MEET EVELYN AND HER THOUSAND-WATT SMILE
Evelyn is a happy, silly four-and-a-half-year-old. She loves Frozen, Encanto, playing with her big brother, and making her opinions known. In short, Evelyn is a typical preschooler. However, Evelyn was born with microcephaly which leads to her having neurological disorders that cause six to ten seizures per hour which cannot be controlled with pharmaceuticals, her needing to use a g-tube for nutrition, and her having somewhat limited mobility. Evelyn is non-verbal, however, her mom, Brynn, made sure that I understood that Evelyn definitely gets her ideas across!
The costs of caring for a child with Evelyn’s diagnoses are astronomical. In addition to adaptive equipment which is often not covered by insurance or takes years to obtain through insurance, Brynn shares that Evelyn has frequent doctor’s appointments and therapy sessions. As a single parent, Brynn, is solely responsible for Evelyn’s care.
Prior to Evelyn’s birth, Brynn was a high earner, however there are maximum income restrictions which limit how much a parent can make and still receive some of the Medicaid and Social Security benefits that children living with disabilities require. Essentially, Brynn earned too much for Evelyn to qualify for these programs, but without the programs, even if she’s working full time, Brynn cannot afford all of the things that Evelyn needs to thrive. To meet the threshold for qualification, Brynn is not allowed to have more than $2,000 in savings and her income is capped Brynn has become an activist for changing these laws, advocating for children with special need’s parents right to meaningful employment without sacrificing access to critical resources.
The Dolan Fund has supported Evelyn’s family through our financial assistance and bill pay program. In addition, they received a Thanksgiving basket, and will be one of our families who will be adopted this holiday season. To ensure that we can continue our work serving families like Evelyn’s donate here.
A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A PROGRAM MANAGER: KARA MCCLAIN
Kelly Anne Dolan Memorial Fund Program Manager Kara McClain must have more hours in her day than the rest of us. Her job executing the three main programs run by the Dolan Fund requires her to wear many hats and have a diverse skill set. However, many of our most loyal friends and donors never get the opportunity to interact with Kara, so we wanted to share a little bit about her work in this edition of our newsletter.
During the workday, Kara’s phone is ringing constantly. Many times, the caller is a family in a desperate situation looking for help. Kara patiently listens to their situation, and if applicable to our mission, explains the process of a healthcare professionals’ completing the financial assistance form on behalf of the family. If the caller’s challenge does not fall within the purview of our mission, Kara stays on the phone with them while she uses her vast knowledge of other nonprofits and programs to direct the caller to the organization that can provide them help. In this way, our mission extends beyond families with children living with illness and disability and to the wider community of those struggling with any number of challenging situations. Kara also liaises with our healthcare professionals to make sure that all appropriate requests are directed our way.
In addition to running our financial assistance program, Kara uses her psychology and counseling background to facilitate our many online support groups. Kara plans thematic programming based on the needs of the families whom we serve. While our financial assistance programming is limited to families residing in or being treated in Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New Jersey, our support groups and information sharing sessions are online and available to anyone who wants to log on. Recently, Kara worked with a certified financial planner to present an online session about long-term financial planning for children living with disabilities. It was incredibly well attended, and the follow-up questions show a strong desire for more financial education among the families we serve. If you are a finance professional who would like to donate your time to this work, please reach out to us as we plan our next steps.
Finally, from October through December, Kara runs our two holiday programs. This Thanksgiving, Kara coordinated the distribution of 70 Thanksgiving baskets of food for the entire day. This meant designing drop off and pick up schedules for our healthcare partners and coordinating with the rest of the Dolan staff on finding donors, picking up assembled baskets, and identifying missing items. At the same time that Thanksgiving baskets are being donated and distributed, Kara is fielding requests from our healthcare partners for holiday gifts. This year, we are raising money to make the holiday season brighter for 600 people. To meet this goal, we would like to raise another $30,000, so if you’re moved by the giving spirit, please donate here.
COCKTAILS FOR A CAUSE VENDOR PREVIEW
Cocktails for a Cause returns to the Mahoney Events Center in Ambler on the evening of December 7th. Included in the ticket prices are delicious hot appetizers and a craft cocktail from our friends at Widows Peak Distillery. Below is a preview of all of our fabulous vendors. Don’t start your holiday shopping before perusing this list for the local vendors whom you can support while celebrating the holiday season. Purchase your tickets here.
- Kendra Scott- Featured Vendor
- Kendra Scott has selected KADMF to be the recipient of a “Kendra Gives Back” campaign the week of Cocktails for a Cause. Kendra Scott will donate 20% of butterfly themed jewelry sales to the Dolan Fund! Representatives from Kendra Scott will be at Cocktails for a Cause with a variety of butterfly and other pieces. Kendra Scott is an extraordinarily popular brand among all of the young women in your lives and would make ideal holiday gifts.
- Kara Jo Skincare
- Kara Jo products are hand-crafted with real ingredients born from the Earth. Kara Jo uses honey and beeswax from her apiary and medicinal herbs from her gardens to bring you thoughtfully crafted skin care that’s good for your body, mind, and Mother Nature. Visit Kara Jo Skincare’s table to purchase fabulous stocking stuffers that will leave your giftees skin clean and radiant.
- Sugar Bottom Hemp
- Featured on CBS News, Sugar Bottom Hemp is a collection of local farmers and businesspeople who were brought together their our love of the hemp plant and the many health benefits they’ve received by using CBD in its various forms. Sugar Bottom strives to be a leader in the community as an example of innovative farming and healthy living.
- Beyond the Jewel Box
- Beyond the Jewel Box has a brick-and-mortar store in Ambler and a lively online presence. They will be bringing a variety of gift items to Cocktails for a Cause so that you can find the perfect holiday gift for the hardest person on your list for whom you have to shop.
- Amber Moscato Succulents
- Know someone who can use some hugs and kisses? Stop by the Amber Moscato Succulent table to purchase handcrafted amber wine bottle succulent terraria. These unique gifts will surely put a sweet grin on their face of any recipient.
- Aaron Schantz Photography
- Award winning photographer, outdoor enthusiast, and all around nerd, Aaron Schantz sells the most beautiful photography. For Aaron, every picture tells a story, an adventure, or how some image was snapped at just the right place or opportunity. Aaron enjoys sharing these stories with people in the form of his photography and is so thrilled to be able to share his work with shoppers at Cocktails for a Cause.
- Urban Princess Boutique
- Voted one of Philadelphia’s Stylish Secrets in the Keystone Local Guide, Urban Princess boutique sells on-trend clothing and accessories. Visit the Urban Princess table at Cocktails for a Cause to find your next signature purse, a stylish-but-warm winter hat, or a great new outfit for your next holiday party.
- Minnie and Moon
- At Minnie and Moon the quality, beauty, and sustainability is
considered for each and every item. Their well-made treasures are designed to be both beautiful and useful, high-quality tools and unique gifts that are crafted to hold up to the rigors of the creative home and garden. Whenever possible, Minnie and Moon uses natural materials and manufacture in the USA. The sustainability of the products, packaging and shipping supplies is carefully considered. Find your next favorite thing at the Minnie and Moon table!
- At Minnie and Moon the quality, beauty, and sustainability is