YPSILANTI: Putters, sponsors help Community Alliance efforts
By Leslie McGraw, Staff Writer Ypsilanti Courier, Aug. 22, 2103
Eighty-nine participants of all ages and abilities showed up Sunday, Aug. 18 for a mini-golf competiti on to raise money for the Community Alliance special needs fund.
The fourth annual Community Alliance Classic was held at Putterz Mini Golf, 2675 Washtenaw Ave, Ypsilanti.
The day marked the first time Sharon Pedersen, director of business development and marketing for Community Alliance, coordinated the “Classic”.
Based on previous turnouts, Pedersen set a modest goal of “at least 30 people, hopefully more” to show up and purchase miniature golf tickets.
The fundraising total, which includes money from golfers that participated at the Classic, individual donations, and sponsors is expected to exceed last year’s net total of $3,000.
The special needs fund helps Community Alliance provide support for low income people with developmental disabilities, such as autism, Down syndrome, and cerebral palsy with unmet medical and dental costs such as extractions and eyeglasses.
Board member Penny Yohn is also the mom of client, Ehren Moosbrugger, 36, who primarily uses Community Alliance for help with staffing. Moosbrugger lives with two other roommates and has not lived with his mom since he was in his 20s.
“I wanted him [Moosbrugger] to have other alternatives”, Yohn said. “Some people have their [special needs] children their whole life and then when the parents pass away, the adult child is devastated because they have never lived with anyone else.”
Rob Snyder, 30, is a high-functioning client who lives with two roommates. He explains his relationship with staff and his parents as his team of support. He visits his Dad each Saturday and they frequently go to the movies on Mondays.
“I have been a client for eight years,” Snyder said, while purchasing a snack from the cashier. “My mom and dad used to have issues with the other staff [before Community Alliance]. Staff would come late or give me my meds late.” He described Community Alliance as a “stable” organization.
One of the goals of Community Alliance is for clients “to live in society with the ability to live to their fullest potential,” Pedersen said.
Snyder keeps a regular routine that includes reading science fiction and fantasy books and late nights on his computer, boasting a digital music collection of more than 180,000 titles including Green Day and Eminem.
Aside from fundraising goals, Community Alliance coordinators wanted clients and everyone involved to have a fun time at the event. Preliminary results show that this goal was also met. Sunny skies and warm temperatures started off the event on solid footing. Several golfers came clad in loud golf pants and shorts to compete for an award for best, as in loudest, golf pants. Two vans full of clients came with staff to participate at whatever level they could and eat pizza. Staff, volunteers, families, and other community members filled up the golf course in smiles, support, and cheers for small victories.