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$5,000 raised for CDS

$5,000 raised for CDS
Through hard work and many long hours by The University of Tennessee at Martin Student-Athlete Advisory Council and their advisor Danelle Fabianich, and Community Developmental Services – a nonprofit, community-based organization serving adults with developmental disabilities in Weakley, Obion, Henry, Carroll and Lake Counties – a first-time fundraising campaign recently raised nearly $5,000 to support 140 individuals in the northwestern Tennessee area. The process started on the football field, as CDS began the rookie fundraising campaign dubbed “Touchdowns for Telethon,” as all proceeds would be presented at the 52nd Annual Lions Club/WPSD-TV Local 6 Telethon of Stars in early November. The basic objective was to ask people to pledge a certain amount of money for every touchdown the UT Martin Skyhawk football team scored during their October schedule, which spanned four games. In addition, fans could donate a flat rate, and would have an opportunity to donate money at UT Martin volleyball and soccer home games. The donors were asked to turn in their pledge cards by Oct. 1, just in time for the Homecoming football game against Tennessee State at Hardy M. Graham Stadium on Oct. 4. Once the pledge cards were in, CDS had received a total of $191 in pledges per touchdown, and $860 in flat donations. UT Martin head coach Jason Simpson and the prolific Skyhawk offense did their part by scoring 16 touchdowns throughout the month, which led to $3,056 being raised. After the flat donations were added, the total was brought to $3,916. “We at CDS were excited about this amount, as it exceeded our unwritten goal of $3,000 for this first-time fundraiser,” said Heather Scarano, Communications and Development Coordinator for CDS. “But Danelle and the SAAC were not ready to stop at that amount. Because of their enthusiasm and energy, the SAAC raised an additional $1,000 passing the bucket for CDS, with over $400 of that raised at the Homecoming football game alone. So our first Touchdowns for Telethon fundraiser brought in nearly $5,000.” CDS representatives were on-hand at The Telethon of Stars, which was held on Nov. 8-9 at the Luther F. Carson Four Rivers Center in Paducah, Ky. and was broadcasted live throughout the night on WPSD-TV Local 6. The annual Telethon of Stars features four organizations from four different states that benefit from the money raised through the Telethon, with CDS chosen as the organization that represents Tennessee. All the money raised in Tennessee goes back to CDS, and in February, CDS will learn exactly how much money it raised through Telethon fundraisers and individual donations. The money raised through Touchdowns for Telethon will go to help support the 140 individuals with developmental disabilities receiving services from CDS. The money will also help to offset the transportation costs of the individuals who come to the Martin CDS center, as CDS provides transportation even from the outer edges of its five-county service area. At the CDS operating center in Martin, adults come and participate in social and learning activities, as well as a sheltered workshop – CDS Industries – which is located in the Martin Industrial Park. In addition, CDS provides support for nearly 60 individuals who work in competitive employment in the community, and they also run five group homes and four supported living homes. The SAAC, which features two different student-athletes from each sport at UT Martin, worked hard to earn every last dollar to successfully implement the groundwork that Scarano and Fabianich devised. “Without the SAAC, this would not have been possible,” Scarano said. “They were our hands and feet on the UT Martin campus, collecting pledge cards and cash. The student-athletes we worked with were so kind to our clients and at the football games they interacted and seemed to sincerely enjoy hanging out with our clients. We are so grateful to Danelle and the entire SAAC.” “CDS was an absolutely amazing organization to work with throughout the entire process,” Fabianich said. “We continued our strong relationship with CDS and we genuinely made a difference – which is the one of the most valuable things anyone can strive for.” If you missed the chance to donate the first time around, you too can still make a difference. Donations are still being accepted to the Telethon through the end of January. For more information on the Telethon itself, visit www.telethonofstars.org.

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