Signatures asking Extreme makeover to makeover the Russell Home For Atypical Children located in Orlando FL. sign now

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I received this email Subject: Fwd: Russell Home Needs your Signature - Date: Mon, 18 Jun 2007 21:14:53 -0400 that was requesting signatures asking Extreme makeover to makeover the Russell Home For Atypical Children located in Orlando FL.



So I did a search on the Russell Home & here is what I found from "Where's Ron Now? Webpage at: http://wheresronnow.com/russell.html

I had known about the Russell Home For Atypical Children for years and happened upon an article written by one of the volunteers which said that the home had been having very hard financial times recently and that there was a good chance that this home might be shut down soon due to lack of funds. I discovered that the home's founder, Mrs. Russell, who just passed away in 2003, wanted to eliminate any possible restrictions that would defeat the founding principle of the Home - that acceptance be based solely on the need for the service offered. For that reason, she chose not to accept any governmental financial support and operate from donations alone.

When Mrs. Russell took in her first children in 1951, she was the first licensed facility in the state to care for severely handicapped children. And to this day, the certificate showing license number "1" sits quietly in a bookshelf amidst the numerous awards of recognition given to Mrs. Russell and the home over the past half century for their tireless works on behalf of the children and adults she, her family, the volunteers and staff have cared for. And during that time, neither she, nor any member of the board of directors has accepted one penny in salary for the work they have done

Over the years, doctors from hospitals including Shands and law enforcement agencies and other organizations who dealt with children consulted Mrs. Russell as it was said that she was able to look at a child and know how that child would turn out in his teens and early 20s. Her remarkable insight earned her recognition from U.S. Presidents and prestigious organizations around the country.

What struck me first about the home was that it was nothing like I was expecting. I was expecting a sterile, hospital-like environment, but instead found a home, pretty much like anyone else's home, except with more rooms and people living there. The facilities are modest and well-worn, but clean and organized...a testament to the wonderful job that the family, staff and volunteers do on a daily basis.

The physical home consists of a nursery, dormitory wing, playrooms, living room areas, kitchen and large laundry room. I got lost several times despite the relatively small size of the facility. But all around, as you walk around, are severely handicapped and mentally challenged adults who have been here for decades...a testament to the unconditional love given to them by the home's staff and the community. Many of the 'kids' as they are still referred to, have been at the home for decades.



I had decided within an hour of my first visit that I had to do something to help these folks as the home is definitely in dire straits financially despite the help it receives from numerous organizations, individuals and companies in the community. The problem is the sheer cost of maintaining a home environment. Imagine how hard it is to try and manage the expenses of a home with 27 children and a small paid staff. Now consider that all of these residents are special needs folks, some of them with severe medical conditions which require round the clock care and special medications. To look at these kids you might not see that. But to speak with the Russell family, most of which are active helping in the home in one way or another is to find out just how challenging it is.



So far, every time I have visited, there has been family members here from out of state helping out in some way with fixing things or moving things or doing any of the other countless tasks involved in maintaining a home like this. Several organizations like the Central Florida Corvette Association and the Harley Davidson Company have adopted the Russell Home and help out when they can. Many other organizations help out as well, and I ask that you good folks of those groups forgive for not mentioning you as I am still learning about the Russell Home and its affiliates. But even with the support of the community, the expenses of healthcare are rising causing the Russell Home to be even more dependent upon the goodwill of the community.



I guess what struck me most about the home was of course, Mrs. Russell. I wished that I could have gone back in time to meet her and find out what made her tick, to learn about her unwavering faith and unconditional love and how she would never turn a child away. How pathetic I was to be concerned over such petty things in my life when this woman showed such dedication and love in ways I clearly could not ever emulate and understand.



And yet, while she was not there in person when I arrived, she was there in spirit and she clearly was a part of every child, every adult and every volunteer and individual who ever walked through the front door. It's really strange. When you look into the eyes of one of the children there, you 'see' Mrs. Russell looking back at you smiling. It truly is a magical place.

It is impossible to walk into the Russell Home without being touched in some small way; if even just to be reminded that the daily toils we expose ourselves to are not really that significant. The things we become aggravated about are not really worth being aggravated over. And the things that some of these kids have to deal with are greater than things many of us will ever have to deal with.



On March 22nd, I will be taking the first of five million steps to raise money for the Russell Home and I would like to ask you to be a part of this in whatever way you feel comfortable. To be honest, the Russell Home is mostly in need of financial donations to meet it ever growing list of expenses and no amount is too small. They are a non-profit organization and all donations are tax deductible.



If you would be willing to donate via a credit card online, simply click the "MAKE A DONATION" button to the left and donate whatever amount your heart tells you to. You may send a check if you prefer, by mailing it to the address, also to the left. The Russell Home is also in need of many day to day type things that are typically needed by a home such as food, clothing, cleaning and personal items and other things.



Please note that while I am fundraising for the Russell Home, I am not receiving any portion of your donation. The money is going directly to the Russell Home to cover their expenses.

If you have read this far, I do thank you for your time. Feel free to contact the Russell Home at any time with questions or if you would just like to take a tour of their facility and meet the wonderful staff who toil endlessly for the folks who call the Russell Home, 'home.'



I also sent a copy of this email & petition link to Ron Jaffe & the original email contact Sandy Bennett. So please joint the list asking Extreme makeover to makeover the Russell Home For Atypical Children located in Orlando FL. Let's make this happen people.



Note: Ron Jaffe has a paypal link set up if any one wishes to make a donation to the Russell Home For Atypical Children at:

https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr



Char O.

Merritt Island FL

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