Community Shows Heart of a Champion at Olympics-Themed Event
In keeping with this year’s theme, “The Heart of a Champion”, Haring Center community members and supporters were true champions, helping the 2018 auction raise a record $800,000. Over 550 guests attended the event at the Haring Center on Saturday May 12th and raised their paddles in support of inclusive education.
Michael Ronan was named this year’s Haring Center “Champion for Inclusion” for his continued work on inclusion at Microsoft, Starbucks, and Ernst & Young, and his roles on the Special Olympics Washington and 2018 Special Olympics USA boards. He was a key player in bringing the USA Games to Seattle and the University of Washington in July, 2018. Michael spoke about the importance of early intervention for children with disabilities and the need for employers to create inclusive companies. “Employers have a critical role in supporting different abilities. You will receive more from serving others than what you put in. That’s a good return on investment in anyone’s book.”
Virginia Wade, a former student of the Haring Center’s Experimental Education Unit (EEU), and member of Team Washington at the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games, was the event’s featured speaker. Her speech, “I love being me,” brought down the house. Her inspirational story detailing how she began her journey at the Haring Center and her subsequent academic and athletic accomplishments – many of which doctors said she would not be capable to complete – was the highlight of the night. Virginia is the third EEU alum to speak at the Haring Center auction.
This year marked the 17th annual Haring Center auction. Event proceeds support the Haring Center’s research, training and education services for the Seattle community and beyond. This special event is an opportunity for supporters of inclusive education and early learning to get together, celebrate and support a local, innovative organization that has a far-reaching footprint in inclusive education. In 2017 alone, the Haring Center trained 2,900 educators, professionals and leaders in inclusive education in seven different countries.
As usual, attendees of this year’s auction went all-out in the spirit of the theme, wearing athletic outfits inspired by ancient Grecian Olympics right up through the most recent winter games at Pyeongchang - all guests and volunteers showed their “Heart of a Champion.” Thank you all for your support!