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September Porchin’: Porch with a purpose

Photography by Lisa Staff

Each month, a very generous couple hosts an event that has become known to Special Olympians and their families as “Sparkleberry Parties.” The homeowners want to make a difference for these athletes so, with the help of SOAR Special Recreation, they open their homes up every month for a pool party. The guests get to unwind on the porch while everyone swims, plays lawn games and dances up a storm. Even with a little bad weather at the most recent celebration, no one was deterred from coming out to enjoy sodas, pizza, and most importantly, the great company.

SOAR Special Recreation is a nonprofit organization that facilitates these social events, recreational activities, and works to engage individuals with disabilities in our local community. Kathy Cramer and Julie Harrison operate SOAR without any government funding but are able to serve more than 500 athletes in the Lowcountry through generous donations and sponsorships.

In this photo, guests include the hosts (baby Piper with her grandparents and yellow Labs Luke and Marley), Special Olympians Will Dennington, Marcus Smith, Kayonna Simmons and Kris Brown. SOAR Executive Director Kathy Cramer (in the denim jacket) said, “The parties at Sparkleberry have been life-changing for our athletes and have taught me that donations can come in many forms, but they all come from the heart. No money can buy the experience our participants get when they spend time socializing with typical peers and the pride their parents feel watching them from the porch.”

Susan and Ed Forbes open their beautiful home each month for Sparkleberry Parties. The couple is shown with their granddaughter, Piper; their dogs, Luke and Marley; and friends Kris Brown, Will Dennington, Kathy Cramer, Marcus Smith and Kayonna Simmons.

Fake it or make it?

Who said fancy drinks need to be difficult to make? Jazz up a carton of strawberry lemonade with fresh fruit and a glass pitcher. Just make sure you hide the carton before your guests arrive.

How sweet it is

Add fun for kids with bright candies served in old-fashioned candy or apothecary jars. For added fun, the mixed-color licorice pieces are straws, which didn’t last long!