GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The new Special Olympics Michigan campus in West Michigan continues to grow. On Tuesday, Disability Advocates of Kent County officially announced it's moving its headquarters onto their campus.
A fundraising campaign raised $1.75 million over several months for the move, a large portion of the organization's $2.5 million goal. The capital campaign is co-chaired by Cameron Young, who has been with DAKC for more than a decade.
For Young, Disability Advocates isn't just a place he's worked. It helped change his life.
"I acquired a disability in 2007," says Young. "Dove into the water and had a spinal chord injury."
Now, he's helping it change the lives of others.
"I wanted to get involved and help support others that maybe weren't as lucky or fortunate as I was," he says.
Disability Advocates will move into the Special Olympics campus in the old South Christian High School building, sharing it with several other organizations and opening itself up to better helping the community.
"The building itself will be accessible, which is something we don't have now," says Young.
And for executive director Dave Bulkowski, the goal is it will boost the organization's visibility.
"One of the worst things I hear is oh, I wish I heard of you two years ago or five years ago," says Bulkowski. "Now my hope is people will say I've heard of you, and they know to call us."
A new home accessibility showroom, the first in the region, will let people with disabilities explore how to retrofit their homes for more independent living. The move will even save the agency on rent, meaning that extra money can be used in other ways.
"100% back into programming," explains Bulkowski. "As I like to say, right back to the front door."
Both men are grateful for the generosity of the community funding the move.
But for Young, the support means that much more.
"It definitely is close to my heart," he says. "It's just something I'm really proud to associate myself with."
DAKC estimates they'll be in the new location in April 2022.
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