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Special needs group gives back, builds confidence

Rotary Community Corps marks five years of service


A special needs group that has developed an appreciation for getting involved and giving back is celebrating five years of good deeds.

The Rotary Community Corps of Parker, a group that has swelled to 45 special needs teens and young adults from the Parker area, marked its fifth anniversary Jan. 20 with a talent show at Parker United Methodist Church.

The philanthropic club, which elects its own board of directors, has been busy in recent years helping the community in a variety of ways, while simultaneously helping members gain a confidence they've never felt.

Kam Breitenbach, a longtime Parker resident who founded the community corps and guides its activities, gave the example of one young man who decided early on that he didn't want to serve on the board for fear of the limelight. He now serves as the board's sergeant in arms.

A young lady who never liked speaking into a microphone decided to sing a song and play the ukulele during the Jan. 20 talent show. Later on, Paul Triggs and Elizabeth Perkins delivered a duet, belting out “Let It Go” from the Disney movie “Frozen” and providing a heart-warming highlight for one new volunteer.

Each spring, the group stages its own prom. It's an enjoyable way to build self-esteem in a peer environment.

“This is the most fun group you'll ever meet,” Breitenbach said.

The Rotary Community Corps of Parker has recently collaborated on service projects with students from Ponderosa and Chaparral high schools, as well as Colorado Early Colleges in Parker. Charitable causes are the main focus of the corps: the group frequently pitches in on behalf of nonprofits, including the Parker Task Force and Food Bank. The special needs corps adopted two families of four last Christmas and shopped for each family member. They had to follow a wish list, stay within the $125 budget, and then had the opportunity to wrap the gifts themselves.

With grants from surrounding Rotary clubs, including Parker's, the community corps purchased 75 backpacks and filled them with school supplies for children in need. The assistance is impactful in many ways, said Diane Roth, spokeswoman for the task force.

“Their energy is contagious,” she said. “They have a positive outlook and they enjoy being helpful, and we enjoy having them with us.”

The work instills a sense of purpose and provides growth through engaging learning experiences.

“It's important to be part of the community and to feel the pride of being part of that community,” Breitenbach said.

To learn more about the Rotary Community Corps of Parker, go to its Facebook page, www.facebook.com/RCCParker.


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