It's an umbrella organization that oversees three other groups serving local children in need and not enough people know about them or what they do. That's about to change for the Children with Disabilities Foundation as we "Pay It Forward."
Lana Gonzales is the president of the foundation. It was established in 2006 to serve our community, but she's only been serving as head of the board since January 2016. She said everything changed when her daughter was diagnosed with autism. That's when she got involved.
"She's my inspiration and my motivation," said Gonzales.
Fifteen members sit on the board with varying responsibilities.
"We'll always take volunteers too," said Gonzales.
Many community volunteers like Cheryl Lynch with the Piece by Piece Foundation and Holly Giglio who accompanied Gonzales for this interview.
"It really is a unification of moms that just wanted to make a difference for their kids and dedicate hours and hours of volunteering to make a difference for our community," said Gonzales.
The nonprofit foundation has three other organizations underneath it. Field of Angels is a special needs baseball team. Bikes for Kids provides adaptable bikes for kids with disabilities. And Piece by Piece focuses on autism awareness in our community.
They just finished their parent empowerment retreat which provides information and resources for parents to learn more about their child's disability and also to connect with other parents.
Our interview was interrupted as Kory Carling with Mountain America Credit Union walked up to shake hands.
"Lana, how are you?" said Carling.
"Good," said Gonzales.
"Good. I'm Kory with Mountain America Credit Union."
"Hi," said Gonzales.
"How are you today?" said Carling.
"Good," said Gonzales.
"Good. Your organization has brought so many smiles to the many children in our community," said Carling.
"Yes," said Gonzales.
"And I am here today to "Pay It Forward,"" said Carling
"Wow!" said Gonzales.
"So I've brought with me today," said Carling reaching in an envelope.
"Wow!" repeated Gonzales.
"$500 in cash that I know you can use toward your organization and the children," said Carling.
"We absolutely can. Thank you so much!" said Gonzales.
"It's my pleasure," said Carling.
"Thank you," said Gonzales.
"Thank you for all that you do," said Carling.
"Thank you. Wow! Thanks," repeated Gonzales.
"You're welcome," said Carling.
"You didn't know?" asked Eyewitness News Anchor Todd Kunz.
"I did not know. Wow. Yeah! More families to help. So exciting," said Gonzales.
Summer is their busy time. Registration for Field of Angels is now underway. Bikes for Kids is coming up June 11 at Snake River Landing. All proceeds go to buying bikes for the children in need, and depending on the severity of those needs, some bikes can go for $2,200.
The foundation is in the process of getting more digital exposure. They are working on a website right now to get noticed more, but they do have a Facebook page. Just search for Children with Disabilities Foundation, Inc.
"Pay It Forward" airs the second Wednesday and Thursday of every month. If you know of a nonprofit organization or someone who deserves to be recognized for their contributions to the area, click on "Pay It Forward" on the right side of our website and fill out the form, or send an email to Eyewitness News anchor Todd Kunz at firstname.lastname@example.org.