Among many recent grants given by Walton Electric Membership Corporation’s (EMC) Operation Round Up is one that colors the lives of children with autism.
Operation Round Up, funded by the cooperative’s customer-owners, donated $5,000 to the Spectrum Autism Support Group that serves over 600 families.
Day camps at Spectrum give parents the opportunity to spend time with other children, run errands or relax and recharge. Approximately 500 campers from age four to young adult participate in seven week-long sessions. Spectrum is one of the only camps in Georgia designed specifically for children with autism.
Though her son passed away in 2011, Clair Dees, Spectrum co-founder, continues to volunteer at the organization. “One in 88 children have autism,” says Dees. “Over 25 percent of our families have multiple children with autism, which means the strain is doubled.”
Walton EMC customer-owners who participate in Operation Round Up allow their monthly electric bills to be rounded up to the next dollar. The resulting change goes into a fund administered by the volunteer Walton Electric Trust board. No money is used to pay electric bills and all administrative costs are borne by Walton EMC. Donations stay within the local 10-county area served by the co-op.
Other recent donations include:
- Young Women’s Christian Organization of Athens - $2,000 for a summer camp for girls.
- The Rock Student Center, Inc. - $7,206 to rebuild facilities where students receive mentoring and support in Walton County.
- Special Olympics of Georgia - $1,500 for outreach and state games.
- Extra Special People, Inc. - $5,000 for this Oconee County organization’s summer camp, ESP on the Go!
- The Society of St. Vincent de Paul - $2,500 for their Help for the Poor program in Morgan County.
- Faith in Serving Humanity, Inc. - $10,000 for their Walton County FISH 4 Kids summer feeding program.
- Project Safe, Inc. - $2,000 for emergency shelter improvements in Clarke and Oconee Counties.
- Georgia Lions Lighthouse - $4,000 for vision care and hearing aids in Walton EMC’s 10-county service area.
- Pregnancy Resource Center of Walton - $5,000 to promote “LIFE."
- The Salvation Army - $2,000 for emergency food and shelter in Athens-Clarke, Barrow, DeKalb and Gwinnett counties.
- Hebron Community Health Center - $5,000 for healthcare and services for low income and uninsured families in Gwinnett County.
- Place of Seven Springs - $5,000 for emergency food, clothing, prescription medication and financial assistance in Gwinnett County.
- The Partnership for Families, Children and Youth - $800 toward for their community service project.
- Camp Kudzu - $1,000 for a diabetes management camping program in Morgan County.
- United Charitable Programs - $2,500 for Stone Soup Camp that serves children with varying levels of autism.
- Step-by-Step Recovery - $2,500 for their Gwinnett County program that provides housing for homeless and paroled men and women.
- Athens Community Council on Aging - $4,500 to support grandparents in Barrow, Walton, Oconee and Athens-Clarke counties.
- Boys & Girls Clubs of North Central Georgia - $2,000 for membership scholarships and the computer lab at the Madison-Morgan County club.
- B Moe Positive Company - $2,500 for their mentoring program to support at-risk students in Gwinnett County.
- Side-by-Side Brain Injury Clubhouse - $5,000 to support their work in helping adults in Gwinnett, DeKalb, Barrow and Newton Counties with traumatic brain injuries regain employment and living skills.
- Additionally, ten families with urgent needs received varying amounts.