While we may not always feel like we know it, we all have a place and a purpose here on Planet Earth.
No matter who you are — what you look like, how you choose to express yourself or what you feel inside — the world should be a place where everyone is afforded the opportunity of the pursuit of happiness.
For some, the pursuit of happiness can be accomplishing simple tasks many of us take for granted. Things like recreation, a social atmosphere and an environment conducive to one’s needs is something we all have a common interest in.
But not all of us have common abilities and needs and for those with special needs in the Valley of the Sun, Cortney’s Place in north Scottsdale has filled a void for the last seven years that many of us aren’t aware exists.
“A lot of these adults are older than I am and they need our help,” said Cortney’s Place Board of Directors member Rob Cimato in a May 23 phone interview. “I think this is something that is really a misnomer in our society, that people aren’t really aware of. People really need to look and see that there is a place for everybody in this world.”
Cortney’s Place is 501(c)3 nonprofit organization built by a community of friends to serve the special needs population in the Scottsdale and surrounding communities by providing programs ranging from basic life skills to specialized therapy.
But those programs need more than good intentions and that’s where special events and local philanthropy comes into play, Mr. Cimato contends.
“We had a really good feeling about the organization and what they were doing with special needs adults, so we decided to do a poker tournament and other events,” he pointed out of his first few years as a member of the board. “We’ve had a couple different events over the last few years — it is just an unbelievable organization.”
Scottsdale Beer Company is sponsoring this year’s poker tournament to raise funds for Cortney’s Place from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, June 11 at 8608 E. Shea Blvd. First prize is $1,500; second place wins $700; and third place wins $500.
“Events like this help generate money to fund the different programs,” Mr. Cimato said.
“This event will offset the costs of Cortney’s Place programs. For a lot of these adults, there is nowhere else to go. This is something I believe that needs bigger recognition out there. Once you meet these special needs adults there is something awesome that happens — it is just amazing.”
Scottsdale Charro Robert Howard agrees Cortney’s Place is fulfilling a legitimate need in Scottsdale and the surrounding communities.
“While the public school system can help many of these children, once they are 22 years of age, the options are not so plentiful,” he pointed out in a May 19 statement.
“Cortney’s Place provides a safe and nurturing day program where the adult caregivers can bring their adult children and know they will be properly cared for with appropriate stimulating programs and activities. Cortney’s Place has the capacity to serve 50 adult students with disabilities. Their students range in age from 21 to 66.”
The Scottsdale Charros provided Cortney’s Place with a $4,750 grant last fall to help the organization fund their outdoor recreation programs.
The Charros’ grant has helped Cortney’s Place take their students to meaningful activities outside the Center to include adaptive baseball at the Miracle League Field and adaptive hiking at outdoor parks and locations,” Mr. Howard pointed out.
For 55 years the Scottsdale Charros have been in constant pursuit of improving the lives of Scottsdale residents while preserving the community’s ties to its western heritage
“Scottsdale has always done outreach to families with significant needs whether through STARS, the Scottsdale Prevention Institute or programs at the Paiute Neighborhood Center,” Mr. Howard said.
“Cortney’s Place is filling another of those niche needs where the public sector simply does not have the ability to make the necessary expenditures. Scottsdale is a community which has always gone the extra mile to help its citizens and even those who don’t live in Scottsdale. It is truly a caring community.”
To learn more about Cortney’s Place and its upcoming fundraiser, go to cortneysplace.org.
North Valley News Editor Terrance Thornton can be contacted at 623-445-2774 or at firstname.lastname@example.org