October 2, 2013

by: Emily Hastings

Friends of UCP Committee

Made up by a group of enthusiastic young professionals, the Friends of UCP Committee is dedicated to raising funds and awareness for UCP of Greater Cleveland. These junior board members serve as advocates for the organization in addition to helping identify new prospects and sources of funding.

The Friends Committee began in January 2012 with only five members, hoping to engage the growing number of young professionals in Northeast Ohio. The group has continued to grow, both with members and ideas. The committee now consists of eight young professionals, all with diverse backgrounds and interests.

“I have met several people through UCP,” says Cami Thompson, ‎a founding member of the Friends Committee and SEVIS Coordinator at Case Western Reserve University. “Though we’re all from different backgrounds, we all bring passion and good ideas to the table.  I love the idea that we can come from any industry and still be really involved in the Friends Committee.”

Ken Prabucki, an attorney at BakerHostetler and one of the committee’s new members, said that he joined the Friends Committee because he believes he has an obligation to give back to the community where he grew up.

“I have an older brother who is both mentally and physically handicapped,” says Prabucki. “Having experienced firsthand the joys and challenges associated with having a family member with a disability, the Friends of UCP Committee presented a perfect opportunity for me to get involved with an organization committed to bettering the lives of individuals like my brother.”

One major role of the Friends Committee is coordinating events, both fundraising events and special events for the clients.  The Friends Committee has chosen the Community Employment Program as its focus group. This year the committee will organize the 2nd Annual Community Employment Holiday Party, attended by clients and their families.

The committee also hosts a Browns Tailgate fundraiser in the fall. This year’s fundraiser brought in over $2,500, which will help UCP deliver the most beneficial and up-to-date services to over 1,600 children and adults with disabilities in the Greater Cleveland community.

“My favorite part of being a part of this committee is the dedication of its members,” says Prabucki. “It would be easy for a committee of young professionals to get caught up in their numerous other obligations, or see involvement with the organization as simply a résumé builder, but that’s not the case here. The members take their duties seriously and spend considerable time raising awareness and resources for UCP.”

“It’s been wonderful to see the group come into its own,” adds Thompson.

If you are interested in learning more about the Friends of UCP Committee, please contact Emily Hastings at 216-791-8363 ext. 1232 or email ehastings@ucpcleveland.org.


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