From Oklahoma to Liberia– local nonprofit “pays it forward”

DRTC sponsors fundraiser for My Heart’s Appeal

Dale Rogers Training Center (DRTC) is helping make a difference in the lives of people with disabilities half a world away.  On Thursday night, DRTC sponsored My Heart’s Appeal, Inc. (MHA) for its 3rd annual benefit dinner to raise money in an effort to train teenagers and adults with intellectual disabilities to work in the West African nation of Liberia.

My Heart's Appeal Founder and CEO Lovetie Major, M. Ed., speaks to people in attendance about the work MHA is doing in Liberia.
My Heart’s Appeal Founder and CEO Lovetie Major, M. Ed., speaks to people in attendance about the work MHA is doing in Liberia.

MHA Founder and CEO Lovetie Major, M. Ed., started MHA in 1996 following a desire to help her sister, Titema, who has Down syndrome, live her life to the fullest.

Around 120 people were at the event, held at Church of the Servant, taking part in a silent auction, interactive cultural exchanges and a gallery walk.

MHA raised more than $10,000 as part of its goal to buy 100 acres of land in Liberia to provide a safe campus for those living with intellectual disabilities to receive special education and vocational training. This includes a gift facilitated through the Oklahoma City Community Foundation.

But the giving didn’t stop there.  DRTC Board President Cheryl Moore and board member Bob Hale surprised the crowd by announcing DRTC had donated two pre-owned box trucks for MHA’s use in Liberia and will soon do the same with two vans.

Dale Rogers Training Center Board member Bob Hale (right) presents box truck titles to My Heart's Appeal Founder and CEO Lovetie Major, M. Ed. (left).
Dale Rogers Training Center Board member Bob Hale (right) presents box truck titles to My Heart’s Appeal Founder and CEO Lovetie Major, M. Ed. (left).

Moore stated, “Part of the Dale Rogers’ mission is to help educate the public about people with disabilities in the U.S. and around the world.”

People at the event watched a video of the work currently being done in Liberia, and heard how ebola is still affecting the country.  While the virus is largely contained in the United States, it has shut down some schools and businesses in West Africa.

DRTC Executive Director Connie Thrash McGoodwin also addressed attendees.  She said, “No special child anywhere should be taunted with name calling and have to dodge rocks thrown by children without disabilities,” adding, “We need advocates… to help spread the word for My Heart’s Appeal.”

Shepherd's Staff Award winners Allen and Nancy Williams.
Shepherd’s Staff Award winners Allen and Nancy Williams.

The Shepherd’s Staff Award was given to Allen and Nancy Williams.  The award was designed and created at DRTC-owned Prism Place.  Several others received awards for their contributions and work with MHA.

DRTC had a major presence at the event:

  • Prism Place clients assembled and disassembled awards to demonstrate the skill needed to complete such tasks.

    Mike and Darrell demonstrate how to assemble trophies at Prism Place.
    Mike and Darrell demonstrate how to assemble trophies at Prism Place.
  • Wyman Frame was on site installing MHA portraits into frames built by DRTC clients.

    Waneta explains the frame making process at Wyman Frame with an attendee.
    Waneta explains the frame making process at Wyman Frame with an attendee.
  • Freshly baked pizzas were provided by DRTC-owned Papa Murphy’s near NW 23rd and Pennsylvania in Oklahoma City.
Julie stands with her sign posted in DRTC-owned Papa Murphy's.
Julie stands with her sign posted in DRTC-owned Papa Murphy’s.

For more information on My Heart’s Appeal, click here.

To learn more about Dale Roger’s Training Center, click here.

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