Life’s what you make it to be. Get dealt a challenge, turn it into a positive and there’s no telling how many others you can inspire.
Which makes parents whose children are developmentally disabled all the more impressive.
Take Jeremy Rouch. Because one of his daughters is autistic, the Ozarks man shifted gears in life and three years ago became president of CHANCES of Stone County.
It is a non-profit that helps those with developmental disabilities experience success, and creates fun for kids and adults who suffer from ASD (autism spectrum disorder), epilepsy, brain injury and Down’s syndrome.
Even better, your support of the Price Cutter Charity Championship presented by Dr. Pepper will assist CHANCES of Stone County again this year. Rouch and the CHANCES family are very appreciative. The PCCC has gifted almost $13 million to children’s charities in the past 26 years, including more than $900,000 last year alone.
“Each family has their challenges, developmental disabilities or not,” Rouch said. “I know there are families who have children who are not as high-functioning. Their difficulty is even more pronounced. They may be non-verbal or immobile. They have more difficulties than we do. The stories that come out of CHANCES really pull at your heart.”
About Chances of Stone County
Rouch’s passion for Chances of Stone County is understandable. His daughter, Noah, is autistic, and her needs motivated Rouch to turn attention away from his initial college major.
“I went to (Missouri State University) for years pursuing a degree in physical therapy, and I loved it,” Rouch said. “But I said, ‘I’m concentrating in motor skills and I cannot help my daughter.’ I decided to make a change – and I’ve never been happier.”
Talk about a perfect fit.
CHANCES of Stone County formed in 2009 as a not-for-profit 501c-3 by visionaries Pete and Cathy Peterson and a group of supportive parents. CHANCES is an acronym for ‘Community Helping Able Neighborhood Citizens Experience Success’.
Many members participate in Special Olympics, A Sporting Chance, Champion Athletes and receive trips to Camp Barnabas – those are also among PCCC charities — while others have found employment training through the Barnabas Preparatory Program.
Autism is a focus of Jeremy and his wife, Jamie, and Noah’s sister Cale and brother Shane.
The family goes the extra step, too. You see, Rouch also owns the Lakeview Management Group, LLC; which is part of a work program for Stone and Taney counties residents with Developmental Disabilities, who clean and maintain nightly rental properties.
“With the rate of autism growing exponentially now, this is going to be the future workforce,” Rouch said, pointing out that the rate of autism is now 1 in 50. “People are going to have to interact with the developmentally disabled. People are going to have to learn both sides.”
Support of the PCCC has helped CHANCES meet its budget as well as send kids to Camp Barnabas, and pay for therapeutic riding services (Hippo therapy) for some Stone County children with Developmental Disabilities.
For Rouch and the CHANCES’ staff and board, the next task is gaining voter approval of the Stone County Disability Board on the Nov. 8, 2016 ballot.
If approved, it would allow county funding through a .10 per $100.00 tax levy (property tax) to reach Stone County residents with Developmental Disabilities.
If the Disability Board is passed, CHANCES will then become the provider of services in Stone County. The Disability Board will consist of nine members who will serve in three year staggered terms, and are appointed by the Stone County Commission. This will put Stone County on par with all of the neighboring counties.
“The activities we do, it brings the community together and allows families to be together,” Rouch said. “There’s a lot of information on a Google search but, unless you specifically can relate well, you’re likely drowning in a world of information. CHANCES brings those people together.”
Here’s how to help:
RISING STARS, RAISING HOPES
BUSINESS SPONSORSHIPS: Businesses also can support the PCCC through various sponsorships, such as the skyboxes on the 9th and 18th greens (with food badges), on-course signage and events such as a dozen Pro-Ams. Businesses also can donate a gift card with at least a $25 value in the name of your charity of choice to benefit them in the Golf Ball & Charity Auction presented by Copy Products, Inc. and University Plaza.
WIN A NEW TRUCK: The purchase of a $25 TLC Properties Charity Sweepstakes ticket can win one of 500 daily gift cards as well as grand prizes of $10,000 and a 2016 Ford F-150 XLT. It’s also good for a four-day tournament pass.
SEE THE FUTURE OF THE PGA TOUR: The PCCC is from Aug. 5-15, with the pros beginning play on Aug. 11 at Highland Springs Country Club. For tickets or other ways to assist, call the Price Cutter Charity Championship staff at 417-887-3400.
HE:P CHANCES of Stone County: To help the non-profit directly, call 417-569-0387.