Smile Politely

Helping adults with intellectual disabilities

This Saturday, August 20, Champaign County Advocacy and Mentoring Resources (CCAMR) will hold a fundraiser at Alto Vineyards in Champaign to raise money for improving the quality of life of people with disabilities.

CCAMR is an all-volunteer group that provides grants to adults with intellectual disabilities for “things that enrich their lives but for which they do not have funds,” according to Mike Slagor, CCAMR board member. Recently awarded grants have helped provide dental work, home renovations for improved accessibility, and transportation to work and community activities.

According to their mission and goals, CCAMR also strives to increase other opportunities for individuals with disabilities, including:

    – Attaining the most independent, productive, and dignified lifestyle possible
    – Attaining the living arrangement they choose
    – Learning new skills and values to realize their personal goals
    – Becoming an active member of his or her community and utilizing available opportunities
    – Forming friendships and social ties

For 30 years CCAMR operated as a group home in town that housed adults with intellectual disabilities, before they sold the house to Charleston Transitional Facility (CTF), an adult services agency. “CTF was able to keep the home up and running without a hiccup. So, the money from the sale of the house is now used to help individual families, stretching all the way to Monticello, Mahomet, Rantoul, Tolono and here in Champaign-Urbana,” Slagor said.

The event will be a night emceed by local WCIA-TV anchor Jennifer Roscoe and will include live, local music from Ryan Groff, Tricia Scully, Street Level Doppler, and The Impalas. There will be hors d’oeuvres served from 4:00–7:00 p.m., with food provided by Milo’s, LA Gourmet, Lil Porgy’s, Hooters, Olive Garden, and others. In addition, there will be a raffle, a silent auction, a performance by Marcus the Magician, and wine from Alto Vineyards.

Tricia Scully, past performer at Pygmalion Music Festival, has played several local benefit shows in the past couple of months, including the recent “In Living Pink” breast cancer benefit at the Highdive in June.

“When I lived in the community, I tried to get involved in volunteer organizations and activist groups on campus and off. I’m still very involved in community development organizations in Chicago, and I now work at a non-profit, so I really value organizations that give back. Staff members and volunteers of non-profits and community organizations work so hard for so little, so I’m glad to help out in any way that I can,” Scully said.

“I learned about CCAMR from my old advisor from grad. school who was on the board.  She asked Jenny (his wife) and I if we would become board members in May,” Slagor said.

According to Slagor, he and Jenny ― both special education teachers for Champaign Unit 4 Schools ― joined the board and started planning almost immediately for this event. According to Slagor, the planning for the benefit has truly been a collective effort on the part of the organization. “We have all contributed equally in terms of finding music, food, donations, publicity, online presence, etc. We have met every week and collaborated via email and phone,” he said.

The CCAMR board is comprised of President Sharon Haworth, Amy Rosenstein, Adelle Renzaglia, Lana Wegeng, Mike Slagor, and Jenny Slagor.

Tickets for the event are available for $25 at the door or two for $45 in advance. For more information about the event or ticket sales, contact the CCAMR board or check them out on Facebook.

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