Ability Am 2024 a Success!

Thanks to our incredible group of sponsors, players and a supportive community, our signature summer fundraiser – the Ability Am – raised $87,625 in 2024!

The 85 golfers on 21 teams and 14 sponsors made it possible for us to do even more good work to help ALL abilities shine!

Wings for All Success in 2024

VersAbility Resources, The Arc US and Norfolk International Airport co-hosted Wings for All® on Saturday, April 13, 2024. The Wings program is a chance for people with autism or intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) and their families to rehearse the airport experience and board an airplane, many for the first time.

The Arc founded Wings for All in 2014 with the goal to alleviate the stress of air travel with practice and to educate airport and airline personnel and TSA on ways to improve the experience for passengers of all ages with autism spectrum disorders and IDD.

The Arc’s Wings for All Lands at Norfolk International Airport

VersAbility Resources, The Arc US and Norfolk International Airport will co-host Wings for All® on Saturday, April 13, 2024. The Wings program is a chance for people with autism or intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) and their families to rehearse the airport experience and board an airplane, many for the first time.

The Arc founded Wings for All in 2014 with the goal to alleviate the stress of air travel with practice and to educate airport and airline personnel and TSA on ways to improve the experience for passengers of all ages with autism spectrum disorders and IDD.

This event is free to families and open to all individuals with autism or IDD, however pre-registration is required here.

WHAT: Wings for All
WHEN: Saturday, April 13, 2024, at 10:30am
WHERE: Norfolk International Airport

Support Inclusion & VersAbility on World Autism Awareness Day

World Autism Awareness Day held annually on April 2 is one of seven official health specific days sanctioned by the United Nations.

Member states, which include the United States, are encouraged to raise awareness about autism on this day, highlighting the need to help improve the quality of life of those with autism so they can lead full and meaningful lives. VersAbility Resources operates with a similar mission of making sure people with disability lead full and productive lives of their choosing.

When you donate to VersAbility Resources, you’re contributing to making a better life to those with autism or another disability. If you have a family member or friend with autism, host a Facebook fundraiser on April 2 to support VersAbility Resources.

Autism or autism spectrum disorder refers to a broad range of lifelong conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication, according to Autism Speaks, a nonprofit dedicated to creating an inclusive world for all individuals with autism.

If you suspect your child is on the autism spectrum, reach out to VersAbility’s Early Prevention and Intervention for Children (EPIC) program. Free developmental screenings are provided for any child living in Hampton and Newport News under the age of 3.

Blue is the color associated with World Autism Awareness Day. Wearing blue on April 2 symbolizes autism awareness and solidarity with the mission of not simply existing with autism but living life a life without limits.

While World Autism Awareness Day is only one day, appreciating differences, promoting understanding and making the world a more inclusive place is a 24/7/365 endeavor.

Make a Difference Today During Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month

Are you wearing orange?

That’s the official color of Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, which happens every March. By showing off your orange colors, you’re spreading awareness to support the inclusion of people with disabilities in every aspect of life.

The term developmental disability is an umbrella for a group of conditions due to an impairment in physical, learning, language or behavior areas. Most of the time, a person is born with a developmental disability, though it can occur in the first three years of a child’s life. 

The most common developmental disabilities are autism spectrum disorder, cerebral palsy, fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, Down syndrome and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). About 1 in 6 children in the United States has one or more diagnosed developmental disabilities, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

By raising awareness of people with disabilities, we promote acceptance. People with a developmental disability are people first. Just like everyone else, they have abilities and accomplishments, likes and dislikes. We can’t cure people of a developmental disability. We can understand their challenges and foster an inclusive environment.

What can you do to raise awareness this month?

  • Find the orange and your wardrobe and show your colors. No orange? Make an orange ribbon with a safety pin that you can wear daily.
  • Conduct a disability awareness self-check. When you see someone with a disability, don’t turn the other way. Greet the person just as you would anyone. Make sure you use “people-first” language. People don’t suffer from a disability. They’re people with disabilities.
  • If you are an employer and have people with disabilities on your staff, highlight their individual abilities on social media or in your company newsletter.
  • If you own a business and need employees, partner with us at VersAbility Resources. Our team is continually exploring options for new Supported Employment business partners. Employers who hire people with disabilities are eligible to receive the Work Opportunity Tax Credit. Contact Vickie Greatwood at vgreatwood@versability.org for information. If you are unable to hire a person with a disability, promote volunteer opportunities within your organization for people with disabilities.
  • Share a message of inclusion on your personal and professional social media feeds. If you have a family member or friend, personalize the post with details and photos. Or create a reel. Upload a temporary cover photo or profile picture on Facebook that recognizes Developmental Disabilities Month.
  • Donate to VersAbility Resources. Any gift of any size promotes the abilities of people with disabilities.

Register for Free Online Support Event for People with Developmental Disabilities

If you want to learn more about mental health support for people with developmental disabilities, register to attend a free online event from the Individual and Family Support Program (IFSP) from 6-8:15 p.m., on March 21, 2024.

The IFSP Coordinated Regional Council meeting will focus on what to do if you or a loved one has a mental health crisis. Learn how to distinguish between a crisis and a non-crisis event and how to best access services that fit your situation.

V.J. Petillo, Systems Trainer for Region 4 of Regional Education Assessment Crisis Services Habilitation (REACH), will be a guest presenter. REACH team members will be available to answer your questions.

You must register to attend at this link: https://events.gcc.teams.microsoft.com/event/93c6d5a6-ee5c-40ab-9933-ad97019f1789@620ae5a9-4ec1-4fa0-8641-5d9f386c7309

An EPIC Night of Basketball Courtesy of Chartway Promise Foundation

It was a night for Love & Basketball on Feb. 22 at Chartway Arena courtesy of the Chartway Promise Foundation.

Chartway Promise Foundation is the charitable arm of Chartway Credit Union.

Earlier this winter, the Foundation awarded a $5,000 grant to support VersAbility Resources’ Early Prevention and Intervention for Children program (EPIC), which supports young children with developmental delays and their parents. As part of “Promise Night,” all grantees received basketball tickets to an Old Dominion University men’s game.

One family receiving EPIC support attended the game along with Marissa Canty, Assistant Manager of the EPIC program, and VersAbility Executive Administrator Jennifer Plude. This is the first time the EPIC program has received funding from Chartway Promise Foundation.

EPIC is a family-oriented program for infants and toddlers under the age of 3 who live in Hampton and Newport News. VersAbility offers free screenings that assess a child’s needs. If a disability or delay is found, families and caregivers can receive support and training through tailored therapy programs to help children reach developmental milestones. A VersAbility service coordinator, assigned during the intake process, works closely with the family to create an individualized family service plan for the child.

Phillips Energy Donates Nearly $1,500 to VersAbility Resources from Giving Tuesday Fundraiser

The community got pumped up and Phillips Energy gave. Literally.

VersAbility Resources is the recipient of $1,424.23 proceeds from a Giving Tuesday fundraiser organized by Phillips Energy.

Giving Tuesday, a global generosity movement, is held annually the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, which most recently fell on Nov. 28, 2023. Phillips Energy designated the Hampton nonprofit that supports people with disabilities to lead full and productive lives of their choosing as its designated beneficiary on that day. The energy company, with locations in Gloucester, Mathews and New Kent counties, donated 10% of sales from its public gas station near Gloucester Point to the fundraiser.

All funds will go toward VersAbility’s programs that serve more than 1,500 with disabilities and their families in areas that include early childhood, student services, day support, residential and employment.

“We’re grateful to our new community partner, Phillips Energy, for its outstanding efforts on Giving Tuesday that not only raised money but also awareness about our mission to support people with disabilities,” said Joe Harrow, Chief Development Officer at VersAbility. “All of us at VersAbility appreciate the Phillips Energy family for their thoughtfulness and salute everything they do to improve our shared community.”

Phillips Energy is a Virginia provider of premium heating oil, propane, autogas, on- and off-road diesel, eco-friendly alternate fuels, gasoline and marine fuels, and more.

“It’s always been important to Phillips Energy to support the local organizations in the community,” said Elizabeth McCormick, Vice President of Phillips Energy, a family-run company founded by her grandfather in 1946. “Thank you to everyone who took the time to fuel up on Giving Tuesday at our Gloucester gas station. We’re inspired by all that VersAbility Resources does for people with disabilities. We are proud to support such an important mission.”

Pumpkins & Lots More at Gift Market on Oct. 12, 19, 26 & Nov. 2

Join VersAbility Resources at the Peninsula Fall Home & Gift Market on The Green at the Marketplace at Tech Center on four consecutive Thursdays this fall — Oct. 12, 19, 26 and Nov. 2, 2023.

Hours for each of the markets are 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. The Marketplace at Tech Center is located at 12090 Jefferson Ave., in Newport News. Whole Foods is among the many businesses located there.

Explore the diverse range of exhibitors showcasing one-of-a-kind crafts perfect for home décor and gifts. VersAbility will host a pumpkin patch event that will include pumpkins for donations, children’s games, costume contests, candy apples and more.

VersAbility helps ensure people with disabilities enjoy dignified, productive lives of their choosing. All donations for the pumpkins will benefit the nonprofit’s Able Acres Market Garden program, led primarily by adults with disabilities. Individuals in the nonprofit’s Day Support program will be part of the four markets as part of the community engagement aspect of the program.

VersAbility’s 2023 Ability Am Golf Tournament Raises Over $90,000 to Support Employment Programs

Two teams may have walked away with the top scores, but it was VersAbility Resources that won the 2023 Ability Am Golf Tournament. The Hampton nonprofit raised $91,575 at the annual 18-hole tournament held at Cedar Point Country Club in Suffolk on May 18.

Funds raised support VersAbility’s employment programs, including the innovative Future of Work (FOW) program.

VersAbility’s mission is to support people with disabilities lead full lives of their choosing.

FOW is designed to help youth and adults with disabilities complete certification programs to prepare them for jobs in high-demand career fields. The nonprofit offers training in welding and culinary arts. Support services are in place, including dedicated job coaches onsite to facilitate people with disabilities successfully completing certification/credentialing and apprenticeship programs necessary to expand their career opportunities in high-demand industries.

“People with disabilities face an unemployment rate twice as high as those without a disability,” said Kasia Grzelkowski, President and CEO of VersAbility Resources. “Our employment programs are a critical component that lead to the self-sufficiency so many strive for.”

A man wearing sunglasses and a hat hits a golf ball with his club

VersAbility Resources serves more than 1,700 people with disabilities and their families. In addition to the four employment programs, VersAbility’s programs include early childhood, student services, day support and residential. Its service area includes all of Hampton Roads and the 10 counties on the Middle Peninsula and Northern Neck.

A total of 76 golfers participated in the 2023 event, presented by Primis Bank and Wayne MacMasters. Additional major sponsors, among others, were TowneBank, Towne Insurance, Langley Federal Credit Union, Tidewater Orthopaedics.

A foursome from The Lee Group, a premier staffing and executive recruitment firm, and First Advantage Credit Union, took first place.

Four men pose with their golf clubs and smile on a golf course.

“Having so many local businesses support our golf tournament is testament to the generosity in the Hampton Roads community,” said Joe Harrow, Chief Development Officer at VersAbility. “We’re grateful for their contributions and commitment to helping people with disabilities lead fulfilling lives.”

Register for VersAbility Free Family Fun Night on June 23

Join VersAbility Resources for Family Fun Night, an opportunity for children with disabilities to explore exhibits after hours and enjoy arts and crafts at the Virginia Living Museum.

This free event on Friday, June 23, 2023, is from 5:30 to 8 p.m., and open to people with disabilities ages 0 to 22.

Families can also learn about community resources and chat with other families in a supportive environment. The Virginia Living Museum is at 524 J. Clyde Morris Blvd., in Newport News.

Tickets are limited and registration is required. Register online HERE.

VersAbility Resources serves more than 1,800 people with disabilities and their families annually with programs in early childhood, student services, residential and employment.

Learn more about Family Fun Night by contacting Keltie Bransford at 757-896-6473 or keltie@versability.org.

Family Fun Night is sponsored and coordinated by VersAbility Resources and is not a Virginia Living Museum event.

VersAbility Raises More Than $76,000 at Signature Fundraiser

VersAbility Resources raised $76,060 at its 15th annual gala presented by Old Point National Bank held Sept. 30 in Newport News.

A man and a women smile and poser together at a VersAbility fundraiser

The funds raised support the nonprofit’s mission to empower people with disabilities to lead productive and fulfilling lives.

More than 100 people attended the cruise-themed event held during the aftermath of Hurricane Ian.

A group of people surround a roulette table as they watch the ball spin.

“VersAbility is deeply grateful to all of our generous sponsors who help us create lives of purpose and opportunity for people of all abilities,” said Kasia Grzelkowski, the organization’s President and CEO. “We salute those who braved the remnants of Hurricane Ian to join us in celebration of our mission.”

Unique silent auction items at VersAbility’s signature fundraiser held at the Marriott in City Center included a guitar autographed by Bruce Springsteen, a Los Angeles Lakers jersey autographed by LeBron James, a sterling silver bracelet with white sapphires from Hauser’s Jewelers and a Lilly Pulitzer cooler and stainless steel tumbler from The Silver Box.

A woman wearing formal attire speaks into a microphone from a podium.

The evening included dinner and dessert, live music from the band Revelation, dancing, a silent auction, casino games, and a raffle.

A man wearing a Hawaiian shirt plays a white guitar onstage.

VersAbility’s new Chief Development Officer Joe Harrow joined other leadership, staff, and supporters for the memorable evening.

Four women smile, seated behind a table with papers in front of them.

“I am really excited to be joining VersAbility in my capacity as its Chief Development Officer because I believe so strongly in the mission,” Harrow said. “The people who I met at the office on my first day, as well as the supporters at the Gala, further confirmed for me that I have made the right decision joining this organization.”

VersAbility serves more than 1,800 people and their families with disabilities with programs in early childhood, student services, day support and residential. Five diverse employment programs help people with disabilities find meaningful work.

A man dances on a dance floor wearing a yellow flower lei, surrounded by other dancers.

VersAbility’s Bestows 14 Employees with Amethyst Club Honors

VersAbility Resources welcomed 14 honorees to its newly created Amethyst Club that recognizes employees with tenure and dedication to the Hampton nonprofit.

A woman in a blue dress speaks to a crowd of people gathered for dinner.

The selected honorees attended a dinner in their honor with several from VersAbility’s senior leadership team in attendance, including Kasia Grzelkowski (CEO), Tammy Robbs (CFO) and Mike Godwin (Chief Human Resources Officer) from VersAbiliy’s senior leadership team.

A woman in a pink shirt laughs while eating dinner.

“The Amethyst Club consists of those employees who have eclipsed 25 years of either direct service to people with disabilities or support of this mission while employed with VersAbility,” Godwin said. “It is the highest honor bestowed upon any employee – an employment life well-lived and in service to others and to further the mission and provide more opportunities for individuals with disabilities.”

A woman listens while the person next to her speaks at a dinner table.

Added Robbs, “VersAbility’s goal is that the club continually grows as the years progress. We aspire to have the majority of our employees make a life-long career at VersAbility.”

A man and a woman listen as another woman speaks to them during dinner.

VersAbility Resources Achieves a Fundraising Milestone at Annual Ability Am Golf Tournament

Call it an ace for VersAbility Resources.

The Hampton nonprofit exceeded the six-figure fundraising mark at a single event for the first time ever at its Ability Am Golf Tournament held on May 19, 2022.

VersAbility raised $106,560 from the tournament that included 21 teams and 81 golfers competing at Cedar Point Club in Suffolk. Funds raised support VersAbility’s employment programs, including its new Future of Work (FOW) program. This new initiative launched its first welding cohort in January 2022 and will add a second cohort in June.

A woman wearing a red shirt and white hat swings a golf club.

FOW is designed to help youth and adults with disabilities complete certification programs to prepare them for jobs in high-demand career fields. While welding training is underway, long-term plans include other fields such as medical coding and cybersecurity. Job coaches will provide personalized support with pre-enrollment preparation, technology use, transportation, exam preparation and job placement.

“People with disabilities represent the greatest untapped talent pool that our region needs to thrive” said VersAbility CEO Kasia Grzelkowski. “These funds will allow us to get these capable people off the sidelines and into jobs that lead to fulfilling careers. VersAbility’s employment programs give people with disabilities hope, independence, security and social belonging. We are so appreciative of our community supporters who helped us reach this fundraising milestone.”

Two men smile and wave while riding a golf cart.

Pivot Physical Therapy was Presenting Sponsor for the tournament. Other sponsors included the following:

  • Mission Sponsors: Annie Belle Reavis Tuccori (ARBT) Foundation, Rick Gallaer in honor of Seth and Jeremy Gallaer, Tidewater Orthopaedics, TowneBank, and Towne Insurance
  • Beverage Sponsors: Atlantic Union Bank, Langley Federal Credit Union, PNC Bank, Sentara CarePlex Hospital, and Wanda Austin.
  • Plethora of Putting Green and Hole Sponsors.
A man wearing a red shirt and a woman wearing a black shirt smile and pose together at a golf course.

Tournament Co-Chair Wayne MacMasters successfully sparked another round of fundraising by offering to match any additional gifts made during the reception. This act of generosity raised an additional $17,000 for people with disabilities served by VersAbility Resources.

VersAbility Resources Seeking Sponsors and Golfers for May Fundraiser

VersAbility Resources invites local businesses and community members to support the 2022 Ability Am Golf Tournament, one of the nonprofit’s signature fundraisers.

Proceeds from this spring’s event will support VersAbility Employment Programs that continue to help people with disabilities get back to work during the ongoing pandemic. VersAbility’s newest employment program, Future of Work, provides wraparound support services to facilitate people with disabilities successfully completing certification, training and apprenticeship programs to expand their career opportunities in high-demand industries.

VersAbility serves more than 1,700 individuals with disabilities and their families.

The tournament will be held on May 19 at Cedar Point Country Club in Suffolk. VersAbility is seeking sponsors at all levels and encouraging recreational golfers to register for the best-ball tournament. For details and benefits related to sponsorship opportunities and registration, visit versability.org/events.

Use of the driving range and a pre-tournament lunch begin at 11 a.m., followed by a shotgun start at 1 p.m. A cocktail reception and awards dinner will follow at 5:30 p.m.

Individual golfer registrations are $165. Foursomes can register for $650.

For information, contact VersAbility Marketing and Development Manager Keltie Bransford at kbransford@versability.org or by calling 757-896-6473.

Donate to VersAbility Resources Fundraiser to Provide a Thanksgiving Meal to People with Disabilities

VersAbility Resources is asking community members to help fund Thanksgiving meals for the people with disabilities served by the nonprofit.

VersAbility aims to raise $2,500 to help pay for over 250 holiday lunches that will be handed out on Nov. 23 as part of a drive-thru event at VersAbility’s Hampton headquarters. Additional meals will go to the Envisions Day Support program in Newport News, VersAbility’s group homes in Hampton, Newport News and York County, and the Puller Center in Gloucester.

Donate online here and select Thanksgiving 2021.

“Sitting down and sharing a meal with family and friends has never been more important for the populations we serve,” said Kasia Grzelkowski, President and CEO of VersAbility Resources. “Thanks to the generous support of local individuals, businesses and organizations, we have always been able to keep our commitment to what has become an annual tradition, and we are asking for help once again.”

All lunches include a turkey dinner with sides and dessert options. While traditionally VersAbility offered a Thanksgiving luncheon in person, last year and again this year, the meals will be pre-boxed out of an abundance of caution given the COVID-19 pandemic.

In 2020, VersAbility handed out more than 300 meals at the drive-thru event, made possible thanks to crowdfunding and the support of Kiwanis Clubs of Division 13.

VersAbility Resources Aces First In-person Fundraiser Since October 2019

VersAbility Resources raised more than $87,000 at its 2021 golf tournament held on Oct. 14, 2021. The charity event was the first in-person fundraiser since the start of COVID-19 held by the nonprofit that serves community members and their families affected by disabilities.

Rows of white visors and caps and red drink holders on a table.

Pivot Physical Therapy and Annie Belle Reavis Tuccori Foundation were the presenting sponsors for the Ability Am Golf Tournament held at Cedar Point Country Club in Suffolk, Virginia.

A hand holding a yellow golf tee with the VersAbility logo on it

VersAbility surpassed its fundraising goal for the event, raising a total of $87,127, which included $1,777 from its 50/50 raffle. The recipient of the raffle generously donated the winning amount of $888.50 back to VersAbility in support of the people with disabilities they serve.

A man and a woman wearing green golf shirts pose holding a flagstick on a golf course.

Proceeds from the event benefit hundreds of individuals with disabilities who participate in VersAbility’s four diverse employment programs.

A man wearing a green shirt hits a golf ball with a club on a golf course.

“Thanks to the generous support of our sponsors, golfers, Board and community members during this year’s Ability Am, VersAbility is creating new jobs for people with disabilities while helping others return to work as we recover from the pandemic,” said Kasia Grzelkowski, President and CEO of VersAbility Resources.

A woman wearing golf attire talks to VersAbility members behind a purple table under a tent.

Grzelkowski joined VersAbility Board members Jackie White and Jim Schloss, greeting golfers and sponsors who contributed to making the day a success. A cocktail and awards reception followed an afternoon of golf.

Rows of golf carts on a golf course.

Sponsors Checkered Flag Auto Group and Pearson Toyota, both of Newport News, placed cars at the two hole-in-one sponsorships on holes 5 and 16, respectively.

A woman wearing golf attire hits a golf ball with a club on a golf course.

While no one aced either hole to win the cars, VersAbility came out on top with their successful event.

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