January is often a time for reflection. For us, 2022 will be remembered as a year of growth, and transition. We welcomed 24 new ZFF supporters, thanks to RJ & Shannon Zukowski’s generous mention of charities in lieu of wedding gifts. We are blessed to be able to expand some of our existing relationships while adding a few new programs.
Cheryl and I, along with the ZFF Board of Directors, were honored by such a selfless act and the enormous response we received…. Thank you, RJ & Shannon, for having the desire to share with others in need! We are pleased and blessed to have matched all these wonderful contributions increasing our ability to expand and add programs and relationships.
With the added resources and support we were able to
– Continue our support of the Ronald McDonald House of Baltimore, (RMH), a 13-year relationship that we are proud to still support
– Renew our scholarship program with the National Federation of the Blind, (NFB), for a third year
– Expand our support with the Plymouth Food Pantry
– Increase our footprint with The Hole In the Wall Gang rounding out a full decade of support
These additional resources gave us an opportunity to add new programs and relationships such as being able to help with the evacuation of more than 100+ children from Ukraine to Poland, the re-engagement of past charities such as Special Olympics Montana, and the addition of the Great Falls Symphony education and outreach programs. Great Falls Montana has always had a special place in our family’s hearts. When our kids were growing up, I was fortunate enough to be introduced to Special Olympics Montana through Beth McFadden and Bob Norbie two special people with tremendous focus on making a difference in their community. Beth was a board member of Special Olympics Montana and had her entire workforce of 600+ associates behind this great cause. Bob was CEO of Special Olympics Montana and was on the Special Olympics International Board of Directors for five years. It’s because of these two individuals our kids grew up knowing and supporting such a wonderful cause. I also had the good fortune of being named an Honorary Chairperson for SOMT allowing me to attend the World Games held in Shanghai in 2007. It is gratifying to see this come full circle and now being remembered and passed down, I’m confident for many generations to come.
SOMT — Special Olympics Montana goes far beyond the benefit of playing and competing in sports. Beyond the benefit of year-round sports training and competition, the athletes experience the sheer joy that comes from new-found confidence, self-esteem, determination, and friendship. This is perhaps best expressed in the words of Special Olympics Montana athlete Ruchelle Tyvand of Butte, “Special Olympics Montana teaches you to believe in yourself and to BE yourself!”
One final highlight of this past year that we will include here is Isabel Rosario, a student at Southern Connecticut University, and a recipient of the ZFF scholarship. She is in her third year of college and plans to continue studying social work with the goal of a master’s degree. Her goal after graduation is to counsel others one-on-one. Isabel is a lovely young woman who co-chairs the Association of Blind Students Legislative for Self-Advocacy Committee. She is also president of the Guide Dog Division in Connecticut and part of the National Association of blind students.
This letter cannot possibly convey the real-life impact that all of your support has made possible, and none of this could have happened without our dedicated, loyal, ZFF supporters, so I will end with one final thank you to all of our supporters – old and new – who have directly supported our Vision & Mission in helping to transform lives… Thank you all and here is to a healthy, happy, and prosperous 2023 The Zukowski’s