Fun in the Sun for EVERYONE 2018!

Laurin Rivers

There are few things in life that inspire joy more than smiling faces at the beach. When those smiling faces belong to people of every age and every ability, all having fun together, the joy is truly indescribable.

This was exactly the scene I had the pleasure of witnessing on June 7th at Pockets Full of Sunshine’s 4th Annual Fun in the Sun for Everyone inclusive beach day. I have been in the unique position of attending this event all four years, watching it grow from just 25 participants to over 200 this year. The sun shines brighter and the joy gets bigger each year!


Pockets Full of Sunshine hosts the day of fun with the intent to bring the community together and provide a truly inclusive experience. Our belief is that everyone benefits when we all come together, those with and without disabilities. Looking around during the event you can literally see the benefits. New friendships are made in the sand, fears are conquered as a timid swimmer wades into the ocean holding hands with a volunteer, laughter is in abundance as a new surfer experiences their first ‘wipeout’, tears are shed as parents watch their children of all ages get to have fun just like everyone else. Magic happens at the beach, and this was certainly a day full of it.


Special Thank You to our planning committee Annie Bartholomew, Lindsay Finger, Hilary Groff, and Brian Kinard and our wonderful volunteers and sponsors who help make the day possible: 

Agapi Behavioral Consultants; Ameris Bank; Apple Appliances; Bluffton Veterinary Hospital; Brackett Photography; Century 21 Diamond Realty; Coastal Marketing; Core Pilates; Crescent Moon Pictures; DJ Crush, Feiner Electric; Finger, Melnick and Brooks, PA; Forest Beach Surf and Cycle; Go Surf Hilton Head; Hilton Head Outfitters; Hilton Head Preparatory; HHCA Zonta Club; H2O Water Sports; Hudson's; Island Printer; James L Van Grouw, CPA; Kinghorn Insurance; Leftover Ladies; Lighthouse Realty; Low Country Shelving and Glass; Louette Boutique; Lynes on Design; Marriott Surf Watch; Native Son Adventure; Northern Industrial Manufacturing; Osprey Village; Outside Hilton Head; Palmetto Electric; Quiet Storm Surf Shop; Reebok Crossfit Coastal Carolina; Reno Pro Construction; Spencer Special Events; Suntrust Bank; Sunny Daze; Transportation Safety Apparel; Tree Wisemen; Unfettered; Walgreens 


Mother's Day Market and a Lowcountry Craft

Laurin Rivers

Our Rays have been working hard over the last year to create several annual crafts that are sure to be crown pleasers. Our sweet little recycled tree branch garden gnomes have been a big hit over the last two years, particularly the holiday version. The gnomes have become our yearly winter craft but we were still in search of the perfect summer version to accompany it.

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This year we were asked by our wonderful friends and supporters at the Wexford Village to participate in their Mother's Day Market, 'A Celebration of Women' to kick off the holiday and the opening of their summer Market. We knew we needed a great new craft product that would be beloved by the market goers and would be sure to make a special Mother's Day gift. 

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Once again, we took our inspiration from nature and the beauty of our lowcountry landscape and decided to try a new craft with Oyster shells!

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The Rays had a blast creating these one of a kind mini oyster paintings and they loved the fact that just like us, no two are just alike! Like our gnomes, this craft presented a perfect opportunity for Rays of varying fine motor abilities to work together. We find that working with your friends is always the most fun way to create!     

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The paintings sold so well that we have decided to make them our official summer craft! Be on the lookout for them (in two sizes!) at local events this summer and contact us if you are unable to attend but would like to own one of your own!  

2018 CRF Sporting Clays Shoot

Laurin Rivers

This year marked the 7th Annual CRF Sporting Clays Shoot and lucky number seven it was indeed! We had a fantastic event! The sometimes unpredictable March weather was beautiful, the barbecue was tasty, the auction was busy, the smiles and laughs were plentiful and many a sporting clay was demolished mid-air! 

Thank you to all of our participants, volunteers and sponsors who helped to make this annual fundraiser a smashing success! 

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Night to Shine 2018!

Laurin Rivers

In February our Rays participated in a very special evening sponsored by the Tim Tebow foundation, A Night to Shine. 

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Night to Shine is a prom night experience for individuals of all ages with special needs. Attendees are treated like royalty during the evening! The ladies are pampered with hair and makeup to compliment their dressy attire. There are photo booths, a catered meal, limo rides and of course dancing galore! 

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Night to Shine is a national event with locations all over, visit their website for your closest location! Our closest local event is right down the road in Beaufort, SC. PFS took a bus full of adults and volunteers who all had the time of their lives! Attending and volunteering at this event are truly life changing!


We can't wait for next year! 

Friday Night Club: Sunshine Socials!

Laurin Rivers

Last year we were fortunate enough to receive yet another generous grant from the Long Cove Charitable Advisory Committee. This wonderful group of individual donors has been so supportive of Pockets Full of Sunshine since our inception and were actually the first grant request we ever received! They helped us buy our beautiful blue sunshine tent years ago and it is still serving us well! 

Most recently, we went to Long Cove with a request for funding for a new Friday night social program. Our mission is two-fold, vocation and socialization. Our Sunday craft sessions and Thursdays at TSA are helping fulfill the vocational aspect of our mission, and although both of these programs are socially inclusive, we wanted to add a program that was all about fun and being together socially. After all, learning social constructs and getting out in the community is certainly just as important if not more so than learning a vocational skill!


Long Cove was kind enough to grant our request, and the church generously offered us space, and now we have Friday Night Club!

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Our Rays come on Friday evenings from 6-9 to participate in a variety of fun activities that are planned and facilitated by our wonderful friends Danielle and Alex. Every other Friday the Rays go out into the community where they do a variety of fun activities; movies, plays, putt putt, dinner in a restaurant, frozen yogurt, a concert etc.

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On the opposite Fridays they participate in activities within the church; kareoke night, pizza and a movie, board games, craft projects, preparing their own meal, etc. 


Everyone LOVES Friday's and the Rays are learning and growing so much in their relationships with one another and the community. 

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Friday Nights also offer a break for parents and caregivers which is so necessary and not always easy to find. 

We have loved adding this program and look forward to it's future! If you are interested in volunteering or know an adult who would like to attend, check out our monthly schedules on the Upcoming Events page! 

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

Laurin Rivers

Happy Holidays from Pockets Full of Sunshine! 

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Wow, what a fantastic year it has been here at PFS, we can hardly believe it is coming to a close so quickly! This year brought lots of growth for Pockets Full of Sunshine and the adults we serve.


Our Clay Shoot fundraiser grew, becoming our best attended and most profitable event to date. Our Surf Event grew, with even more volunteer help and over 200 attendees! Our programming grew, expanding to include Thursdays and Fridays. Our attendance at local events grew as we added the Wednesday Wexford Market to our repertoire. Our number of Rays grew as we met and included many special new friends throughout the year. 

This past year, and all of our growth would not have been possible without the love and support of our local community. Thank you to the foundations who have generously supported us through grant funding; Long Cove, Wexford and First Presbyterian Church. Thank you to the companies and families who have generously done the same through private donations, most recently the Izant family, the Spangler family and Northern Industrial Manufacturing. Thank you to all of our wonderful volunteers who were recognized with special holiday gifts made by our Rays. Thank you to everyone who supports us through event attendance and sponsorship and gives so freely of their time to help us keep things running smoothly like James L Van Grouw, LLC and Graphic Designer Hilary Kerr. Thank you to the local businesses who are embodying inclusivity and helping us realize our mission such as Branches Designs and Transportation Safety Apparel. Pockets Full of Sunshine could not be what it is without each of you and with your continued belief and support we look forward to even more growth in 2018!  

On that note, we want to highlight our final community event of the year and the spirited new craft we showcased! 


The Rays attended the Village of Wexford Holiday Market to kick off the holiday season and wind down the year at PFS. The Market included a gingerbread trail, pictures with Santa and of course our signature blue Pockets Full of Sunshine tent full of festive adults showcasing their wares.

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During craft sessions the adults had turned our sunshines over to create "snowflake cards" rather than our signature recycled "sunshine cards" which were pretty adorable, but our best seller was their special seasonal project; Holiday Gnomes!


Inspired by the garden gnomes they created from the limbs downed by Hurricane Matthew last year, the Rays created a collection of Holiday themed gnomes. This years collection included Santas, Mrs. Claus's, Elves, Reindeer and Angels and boy were they a hit! 


Aren't they cute? As with each of our gnomes, the Rays not only painted and embellished them, but also gave each gnome a name and bio to describe their unique personalities.


Much to the delight of the adults, these darlings sold out at the market! But don't fret if you wish you had snagged a few of your own, we plan to make these a yearly seasonal product! The adults are already dreaming up new designs for next year so be on the lookout! 


Thank you again to all of our friends and supporters for a wonderful year. You are so very appreciated and your giving throughout the year is especially celebrated during the holidays as it is the "reason for the season". Happy Holidays to all, see you in 2018!  


A very special Sunday with the HHCA Z Club!

Laurin Rivers

Last year Pockets Full of Sunshine received a generous donation from the Hilton Head Christian Academy Z Club, an incredible service club for high school girls. 

To thank them for their generosity we invited the Z Club to come participate in a Sunday crafting session and spend some quality time with the adults. The Rays were so excited to spend time with the Z Club girls and show them what Sunday's were all about! 

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Last Sunday the day was finally here and we had a roster of fun activities planned! After introducing themselves to each other, the Z Club girls and the adults paired off to create an adorable No Sew Snowman craft!


Once the group was finished crafting they got into the holiday spirit by decorating Christmas Cookies! 

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After we were finished crafting and snacking we had a special surprise in store for the Z Club. The adults had created a one of a kind palm frond fish in the Christian Academy colors! The fish highlights what the adults do each Sunday, craft using recycled materials, and was a special Thank You to the Z Club for their donation! The girls loved their fish and promised to find a special place to hang it at HHCA.

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Little did we know a member of the club had an even bigger surprise in store for us! Chloe and Natalie Izant took the opportunity to present Pockets Full of Sunshine with an extremely generous donation from the Izant Family Foundation! 


We were absolutely blown away and are so thankful to both the Izant family and the HHCA Z Club. We look forward to many more collaborations and fun times to come! 

New Adventures: Transportation Safety Apparel Partnership

Laurin Rivers

This summer we embarked upon an exciting new adventure with an outstanding local business, Transportation Safety Apparel. 

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TSA specializes in reflective safety gear, (think what you see road construction and flight crews wearing) but also produces all types of screen printing, heat pressing and embroidery needs. They are a small business with some big clients (like Delta and Pepsi!) and some not so big clients, like us! TSA has previously provided the t-shirts and hats we have used at our various events and fundraisers. This summer TSA approached us about coming into their business and working each week! What an amazing opportunity, and one that is helping us reach our goal of meaningful employment for our adults! 


John, the owner, has a big heart and big vision. He believes that having Pockets Full of Sunshine in his workplace not only helps our adults find purpose and our local community, but also helps create a culture of kindness within his company. This is a vision we hope to see many business owners adopt when it comes to employing those with special needs. 


The staff at TSA could not be more kind, welcoming and overall wonderful to work with! Each week we take a group of Rays into TSA with a job coach to complete administrative tasks. We file:

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We shred:

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We "pick orders" which means we count out and un-package items so that they are ready to be printed:  

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And the Ray's favorite, we screen print and heat press! Special thanks to Bob, who is patiently teaching us these new skills! 

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The possibilities of this partnership are limitless but one of our goals is for the adults to be able to procure orders and complete the entire process independently! We are on our way there as we have already completed an order and several re-orders from our favorite local band, The Nice Guys! 

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If you are interested in placing an order contact us today! We look forward to the future of this exciting partnership! 

Wednesdays at the Wexford Market

Laurin Rivers

This summer we were invited by the Village of Wexford to participate in their new Wednesday Market! We had previously participated in the Bluffton Farmer's Market on Thursday afternoons so we couldn't wait to spread the sunshine and add a second regular market to our roster! Our adults were so excited for the opportunity and absolutely loved working the market under our signature blue sunshine tent! 


We sold a variety of Sunshine Products including our signature cards and stationary.


As well as our Garden Gnomes! The Garden Gnomes are extra special works of art created by the Rays. The Gnomes are made of fallen tree limbs from Hurricanes Matthew and Irma and they allowed the Rays the chance to make something beautiful out of the devastation the storm caused to our beautiful island. The Gnomes were dreamed up by a 12-year-old volunteer who had a great time teaching the Rays how to paint them!

The adults spent time not only creating the Gnomes but also naming them and coming up with their backstories and personalities. How cute are they? 


The best part of the Wednesday market? Spreading awareness and meeting new friends each time our adults attended! Thank you Wexford Village for this great opportunity! We look forward to participating in your holiday market and next summer! 

Fun in the Sun for Everyone 2017!

Laurin Rivers

In June we held our 3rd annual Fun in the Sun for Everyone! Fun in the Sun is our inclusive beach event for individuals with special needs, their families and friends. Individuals of all ages and abilities are invited to enjoy beach games and activities, snacks and fun with friends, all free of charge and in a welcoming and inclusive environment. 

This year's event was our largest yet with over 200 participants and volunteers! DJ Crush provided music and Emcee'd the event, Go Surf Hilton Head provided surf boards and Outside HHI provided Paddle Boards along with some outstanding instructors.

Special thanks to the following sponsors who made this year's event possible: Bluffton Veterinary Hospital, Coastal Marketing, Core Pilates, Crescent Moon Pictures, DJ Crush, Feiner Electric, Finger, Melnick and Brooks, Go Surf Hilton Head, Hudson's, James L Van Grouw, CPA, Kinghorn Insurance, Leftover Ladies, Low Country Shelving and Glass, Louettes Boutique, Lynes on Design, Northern Industrial Manufacturing, Osprey Village, Outside Hilton Head, Palmetto Electric, Publix, Spencer Special Events, Transportation Safety Apparel (TSA), Tree Wisemen, Unfettered, and Walgreens! 

Check out some of our favorite photos below and be sure to join us next year!

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2017 CRF Sporting Clays Shoot

Laurin Rivers

Wow! We are two weeks out from our annual Sporting Clays fundraiser and what a wonderful event it was! 

Just a few years ago, this fundraiser was started by our very own Carol Bartholomew and Fuzzy Davis who were happy to have four teams participate. Thanks to lots of community support and hard work the event has grown steadily and this year THIRTY teams gathered to shoot clays for a great cause on March 10th! 

The shoot took place at the historic Forest City Gun Club in Savannah, GA and the weather was perfect! 

Participants enjoyed a warm up 5 stand, a delicious lunch catered by Jim N Nicks BBQ, a safety clinic and exhibition featuring Forest City's own Zac Guerrattaz, the sporting clays shoot, a Yeti Cooler raffle and an awards reception to end the day in true celebratory fashion!

Attendees also got the chance to participate in a great silent auction and to purchase a variety of Sunshine Crafts made by our wonderful adults! The adults worked diligently for months to create one of a kind 'Sunshine Stick' garden art poles and 'garden gnomes' re-purposed from wood felled during Hurricane Matthew. They were extremely proud of their art and were thrilled that every Sunshine Stick and most of their gnome village found new homes that day!

In addition to our participants, we would like to extend a Special Thanks to the sponsors and committee who helped make this year's shoot a success:

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Thank you for helping us make this year's shoot a success! The annual shoot is Pockets Full of Sunshine's main source of funding and we are very grateful for everyone who sponsored and attended! We couldn't do what we do without you! 

If you weren't able to attend this year's shoot, we hope you'll join us next year! If you are interested in being added to the e-mail list for more information about next year's event, contact us today! 



Thank You Wexford Plantation Charitable Foundation!

Laurin Rivers

Recently Pockets Full of Sunshine was awarded $1,000 from the Wexford Plantation Charitable Foundation! We are so honored to count the Wexford Charitable Foundation as one of our local supporters and can't wait to put these funds to good use! 

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When our Rays begin a new craft project at Pockets Full of Sunshine we always try to incorporate as many recycled or re-purposed elements as we can. We have made creative use of old fabric scraps, which were sewn into bike covers or glued onto flower pins; we've used old bottle caps to make a beautiful collage on a discarded piece of scrap wood and most recently, we used fallen limbs from Hurricane Matthew to create garden art. Even our signature sunshine which makes its way onto every card, magnet or key chain, is itself a recycled piece of automotive plastic! As much as we love recycling, many craft projects include elements that must be purchased anew, like paint, glue and tape.

Pockets Full of Sunshine plans to use the grant from the Wexford Foundation towards the purchase of these necessary, non-recycled craft supplies. We can't wait to share the fun future art that is made possible through this funding! Thank you Wexford Foundation! We truly appreciate your giving hearts and gracious support!    

 2016 Grant Recipients 

2016 Grant Recipients 

Happy New Year from Pockets Full of Sunshine!

Laurin Rivers

Happy first day of 2017! We are excited to ring in the new year and look forward to everything 2017 will bring! 

We are already preparing for the annual 2017 Children's Relief Fund Clay Shoot benefiting Pockets Full of Sunshine! Each year we partner with CRF for this unique, fun event which will take place on Friday, March 10th in 2017. All proceeds from the shoot support our programming for adults with special needs. We hope you'll consider joining us this year to shoot a few clays and have a lot of fun! 


Click here to register!


Laurin Rivers

Wow, What a month we have had here on Hilton Head Island thanks to Hurricane Matthew! The last month has brought many changes for the beautiful island Pockets Full of Sunshine calls home, but as with any storm, it has also brought with it some sunny moments, our favorite of which was receiving a grant from the Long Cove Club Charitable Advisory Committee!

                                                            2016 Grant Recipients 

                                                           2016 Grant Recipients 

Last year, the Long Cove Club awarded Pockets Full of Sunshine our very first grant! They gave us money to purchase our beautiful blue PFS tent that we have since used at the Bluffton Farmers Market and our Fun in the Sun for Everyone event! 

                                              Our tent at the Bluffton Farmers Market 

                                             Our tent at the Bluffton Farmers Market 

Thank you Long Cove! We get compliments on our tent at every event we attend and we know it will be used to represent our adults with special needs in the community for many years to come!

This year, we again reached out to Long Cove with a need and once again, their heart and generosity amazed us! They awarded Pockets Full of Sunshine $1,400 to purchase our very own PFS Computer/Printer and Card Supplies!

One of the recycled craft projects our adults consistently create are Sunshine Greeting Cards. The cards started out like this:

And now look like THIS!

They have evolved to include sunny sayings and a message about the adults printed on the back, but until now, we have had to rely on outside printing sources. Thanks to the generosity of the Long Cove Charitable Advisory Committee and it's donors, this is no longer the case! We will be able to purchase our very own computer and printer which will not only save us money, but more importantly, it will teach the adults valuable skills as they learn to operate it! 

Thank you Long Cove from the bottom of our hearts! Your continued support and belief in our mission, Increasing community focused employment opportunities for adults with physical and intellectual disabilities, means the world! Not only is the generosity of your giving helping our adults, but each year we leave the grant awards ceremony feeling fulfilled and energized thanks to the genuine interest and kindness of your members! Thank you! 

What We've Been Up To Lately

Laurin Rivers

Fun in the Sun for Everyone! wasn't the only thing that kept us busy this summer. Our Rays of sun participated in all kinds of creative projects and fun events over the last few months. Check out a few of our new products, favorite activities and community events below!

As the school year wrapped up one of our supporters used our recycled sunshines to create "Box of Sunshine" end of the year teacher gifts! So creative! 

Our Rays created NEW sunshine stationary designs! 

A teacher friend came to PFS and our Rays helped her create bookmarks for her summer reading program! Awesome! 

We learned an awesome new craft technique and re-purposed some old mugs and small ceramics!

Which were the perfect accompaniment to our Sunshine Citrus Tea Bags, another new product! 

We celebrated the 4th of July with a patriotic sunshine craft using a recycled wood pallet! 

We had a vendor booth at the Bluffton Farmers Market several Thursdays this summer! Our Rays loved interacting with community members and we hope to have a booth several more times this Fall! Stay tuned to our social media accounts for dates! 

Our Rays painted some lovely birdhouses! One of our more popular crafts in the past! They go quickly! 

And last but certainly not least, our sunshines did some traveling! Our recycled sunshines went from Detroit to New York to the other side of the world in Thailand! Spreading the sun all around the world! 

What a great summer! Stay tuned for all the excitement to come as the weather cools down! 

Fun in the Sun 2016!

Laurin Rivers

Wow! What a great few months we have had here at PFS! Labor Day has come and gone and as summer comes to a close we have enjoyed looking back at our favorite summer event, Fun in the Sun for Everyone! 

This years event was a HUGE success! Our participation grew from around 20 in 2015 to over 100 in 2016! Amazing! 

With the support of our amazing sponsors we were able to offer surfing, paddleboarding, boogie boarding, beach games and more to special needs families all completely free of charge! It was a fantastic, inclusive, sunny day and fun was had by all! Check out some of our favorite photos from the event as well as a news clip by WTOC!! 

Special Thanks again to our outstanding sponsors; 

Crescent Moon Pictures - Hilary Kerr Graphic Design - Feiner Electric - 

Finger, Melnick & Brooks, PA - Go Surf Hilton Head - KingHorn Insurance - Louette Boutique -

Low Country Shelving & Glass - Lynes on Design - Northern Industrial Manufacturing -

Osprey Village - Outside Hilton Head - Palmetto Electric - Spencer Special Events -

Transportation Safety Apparel - Unfettered - Whole Foods Market


More on what else we've been up to this summer coming soon! 

Fun in the Sun for EVERYONE!

Laurin Rivers

Hope everyone had a nice Memorial Day! We have all been anxiously awaiting June 2nd and the day is almost here! It's almost time for Fun in the Sun for EVERYONE! 

We are so excited about this inaugural event and wanted to share a bit of history and some photos from last year to help you all get just as excited as we are! 

Last year, James, the 16 year old brother of one of our Rays decided that he wanted to do something special for his sister and her classmates. James is an avid surfer and thought his sister and her friends would enjoy having a chance to learn, something many of them had never had the opportunity to do. James gathered a few friends, a few surfboards and invited his sister and her class to the beach on their last day of high school! A day of fun and special friends trying something new ensued! Check out some of our favorite photos from last year below: 

PFS wanted to build on James's wonderful idea and decided to sponsor the first annual 'Fun in the Sun for EVERYONE! An inclusive day at the beach!' Our committee has been working extremely hard on the planning of this fabulous event and we have an amazing group of sponsors and volunteers who have helped to make the day possible! In case this is the first you are hearing of the event and are interested in attending, it is THIS THURSDAY! June 2nd, from 3-5 in front of the Marriott SurfWatch on Hilton Head Island. The event is FREE and open to all ages and abilities. Parking is at the SurfWatch and shuttles to the beach will be provided. We will have surf boards, paddle boards, beach games and a lot more! Come check it out and join in on the FUN! Hope to see you all there!  

Step Into Our Sunday!

Laurin Rivers

Hello! Hope that where ever you may be reading from today, the sun is shining! 

If you follow us on social media then you have probably seen some of our posts and pictures detailing our Sunday sessions. You may have thought, 'how fun! I wish I could come' (You can! Come any Sunday!) or you  may have thought 'This looks cool but their photography skills could use some work' (Hey! we're working on it, but if you like taking pictures and want to come photograph a session, come on down!) or perhaps you thought 'what in the heck are they doing?' in which case, read on, this post is for you! 

WHAT: Our current program is centered around crafting. Since the sunshine is a recycled material, we try to incorporate recycling and sustainability into as many of our craft products as possible. Craft projects often change every few weeks and there are usually several options for the adults to choose to work on during each session. Some of our past favorites include: bird houses, tissue paper votives and refurbishing bicycles! 

WHERE: We meet each Sunday at First Presbyterian Church on Hilton Head Island. They are kind enough to allow us the use of their 'creation station' craft room. Could that name be any better? I mean really. We are very thankful to have this wonderful, donated space that is such a perfect fit!

WHO: ANYONE is welcome to attend on a Sunday! We currently have 12 adults with various special needs who attend and that number is growing weekly! We always welcome new volunteers and participants! If you are interested in coming in any capacity at any time, please don't hesitate to contact us

WHEN: 1-3 weekly on Sundays excluding holidays and special events.

WHY:  Why do we do it? Read Here. Why should you join us? Easy! Because it's FUN, it's FREE and it will make your Sunday! We listen to music and develop relationships while we craft. Sunday sessions give caregivers a break (although many stay to help because it's just so fun!), give the adults a chance to learn and practice vocational skills and also give volunteers the chance to get to know an exceptional adult who will make their day (or life!) a little sunnier :) 

The pictures featured in this post are from last Sunday, we worked on sunshine cards, made key chains and painted beach scenes for a special upcoming project! 

Come check us out! You won't regret it! 


A Sunny Story...

Laurin Rivers

Hello world! We're so excited that you're here! We have discussed adding a blog to our website for a while now and are so happy to finally be taking the plunge! What better way to keep in touch, share sunny stories and spread the sunshine?!?

I'm Laurin, one of the co-founders of PFS and I guess the best way to start our very first blog post is with a brief history of Pockets Full of Sunshine (PFS) and where we are today!

My friend and partner Dayna and I started PFS in 2014. We both work in special education and could not love it more. The special students we teach are amazing human beings, kind and happy, literal rays of sunshine! Since we love our students and their families so much, it is only natural to think about where they will go and what will become of them when they finish school at the age of 21. Dayna and I soon found that the current options for adults with disabilities in our local area were quite limited. We know how capable our students are with a little assistance and how proud they feel of themselves after a job well done. We believe that when they grow up, they deserve as many opportunities as possible, just like their non-disabled peers. 

Although we had this conviction, it wasn't until Dayna's brother, who works in the automotive industry, sent her a box of "sunshines" that we got our inspiration. 

The 'sunshines' are the inside punch out or 'bi-product' of an automotive warning label that goes over a part in a car engine. This cute little piece of trash was not only yellow and shaped like a sunshine, but it was also not recyclable. Since this wonderful labeling company has a limited landfill policy, they wanted to find something to do with the bi-products. Dayna's brother thought that his very creative, environmentally conscious, special education teacher of a sister might have some ideas, and sent us our very first box of sunshines!   

 Our first Roll of Sunshines! 

Our first Roll of Sunshines! 

Our wheels began turning as we brainstormed ways to use the cutest piece of garbage we had ever seen. One thought led to another and we decided that using the recycled sunshines to create jobs for adults with special needs was the way to go and Pockets Full of Sunshine was born!  

We wanted to create employment that was fun, creative and inclusive. For years people with disabilities have been limited to jobs that are repetitive, boring and tucked away from the public eye. We know from our teaching experience that people of every ability flourish and learn the most when they are included and stimulated, and this is what we envisioned for PFS. 

 Two very special 'Rays' of Sunshine! 

Two very special 'Rays' of Sunshine! 

We began meeting with a small group of local adults with disabilities in our spare time and became a 501c3 certified non-profit in April of 2015. Fast forward to today, we have an amazing group of 12 adults with various intellectual and physical disabilities who meet every weekend to socialize and create sunshine crafts. Our crafts are often centered around the sunshines and almost always include sustainable or recycled elements. The sunshine products they create are sold on our website and at local events. Our number of participants as well as volunteers is growing weekly as we spread the sun (and awareness!) throughout our community!

 A few of our Rays hanging out on our signature yellow couch! 

A few of our Rays hanging out on our signature yellow couch! 

Our hope for this blog is that it will serve many functions. First and foremost, keeping you up to date on all of our creative and sunny progress! We can't wait to document our work sessions and all of the fun events we participate in. We also hope that it will be a way to continue spreading awareness about our special needs population and their needs as they age. We want to introduce all of our adults (our "Rays" as we affectionately call them) to you so you can see firsthand what wonderful individuals they truly are. Our last hope is that if you are hoping to make a difference and are searching for inspiration that you may find that here. Dayna and I are educators, not business women and every day with this non-profit is a learning experience. Navigating this new world has been challenging at times but always extremely rewarding. Follow your dreams and find your sunshine, we believe in you!