A 97 Year Project Supporting Physically and Health Impaired Children
One cause in particular truly defines the passion and depth of commitment for the members of the Rotary Club of Sacramento. For nearly 100 years, the club has provided consistent support to physically and health impaired children in the Sacramento area. For over 25 years, the Rotary Club’s annual Bert Chappell Golf Tournament has provided support to these children. The tournament was renamed Golf 4 Kids in 2005 and continues to be a major funding source, providing approximately $40,000 in support each year for programs at local schools, and now, for our first time, non-profits within the community with a similar focus on positively impacting children of similar circumstance.
Rotary funds have provided a variety of improvements such as specialized computers, keyboards, and communication devices. In recent years there has been a significant need for wheelchairs of various types – some operated merely by head movements, for example.
Join us in helping fund the various physical and technology aids for health impaired children
Funding the Various Physical & Technological Aids for Health Impaired Children
Today’s students have varying needs. Many have multiple disabilities, including spina bifida and palsy, making communication and mobility a tremendous challenge. Some are able to communicate only through gesturing or pointing. These varying needs require an array of physical and technological aids to enable the children to participate in therapy and educational classes.
This remarkable record of long-term, uninterrupted service began on April, 22, 1922, under the presidency of Dr. Walter Taylor. A group of doctors, all members of the Rotary Club of Sacramento, got together with Eugene Benjamin, “Doc” Keating and Ernie Chappell and undertook a program to provide medical services, braces and other mechanical aids necessary for the rehabilitation of orthopedically challenged children. Most of the funds required to operate the program were provided by donations from Rotary Club of Sacramento members. Rotarian Gus Wilson, a surgeon, was credited with supervising the medical work during this period.
Their established policy of not charging for their professional services enabled the group to rehabilitate 167 physically and health impaired children during the first 7 years of the project at a cost of only $36,000. Along the way, the group documented each child’s progress from a condition of helplessness to one of self-control and mobility. These Rotarians had an enlightened view of the need for additional services. Over the years, the program was expanded to include the provision of such services as dietary supplementation, musical instruction, camping, opportunity for expanded life experiences and Olympic-style competition.
Recognizing education as a vital element in the healing and rehabilitation of the whole child, a classroom at 9th and Q Streets was “borrowed” from the City while the Rotary Club of Sacramento provided the teacher. In a cooperative effort, off-duty city firemen transported the students to and from classes in a bus donated by yet another local group.
Working Day to Day to Improve the Lives of the Physically and Health Impaired
In 1926, through legislation promoted by Rotarian Ernie Chappell and supported and sponsored by the Rotary Club of Sacramento, it was possible for the local school district to furnish education for these youngsters. The program eventually evolved into the Bowling Green School for the Orthopedically Handicapped, as part of the City School System. Facilities at 4211 Turnbridge Road were modern and the atmosphere busy and cheerful. Teachers, therapists, aides and office staff members were enthusiastic and dedicated to their young students. The school was later known as Bowling Green Charter Complex, a charter school consisting of six departments, one of which was the Center for the Physically and Health Impaired.