November 2017 Local Spotlight: The Mr. Strong Foundation
Written by #HeliumRadio on November 22, 2017
Today on the Helium Radio Network, we’re going to bring our local community to light. So much of who we market to, network with and promote on the airwaves are local businesses, artists, actors, the arts and more. Our worldwide audience even loves local content local to us because it drives the passion for the arts and business. In other words, just because something isn’t local to you doesn’t mean the message can’t be applied to you if you’re living in Europe or a different time zone. For this month’s highlight, we got to know the Mr. Strong Foundation.
The Mr. Strong Foundation
The Mr. Strong Foundation is an IRS-qualified 501(c)3 non-profit organization registered in Florida. Their mission is something to be admired by the world of special needs families. Founder and President, Michelle Morales, feels very passionate about their mission. She herself is a special needs mom and living her non-profit’s mission gives her a feeling that is in her words, “indescribable.” Their mission is to fundraise and provide that funding for therapy for special needs children.
They have been going strong–no pun intended–for 5 years now. Over that time, the all-volunteer-based foundation has helped 55 special needs children in the Tampa Bay area. The foundation team consists of 6 core members and 15 regular volunteers. They range across the board: college students, therapists, teachers, and parents of kids who want to help. The foundation is a strict no-judgment zone. Everyone on the team is on the same page at events and in the office. They don’t let anything negative or judgmental keep them down.
Because allotted healthcare special needs therapies would be eaten up quickly, the Mr. Strong Foundation alleviates the stress by providing those funds directly to the providers as a way to continue special needs therapies. Each child is granted $1,250 from the foundation, which helps therapies last for several months, on average. More funds raised means more assistance to special needs children.
About The Founding Family
The President and Founder of the Mr. Strong Foundation is Michelle Morales, pictured left with her 8-year old son Landon. Morales graduated from USF with her degree in English, specializing in technical writing. She always had natural aspirations to give back. When she gave birth to Landon, she expected to go back to her formal position at FOX 13. When that wasn’t the case, she let her heart lead her to found the Mr. Strong Foundation.
Landon is the man of the hour who lets nothing stand in his way of a positive and joyful life. Landon has cerebral palsy, a seizure disorder, cystic fibrosis, Autism, is visually impaired and g-tube fed. Most recently, he was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis only 2 years ago. Still, as illustrated in the pictures below, this second grader is smiling all the time. His outlook on life is what allows him to remain strong, thanks to his wonderful upbringing. Most notably, Landon threw the first pitch at the Rays game on Sept. 20th, 2017 against the Cubs to Evan Longoria!
2017 — A Gap Year
2017 was indeed a gap year in terms of fundraising and giving. She explained it was a much-needed time to refocus on their goals, network and take care of Landon. Michelle happily stated that 2018 will be a strong year. She estimated between 4 and 6 children will be helped each quarter as a result of fundraising and their efforts.
Even as a gap year, the Mr. Strong Foundation has had events. There’s one more event coming up in December. From 10 am to 12 pm on December 10th, the foundation will be participating in the Great Connections Holiday Event at the Great Explorations Children’s museum. For this event, Great Explorations Children’s Museum will open early for children with special needs and their families to enjoy Great Connections, a sensory-friendly event. Great Explorations will close to the public, offer discounted admission and provide a “cool down” room for families who need to take a break.” — Source: Great Explorations
Previously, the Mr. Strong Foundation had an event in downtown St. Pete called “Run Around With The Rowdies.” Family members and their children were about to play games and enjoy food and fun times with members of the Rowdies soccer team.
Fundraising comes primarily from fundraisers such as the recent lip-sync battle at the Ritz Ybor and a 90’s party, which also took place at the Ritz Ybor.
In The Future
Michelle mentioned that 2018 is going to be a strong year with more events coming soon. Stay tuned to their website calendar. They would love to do a gala event so if you know of anyone, please reach out to Michelle!
Thank you for your attention!