BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (WMBD) — Easterseals Central Illinois is gearing up for its premier fundraiser of the year, the Community Rally.
The week-long event will have two co-chairs: one in Bloomington and one in Peoria.
Illinois State University president Dr. Terri Goss Kinzy, the co-chair of the Community Rally, got a behind-the-scenes look Tuesday morning of the new Easterseals facility in Bloomington. The development is aimed at better serving twin cities Easterseals families.
Kinzy is co-chair with Bradley University’s president.
The 76,000 sq. foot space is part of a partnership between the YMCA and Easterseals, but none of this is possible without community support from the nonprofit’s fundraising efforts.
“Community Rally is really one of our flagship fundraisers. It has really replaced our telethon efforts, so it’s important to the sustainability of Easterseals Central Illinois,” said Community V.P. of Easterseals Central Illinois, Amber Gruenloh.
The week-long rally in April features events in Bloomington and Peoria. Participants of all abilities are invited to take part in a 5k run/1-mile walk.
“I’d like to see us do better here than in Peoria. It’s a nice friendly rivalry with my colleague, the president of Bradley. As new presidents, it’s a great opportunity for us to learn about Easterseals,” Kinzy said.
Dr. Terri Goss Kinzy toured the 9,500 sq. feet dedicated to Easterseals’ work. She said getting kids to see their full potential early on leads to greater outcomes.
“At ISU, we see this as helping to develop students for the future because I am confident they’re going to help all of our students reach their potential, whatever that is,” Kinzy said.
Some Easterseals kids even go on to become redbirds. As a kid, Blake Scribner had no motion in his right arm due to an injury.
“I didn’t know what I could or couldn’t do until I went to Easterseals and spoke with them,” Scribner said.
Scriber now studies engineering at ISU.
“They helped me learn stick shift, which I was told was going to be impossible at the beginning of my Easterseals journey. They really open up any opportunity that’s available for any kid,” Scribner said.
Easterseals hopes to open its new Bloomington space by this summer.
The community rally will take place April 16-23.