Mom Makes UCP Mission Her Personal Goal After Receiving Support for Son

Melanie Patterson spends much of her time working for individuals with disabilities. Whether it’s with her son, or through her extensive volunteering with the United Cerebral Palsy, she is determined to help UCP reach the goal of making the community a place where all can participate.

            Patterson acknowledges she knew hardly anything about UCP’s mission or the services it provided until her son Marc was deemed eligible for their Birth to Three Program. During this time, UCP therapists visited the Patterson household and provided the family with technologies and strategies in an encouraging, patient and compassionate manner. “We do not know what we would have done those first few challenging years without the support of UCP and all the incredible people on Marc’s team,” Patterson admits.

            Now eight years old, Patterson’s son Marc receives valuable support through UCP Youth Resources and Respite Programs. Patterson believes these programs especially helped their family during the complex situation they faced of having a child with special needs in a day care environment. Marc continues to receive that care during the day, giving the Patterson family a regular break. According to Patterson, “it’s a chance for us to catch our breath while knowing Marc is in great hands and having fun at home.”

            Now aware that UCP has continued services for teens and adults, Patterson wants to share the piece of mind she has received with the rest of the community of people living with disabilities. “Based on our family’s experiences with UCP as consumers, and because of the impact I know UCP makes on so many families,” Patterson says, “I want to do all that I can to contribute to UCP’s strong mission and commitment to individuals with disabilities.”

            Patterson is certainly doing her part to achieve UCP’s mission of understanding disabilities, creating opportunities and promoting community. After five years of volunteering, she is a current board member and is active on the program and executive committees. Patterson spends a lot of time working on UCP’s significant fundraisers: working the Taste of Madison and the signature Annual Celebrity Banquet and Auction.

            Patterson greatly enjoys working the events, and makes them as much fun for herself and her family and friends. During her several years of staffing beer stands at the Taste of Madison, Patterson has worn buttons wit her son’s picture, hoping to encourage people to give tips, 100 percent of which go to UCP.

            At the signature Celebrity Banquet, Patterson closes the silent auction at the end of an energetic evening. All of the proceeds from the event are dedicated to the children, youth and family programs UCP offers. Patterson recommends this event especially, because as she puts it, “Where else might you have the opportunity to be waited on by a UW football player, news anchor or local celebrities?”

            Aside from encouraging people to attend UCP events, Patterson hopes more people will become involved with the organization that has become a staple in her life. She truly believes that UCP is a great asset to Madison. Aside from extending its reach through Dane County and beyond, she feels it has the ability to “weave its services into the fabric of the community and offers supports” in various areas for all who participate in the community.

“By inviting collaborative partnerships and volunteer opportunities, UCP can dedicate over 90 percent of its agency annual budget to direct, local services,” she says. Patterson herself shows how UCP lets people have fun while making a difference. Most importantly though, she demonstrates how UCP helps make the Madison community better for both volunteers and recipients of its services.

The United Cerebral Palsy's 25th Annual Celebrity Banquet and Auction is on Saturday, February 18, 2012 at 5:30p at the Blackhawk Country Club. Tickets are available online, and all proceeds benefit UCP - Dane County. Visit ucpdane.org to learn more and purchase tickets.

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