ROCKWALL (February 6, 2014) Teaching students who have a disability has been one of my greatest joys; however, one frustration I have not been able to accommodate and overcome is being able to assist my students with physical disabilities to be more mobile and independent.
Recently, I learned of a nonprofit organization called AMBUCS (American Business Clubs), which originated in 1922. William White ofValdosta,GA, an engineer, dreamed of creating a national service organization for young business professionals, but he lacked the funding to get it off the ground. Surprisingly, turpentine played a role in making his dream a reality, and led to creating mobility and independence for people with disabilities.
At the time, Valdosta, GAwas at the heart of the turpentine industry. Cups were used to gather crude resin from long-leaf pines. The resin was distilled and turpentine and rosin were produced. Through the sale of two million turpentine cups, White founded the first American Business Club and began his dream of making a difference. The AMBUCS motto, “Shoulders Together,” was soon adopted, and it remains today. Every meeting of AMBUCS has always and will always open with a prayer. Members perform community service and provide AmTryke therapeutic tricycles to children, adults and veterans who unable to operate traditional bikes. They also award scholarships to therapists.
Proudly, Lakesideis the newest charter in the AMBUCS family, and what is more exciting is that they are already receiving generous donations from such business owners as Steve and Barbara Jackson of Toyota of Rockwall. According to Deanna Allison, who works in the public relations department forToyota, the dealership has donated more than $5,000 dollars to AMBUCS. Deanna also stated that theJacksonswere impressed with this amazing organization and wanted to assist by helping others who could not help themselves to become more independent and mobile.
Because of generous donations, Lakeside AMBUCS was able to donate Amtrykes to two local boys last fall, during a special fundraising event atToyota. Most recently, a Rockwall ISD student received an Amtryke during an event at Texas Land & Cattle at Bass Pro Shops. According to theLakesidechapter’s website, over 75-100 amtrykes are given away annually as well as $250,000 in scholarships to therapists.
“We meet every third Tuesday to discuss upcoming events,” said Pete Nielsen, Lakeside AMBUCS division president. He encourages others to join the Rockwall area chapter. Those interested may call 972-978-2127 or connect with Membership Committee Chair Dorothy Spradlin. To learn more, visit lakesideambucs.org.
By Blue Ribbon News special contributor Kristie Smith, a teacher for the blind. She authored a series of novels about a blind girl detective, and has written more than 15 activity books for children with special needs.