Today is Thursday, March 23, 2017

May 13 to be 'Day of Dreams'

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Empower Me Center will host its second annual Day of Dreams on Saturday, May 13, the Lebanon-based non-profit recently announced.

The day of celebration will begin with the annual fundraiser, Jere's Ride, followed by a new event called Dream Riders, Gabby's Walk for Change and Donovan's Jam. The Day of Dreams will be held at Cumberland University's Nokes-Lasater Field.

"We are so excited about using Cumberland University's facilities for this year's event," Empower Me Center Executive Director Michelle Hill said. "We hope everyone in the community will come out and enjoy this very special day as we recognize those who have passed away who made a difference in our organization and celebrate our future as we strive to change the lives of our participants."

Jere's Ride was originally a Leadership Wilson project and is in memory of local attorney Jere McCulloch. In August 2013 McCulloch died while cycling - something he dearly loved. Hill said, "This will be the fourth year of this event celebrating the life of a community member who impacted so many. Jere was a wonderful supporter of Empower Me and our special needs kids." Jere's Ride includes three different rides, 15-, 30- and 50-mile rides through the rolling hills of Lebanon. Interested participants should visit www.JeresRide.com for more information or to register. Per McCulloch's family's request, funds raised will help build the Miracle Baseball Field for special needs individuals at Empower Me Center.

The new Dream Riders event will see motorcycle riders take to the streets for a 30-mile trek through Wilson County. Interested participants should visit www.EmpowerMeCenter.com to learn more.

"We were approached by some riders out of Nashville who wanted to get involved," Hill explained. "They said they loved to come back from their excursion to great food and live music, so we decided to add them to the festivities."

Gabby's Walk for Change celebrates the vivacious spirit of Miss Gabryelle Conklin, who has been a part of Empower Me for 17 years. "Despite her physical limitations and inability to walk, she is the voice for those children who cannot speak. We celebrate her life and all the others who have unique needs," Hill noted. Collection boxes will be scattered throughout the community leading up to the big day for community members to make a donation with their "change." The walk will begin at around 10 a.m. with the filling of a hot air balloon basket with the change collected, plus any funds contributed on the day of the event.

Donovan's Jam is held in memory of Donovan Walden, a participant for the first five years of Empower Me. He suffered three strokes between 2003 and 2014 before he passed away. "His big smile, wonderful laugh, teasing nature and love for music is what we will always remember about him," Hill said. "We celebrate Donovan's life and those who have gone before us with live music."

A variety of foods and ice cream will be available to purchase throughout the day, along with Empower Me memorabilia. A silent auction is planned to help raise money for the organization. Inflatables, fun family games and face-painting will also be offered.

To learn more about the Day of Dreams, visit www.EmpowerMeCenter.com. Empower Me is currently seeking volunteers in the community who would like to be involved with the organization's various events. Click on the "Volunteer Opportunities" tab of the Empower Me website for more details.

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