. Hill encouraged those interested to visit the Tip-Off Party, wear tennis shoes, a favorite team jersey and "shoot some hoops with us."
To learn more about the challenge or to make a contribution, visit www.EmpowerMeCenter.com and click on the "$1,000 Challenge" button. Donations may also be mailed to P.O. Box 672, Lebanon, TN 37088.
"There are over 4,000 individuals with disabilities in Wilson County. In the 10 counties we serve, there are over 28,000," Hill said. "We are so grateful to this community for stepping up to the line and sinking the shots to help us win this very important game for hundreds of thousands of individuals with special needs."