*Featured image photo credit: Nicole Grosser (From left to right: Tim Grosser, Sharon Fusco, Michael Taylor)
At Easterseals Redwood, we could not do the work we do without the support of the community. As such, we would like to extend a huge congratulations to Turfway Park Racing & Gaming on their September 1 Grand Opening after years of renovations; and an even bigger thank you for gifting profits from the friends and family soft opening to our organization.
As part of its Grand Opening activities, Turfway hosted the friends and family evening as a fundraiser, and at the end of the evening, $44,000 was raised for two organizations – Easterseals Redwood and I Have Wings Breast Cancer Foundation. As icing on top of the cake, Turfway and its owner, Churchill Downs Incorporated, gifted an additional $6,000 to make it an even $50,000 to split between two organizations.
“We have the opportunity to make a real impact, and we are going to do so,” said Michael Taylor, president of Turfway Park, about the racetrack’s commitment to giving back to the community that has shown them such overwhelming support.
Turfway team members voted on which nonprofits they wanted to support with the grand opening fundraiser, narrowing down the choice from more than 20 possible organizations, and Easterseals Redwood is honored to be one of the two finalists. Tim Grosser is the incredible Turfway employee who suggested the money go to Easterseals Redwood. Representatives from Easterseals Redwood were pleased to be on hand at the official ribbon cutting ceremony for the presentation of the check – and to help cut the ribbon!
“The support from the NKY community has been astounding both for the Turfway Grand Opening and toward furthering the mission of Easterseals Redwood,” said Sharon Fusco of Easterseals Redwood. “Philanthropic investments like these are integral to keeping our mission strong, and we couldn’t be more grateful.”
At the event, Fusco shared the story of a client to highlight the impact of Easterseals Redwood within the community and the importance of donations like Turfway’s:
“Our client came to my office the other day. He politely knocked on my door and said ‘hello’ as he entered. He tested my desk phone to make sure it was in proper working order and said, ‘Thank you’ and ‘Goodbye’ as he left, closing the door behind him.
“This does not sound like a great achievement until you consider that when he started here, he would isolate himself, wandered around the classroom with almost no peer or teacher interaction, used only humming and grunting noises to communicate and struggled with routine changes and flexibility.
“His frustrations often led to flopping on the floor and throwing objects. The client has autism – but that’s not stopping him or his teachers and therapists. He has an individualized care plan that includes assistive technology, speech therapy, occupational therapy and behavior support systems. His work is paying off! He can identify objects and knows his letters, numbers and colors. He can ride a bike with training wheels and is following directions. None of this would have been possible without our incredible staff and donations from individuals and organizations like Turfway.”