On June 6, 2018, Plano Metro Rotary Club (PMRC), a nonprofit service organization that is part of Rotary International, awarded $65,000 to H.E.R.O.E.S., a Richardson-based provider of educational programs for individuals with disabilities, as the winner of its first-ever Plano Metro Rotary Foundation Grant. Funds were used to purchase a wheelchair-accessible bus, allowing students with mobility impairments to attend excursions such as zip-lining adventures, bowling and group art lessons.
“I would like to personally thank the entire club. The accessible bus will be a tremendous help, allowing easier access for our students who use wheelchairs,” said Josh Schilling, Executive Director of H.E.R.O.E.S. “It means a great deal to me personally, as well. My son, Nicholas,uses a wheelchair and usually travels to H.E.R.O.E.S. events in a separate car with his nurse. He loves the bus so much and is thrilled beyond anything imaginable that he will now get to ride in a bus with his friends. He has been signing ‘new bus’ and ‘happy’ all evening.”
The Plano Metro Rotary Foundation was established in 2002, as a way to provide funds for PISD vocational scholarships and other community needs identified by the club. It is funded by dollars raised from PMRC’s annual Casino Night fundraiser and its U.S. Holiday Flag Program. In 2017, the Foundation’s governing board agreed to use some of its funds for a community grant, which was made available to local non-profit organizations that met grant criteria. Eighteen organizations applied for the grant, and after a thorough review process, H.E.R.O.E.S. was selected as the winner.
“We had some wonderful applicants, and they’re all doing amazing work,” said Chris Jones, Grant Committee Chair. “We were excited to award these funds to H.E.R.O.E.S., whose work aligns with Rotary International’s mission of putting service above self. Our members look forward to partnering with H.E.R.O.E.S. by providing volunteer support, as well. We don’t want to just write a check—we want to create a connection to the good work that H.E.R.O.E.S is doing.”
H.E.R.O.E.S. seeks to integrate individuals with disabilities into the community, allowing them to participate in activities commonly experienced by everyone. This requires mobility. PMRC Members wanted Foundation funds to make a difference in their community in a unique way, and the opportunity to help mobility impaired individuals enjoy experiences with their friends resonated with the club’s membership. The new bus accommodates two students in wheelchairs, along with 12 additional students. The PMRC name and logo is prominently featured on the bus—so look out for it when you’re driving around town, and be sure to give a friendly smile and a wave to the students of H.E.R.O.E.S. as they enjoy all our community has to offer.
Information above provided as a press release.