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Blog

Sunshine Summer!

Laurin Rivers

Sunshine Social Club, Our Friday night program is one of our Rays favorite parts of Pockets Full of Sunshine. A day they look forward to each week, every Friday is a new activity at First Presbyterian or a social outing in the community. The Rays enjoy spending fun time with their friends and our wonderful coordinator Danielle, job coach Alex and all of the volunteers who join us. Everyone wants something fun to do on the weekend and we are so happy to be able to offer it in a meaningful way to our fabulous Rays. Check out some of the fun Friday nights they have had this summer!

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Mitchelville Beach Clean Up

Laurin Rivers

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Living at the beach is such a treasure, and one our adults don’t always get the chance to enjoy enough of! We all love enjoying the beach during Fun in the Sun but feel like doing our part to help care for our natural resources is equally as important. Recycling has always been one of the backbones to Pockets since our signature sunshine is re-purposed plastic waste so we thought organizing a beach clean up would be a great activity for our Rays!

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We partnered with our friend Nick of ‘Know No Boundaries’ to lead our beach clean up and teach the Rays some interesting facts about our unique local ecosystem along the way.

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The day was HOT but we picked up lots of trash (mostly in the parking lot thankfully) and everyone enjoyed dipping their feet in the ocean!

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We plan to make this a regular event and to spread sunshine by visiting a different beach each time!

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Christmas In July

Laurin Rivers

The sun is shining and our gnomes are back!

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Despite the heat our Rays had a wonderful time at the Christmas in July Market at the Village of Wexford.

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Early Christmas goodies were sold along with our signature holiday gnomes! The Rays vote on a new gnome to add to our collection each year and this year our new addition is Frosty the Snowgnome! We are taking pre-orders now so get one before they are gone!

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Ho Ho Ho we will be hard at work until December! If you are on HHI this summer come visit us at a market!

Sunshine & Suds!

Laurin Rivers

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A few months ago we were approached by our good friend and longtime supporter Nick, of Know No Boundaries, about partnering to do a fundraiser at our local brewery, Southern Barrel Brewing Company. We love Nick’s energy and mission and felt the same way about the manager of Southern Barrel and their vision for the event so it was an easy yes!

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We wanted the event to be laid back and fun, incorporating all the best parts of summer; good food, good music, good vibes, togetherness and lots of sunshine!

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Nick arranged for some fabulous musicians to play, Grayson Jenkins and Nick Jamerson.

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The event was so much fun! Everyone enjoyed delicious food and drink from Southern Barrel, a 50/50 raffle, a ‘Southern Draw’ auction, desserts baked by the Rays, Sunshine swag, a cool kids corner with our very own coloring page and a special performance by Mr. Dave and the Rays!

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We can’t wait to make this an annual event!

Sunshine Swag

Laurin Rivers

Like many non-profits, we rely on local grant funding to help with the cost of some of out projects and programming. We are fortunate to live in an area with many charitable giving groups, some of whom have taken a special interest in our Rays. The Long Cove Club Charitable Advisory Committee is one such group and gave us our very first grant which funded the purchase of our beautiful blue sunshine tent which we use to this day!

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Over the years the LCCCAC has supported several of our other projects, the most recent of which is the creation of ‘Sunshine Swag’, t-shirts, hats, aprons and other items that can serve as a ‘uniform’ for our adults to wear when they are working at markets, etc. After all, dressing the part is an important part of any job!

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So far we have created some sunny aprons for our adults to wear (which they also screen printed themselves!) as well as some terrific hats that were so popular we made more for them to sell! We can’t wait to roll out a few more pieces. Thank you Long Cove for your continued generosity and support of our Rays!

Nerve to Serve

Laurin Rivers

For several years now, we have enjoyed a wonderful relationship with First Presbyterian Church, home to most of our Sunday crafting sessions and many of our Friday night social clubs. We love the FPC facilities and people and are always looking for ways to strengthen our relationship with the church. We were thrilled when the Director of Children’s Ministry approached us about participating in their yearly service camp, Nerve 2 Serve.

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Nerve 2 Serve is a unique summer camp experience, teaching the youth participants about the importance of community service, helping others and about local organizations where they can help and volunteer their time. We loved the premise of the camp and couldn’t wait to be a part of it and see it in action!

We spent the first day of camp introducing the participants to some of our Rays and then spending the afternoon together in the church kitchen baking. It was a great opportunity for the youth and our Rays to work alongside one another and start to build relationships.

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The following day, campers joined us at a local market, helping to sell some of the delicious baked goods they had created together! Between the Rays and cute young helpers our cookies sold out in record time!

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Our final day with the campers was spent sorting the easter eggs that had been recycled from our time at the Island Rec Center egg hunt in April. This was a fun activity for all involved and great practice working together to accomplish a task. We were able to double the amount of work we estimated we would get through!

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The Rays adored spending time with the campers and I hope the youth participants all learned lessons about the importance of inclusion and community service that will last them a lifetime!




Fun in the Sun for EVERYONE 2019!

Laurin Rivers

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Each June, Pockets Full of Sunshine hosts ‘Fun in the Sun for Everyone’ our inclusive beach event for individuals of all ages with special needs, their families and their friends! Everyone is welcome and encouraged to participate in the fun.

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We offer paddleboarding, surfing, boogie boarding, face painting, sandcastle building, beach games, snacks, music and more! It’s hard to find a face without a smile on it throughout the day.

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Our generous sponsors make the day possible and completely free for participants. This year they include: Agapi Behavioral Consultants, Apple Appliance, Beach Photography Hilton Head, Cat Runyan Photography, Century 21 Diamond Realty, Coastal Marketing, Crescent Moon Pictures, Crush Entertainment, EAC Heating & Air, Eyeland Optique, Feiner Electric, Finger, Melnick & Brooks, PA, Forest Beach Surf & Cycle, James L Van Grouw, CPA, Kinghorn Insurance, Know No Boundaries, Leftover Ladies, Lighthouse Realty, Low Country Shelving & Glass, Louette Boutique, Luna & Lillie’s, Lynes on Design, Marriott Surf Watch, Moonlight Productions, Northern Industrial Manufacturing, Outside Brands, Palmetto Electric Cooperative, Pure Barre HHI, Quiet Storm Surf Shop, Reno Pro Construction, Shore Services, Southern Barrel, Spencer Special Events, Transportation Safety Apparel, Tree Wisemen, and Unfettered.

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Thank you to everyone who sponsored, participated and the fabulous committee who made it all possible; Annie, Brian, Carol, Case, Hilary, Lindsay and Nick! See you in 2020!!

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Fiesta De Mayo

Laurin Rivers

One of my favorite parts of living in Hilton Head is all of the wonderful outdoor festivals and markets that take place here. There are so many wonderful celebrations throughout the year; Seafood Festivals, Book Festivals, Chili cookoffs, and so much more! We were thrilled to be given tickets by La Isla Magazine to treat the Rays to one of the most fun festivals to kick off summer, the Fiesta De Mayo!

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The FIesta De Mayo is a celebration of Mexican culture and heritage and features music, dancing and delicious food and fun! This year’s theme was ‘Battle of the Taco’s’ and our Rays couldn’t wait to cast their votes!

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Everyone enjoyed slushies while watching a wonderful traditional dance and music performance.

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They then got to try their own hand at dancing with a guided lesson! What fun!

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After all of that activity it was time to try some tacos so we headed to the food and vendor booths. Lots of delicious tacos and Mexican delicacies were sampled and everyone voted for their respective favorites. A few of our brave Rays even stepped out of their comfort zones and tried cactus!

We all agreed that this was a fabulous way to welcome summer and enjoy our wonderful and diverse community. Another great day full of sunshine!

The Sweetest Heritage and Our New Friend Jim

Laurin Rivers

We were so excited to win the RBC Heritage cookie contest and be named an Official Cookie of Plaid Nation! We were even more thrilled when USCB called us the following week to join them in baking the cookies for the tournament!

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Once again our Rays donned their yellow aprons and spent three days in the USCB test kitchen working alongside college students preparing all 1,200 cookies for the tournament!

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The Rays developed new friendships, became dish washing extraordinaires and of course baked A LOT of cookies!

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In addition to helping the students bake the cookies, the Rays also individually packaged all 1,200 cookies for the event, no small feat! They worked together tirelessly to complete the task and we could not have been more proud but there was still one last surprise to come as the tournament began.

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PGA Pro Jim Furyk made a special visit to the test kitchen to learn more about Pockets and bake a special batch of cookies with the Rays!

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It was such a treat to meet such a kind man who took instantly to our wonderful adults. He even promised to sport the new sunshine keychain we gave him on his golf bag.

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Although Mr. Furyk was not this years champion, he sure won our hearts! The footage of our time with him even made it into a special spot on CBS during the tournament coverage! Watch it here!

And Jim wasn’t the only celebrity spreading sunshine last week. Darius Rucker attended the tournament and made sure to try a Peanut Butter Putter!

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Sunshines were spotted all over Harbour Town as the golf came to a close. Even CT Pan, this years tournament winner, was sporting yellow with his plaid!

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A wonderful week that our adults will remember forever! We can’t wait til next year!










An EGGstra special Hunt!

Laurin Rivers

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Our egg stuffing efforts finally came to a close on Saturday as The Island Recreation Center hosted their annual Egg Hunt for community children.

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You will recall that our adults began stuffing eggs last fall with the goal of completing 20,000 for this years hunt! We did it! And are so very thankful for the community members who helped us tackle this feat by donating eggs, candy and taking the time to join us for the most fun egg stuffing parties around!

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We were very proud of our Rays and all their hard work and delighted to be able to take a group of them to volunteer at the hunt, truly bringing the project full circle and creating inclusion!

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The Rays created signs asking that participants recycle their plastic eggs so that they can be re-used for future hunts.

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They also manned our Pockets tent, handing out bags to hunt goers who came without a basket and assisting in any way they could.

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It was an eggcellent day to say the least! Thank you Hilton Head Island Recreation Center for providing our adults with this meaningful opportunity!

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Live Bake Off at USCB!

Laurin Rivers

Remember our entry for the Plaid Nation Cookie Contest? Well drumroll please…we made it to the finals!

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We were thrilled to receive this news and our Rays were so excited to compete in the live bake off at the new USCB test kitchen! One of them stated it felt like being on Top Chef!

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We arrived to find that the USCB facility was beautiful and the stations were well prepped. Our Rays donned their lucky sunshine yellow aprons and got straight to work!

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The Rays made three batches of our Peanut Butter Putters and chose the most beautiful to package and present to the judges.

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The competition was stiff but the Rays took the cake…I mean cookie…and we WON!! What an amazing accomplishment for our Rays, to not only be included, but to excel! We are SO proud!!

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Thank you to the RBC Heritage and the judges who not only loved our delicious cookie but saw the merit in this opportunity for our Rays! We can’t wait to see where this leads!

A Kitchen Full of Sunshine... and Cookies!

Laurin Rivers

If you are familiar with Hilton Head Island in April then you know all about the RBC Heritage Classic golf tournament. The tournament is loads of fun and popular with both golf aficionados and Island residents who love a good time! This year the tournament rolled out something new, a cookie contest!

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The Heritage Classic Foundation partnered with our local university, University of South Carolina Beaufort to host the first annual Plaid Nation Cookie Contest and find the tournaments official cookie!

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We thought this contest would be an exciting opportunity for our Rays and a great excuse to practice some functional skills in the kitchen…and eat cookies!

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We came up with our recipe, the gluten free but still delicious “Peanut Butter Putter” with RBC colored yellow and blue m and m’s. Our friend Chris joined us in the kitchen of First Presbyterian Church and we surprised the Rays with cheery yellow aprons! A day full of baking and fun ensued!

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Every adult had a job, and each equally important to the success of our recipe, be it sorting the M and M’s, stirring the dough or washing up after! There were countless opportunities to learn and reinforce daily living skills, all while having fun!

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We were thrilled with our final product and submitted it to the competition! Wish us luck!

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8th Annual PFS Sporting Clays Shoot

Laurin Rivers

We held our 8th annual Sporting Clays Shoot on Friday, March 8th and were once again blessed by perfect weather and a wonderful event!

The clayshoot is our only annual fundraiser and provides the bulk of the funding necessary to run PFS. It is an important day not only because of the necessary money it raises, but also because it showcases camaraderie and joy, values that help define our organization!

This years shoot included a shotgun raffle, a delicious lunch, a great silent auction, a live wingshooting demo and a great after party following the shoot while scores were tallied. Once again some of our Rays attended the event and deemed it “The best day ever!”. I think many of the participants would agree!

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If you are interested in sponsoring or attending next years shoot in March 2020 contact us today!

Special Friends Day 2019!

Laurin Rivers

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The Hilton Head Christian Academy staff and students have been kind enough to host annual “Special Friends Day” events and invite members of our local special needs community of all ages for the last several years. These events are always lots of fun, characterized by dancing, games and all around joy as connections and friendships are made.

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This years event was a Spring Fling and was hosted by our dear friends and PFS Supporters, the HHCA Zonta Club!

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The Spring Fling took place in the school gym and it was packed! There was music, games, a lot of dancing, basketball and even pizza!

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Our Rays as well as the classrooms of special needs students who attended had an absolute blast! It is so wonderful to see inclusive events spearheaded by our community members and schools. Thank you HHCA and the Zonta Club! Your friendship is so appreciated!

Night to Shine 2019

Laurin Rivers

It’s that time of year again! Once again we were excited to take a group of Rays to the annual Night to Shine event hosted by the Tim Tebow Foundation.

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Night to Shine is a prom like experience for adults with disabilities that happens all over the US and it is nothing short of amazing! Attendees are treated like royalty and volunteers get the chance to take part in a unique event that is full of indescribable joy.

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A picture is worth well over a thousand words so we will post some of our favorites of our Rays! If you get the chance to participate in this event next February I highly recommend it…life changing!

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Wexford Plantation Charitable Foundation Grant!

Laurin Rivers

It is always invigorating to have the support of our community. The Wexford Plantation Charitable Foundation has been generous to PFS in the past, donating towards our Sunday programming and helping to fund some startup costs associated with our screen printing microbusiness. We were thrilled and honored to once again receive grant funding from them towards screen printing.

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This grant money will be utilized to help us work towards independence with this program and we are very excited to see where it will go!

The Wexford Foundation put on a beautiful grant ceremony and luncheon to distribute the funding and also celebrate their amazing milestone of achieving $1,000,000 in giving!

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Thank you Wexford for your open hearts and continued belief in our programs! We appreciate your help in allowing us to continue serving our adults!

I Scream, You Scream... for a SWEET Fundraiser!

Laurin Rivers

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There is nothing better than a fundraiser that is actually FUN! And what could possibly be more fun than ice cream?

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We were so excited to be approached by our favorite local ice cream shop, The Ice Cream Cone to do an end of the season fundraiser. They agreed to not only donate their remaining ice cream to PFS but were also kind enough to invite our Rays to come in and scoop! This is exactly the type of opportunity we love, inclusive and a chance to practice functional vocational skills!

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We happily took over duty at The Ice Cream Cone with the assistance of their wonderful owners and it could not have been more fun! The ice cream was delicious and the Rays had an absolute blast working the counter and serving their friends, family and community members!

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Thank you Ice Cream Cone for thinking of our adults and creative ways to promote inclusion and give back to your community! This is what it is all about!

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Happy Holiday Happenings & End of the Year Wrap Up!

Laurin Rivers

Wow! What a wonderfully busy holiday season we had this year! We certainly ended 2018 on a high and are excited to see what 2019 will bring!

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Our adults participated in some wonderful holiday markets and festivals and we debuted our first original Sunshine Screen Print Product, An HHI Kitchen Towel! These were a great success and so fun for the adults to make, there will certainly be more designs coming next year!

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Our final Sunday Session put everyone in the holiday spirit. We decorated cups and made homemade peppermint floats. Then we wrote letters to Santa and delivered them to our local fire station where we got a tour of their Christmas decorations and sang holiday carols! In the words of one of our Rays, “Today was perfect!” <3

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2018 brought huge growth and many exciting opportunities for Pockets Full of Sunshine. We are ready to embrace 2019 and can’t wait to see how bright it will be! Happy New Year!

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CrossFit RowRaiser!

Laurin Rivers

This weekend Pockets Full of Sunshine had the chance to participate in a very special fundraiser. The Reebok Coastal Carolina Crossfit facility put on a RowRaiser to raise money for its exceptional crossfit class for adults with disabilities.

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Health and fitness is important for all of us, especially as we age, and it is even more important for our population of adults with disabilities who often have less access to physical fitness activities.

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Several of our Rays participate in this weekly CrossFit class and they all love it! Exercise and being with friends out in the community is good for both their physical and mental health!

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We sponsored a rower and got a team of adults and several of our wonderful volunteers and dear friends to participate in the event. As you can see from these photos there was a big turn out and a great time was had by all!

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It’s so nice to see the local fitness community supporting the local special needs community. Together we are all better!

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Festival of Trees!

Laurin Rivers

The holiday season is upon us and thus far it has proven to be a very busy one indeed for Pockets!

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Our Rays have been hard at work for several months already on the various projects we have had this season, making bookmarks and totes for the book festival, working on our Recycled Art Project and creating some beautiful decorations for the annual Festival of Trees!

The Festival of Trees is a local fundraiser benefiting Hilton Head Preparatory School. Our Rays have participated for the last several years, each year creating a differently themed “Sunshine Tree”. The beautiful trees are then put on display at a local resort for several weeks and auctioned off to raise money for the school. What a festive and fabulous fundraiser!

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Besides supporting our local schools, this fundraiser provides the Rays with a fun and creative crafting opportunity and also gives them a chance to be active participants in a local event and connect with their community, all part of the PFS mission!

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This years tree was beach themed and under the guidance of our friends Danielle and Crystal, the Rays made beautiful air dry clay ornaments to adorn it. Everyone had a lot of fun creating this years tree and its beauty certainly speaks for itself!

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