Austin, TX (October 31, 2013) – Over the weekend, spirits soared high as teens in Dove Springs successfully united for a cause to help a little five-year-old boy in their neighborhood who is battling cancer. The Build Your Future (BYF) Club, a new teen group at River City Youth Foundation, organized the first-ever cancer fundraiser for Dove Springs called “Fall for a Cure Fest.” The event benefited Brandon Padilla and his family. Learn more at www.rivercityyouth.com/2013/10/successful-fall-for-a-cure-festival-helps-austin-youth-fight-cancer.
The Fall for a Cure Fest was successful in helping Brandon’s family pay for medical bills. BYF put together the fundraising festival and worked for weeks to hand build more than 20 creative games and exhibits for the event, including everything from a pumpkin bean bag toss to a gooey Haunted Maze. They raised money by selling tickets to each attraction.
After the event received some nice press coverage from local news outlets, it did not take long for the community to respond. Contributors such as Ginny and Mark Caperton drove to Dove Springs from across town to make a personal donation to help BYF’s fundraising goals.
“As we were reading a newspaper article in the Sunday morning news, we were touched not only by Brandon’s fight with cancer, but more importantly his neighborhood’s desire to help the Padilla family by planning and hosting the Fall for a Cure Fest fundraising event,” said Ginny Caperton, a real estate agent for Accent Austin Homes. “As a cancer survivor myself and having a grandchild close to Brandon’s age, my husband and I wanted to do our part to help make a difference so we made the drive from downtown Austin to the Dove Springs festival to make our own donation in person.”
“Receiving such support from River City Youth Foundation and the other donors is so inspiring, and it gives my family more strength to keep on fighting my son’s cancer,” said Andrea Padilla, Brandon’s mother.
Brandon lives with his mother, older sister Michelle, younger brother Abraham, and younger sister Kelly in Austin’s largest youth community of Dove Springs. He suffers from Ganglioneuroblastoma, a rare form of cancer that strikes only five out of 1 million children annually. The cancer causes tumors to grow in the nerve tissue, which profoundly affects Brandon’s nervous system and causes him to have uncoordinated movements and eye vision as well as severe speech delays.
Brandon attends the Pre-School Program for Children with Disabilities classroom at Blazier Elementary School.
Since being diagnosed with his cancer two years ago, Brandon has undergone six surgeries to alleviate the effects of his uncoordinated nervous system and needs six more surgeries. These surgeries must be conducted with ample time spaced between each medical procedure due to the fact that he receives so much medication and chemotherapy. He undergoes chemotherapy three times a week from 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. and needs to receive an operation to fix his damaged vocal chords.
The BYF Club knows more financial support and donations will be needed to help battle Brandon’s ongoing fight with cancer. The Fall for a Cure Fest was only a start for the BYF’s fundraising efforts for Brandon. They plan to continue their mission with a social media fundraising campaign featuring Brandon’s time at the Fall for a Cure Fest and activities planned for the holidays. Donations can be made online through River City Youth Foundation’s PayPal account with any valid major credit card at www.rivercityyouth.org/donate/donate/.
BYF is asking for everyone’s support to spread the word using the hashtags #FallForACure, #BeatCancer and #DoveSprings to raise awareness for Brandon’s future cancer fundraising efforts. You can learn and see more about BYF’s journey to support Brandon at its Facebook page www.Facebook.com/BuildYourFutureRCYF or Twitter handle www.twitter.com/BYFClub.
Celebrating 30 years, River City Youth Foundation (RCYF) is Austin’s longest-running native youth organization. An award-winning non-profit agency and technology center serving the southeast Austin Dove Springs area, RCYF provides youth and family oriented programs around technology, college and career readiness, mentoring, wellness, community development and more. RCYF also hosts TechComunidad in Dove Springs, a program that empowers parents and provides families with technology access to drive their childrens’ academic success. The agency is a First Place National Keep America Beautiful Award winner. Learn more about RCYF at www.rivercityyouth.org.
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River City Youth Foundation:
After a refreshing morning rain shower, as the warm sunshine began to shine down, a young boy named Brandon Padilla and his family gazed with amazement as they walked through the front gates of the River City Youth Foundation in southeast Austin. Framed with orange pumpkins and many Halloween booths, a group of teens had been waiting patiently all morning for this boy who they’ve only seen in photos to arrive to see what they had built for him.
“It was so touching to see all of the children and community members get together to make a festival dedicated to helping my son with his cancer. My family and I are so grateful for the generosity of the Dove Springs community,” said Andrea Padilla, Brandon’s mother. ”Brandon had so much fun playing with all the games and children at the festival, and everyone was so happy to see us. We felt very welcomed and very special.”
In a close nit community like Dove Springs, neighbors go way out of their way to help to their neighbors in need. And today it was Brandon’s time to receive a benevolent gift from the community to help him fight a rare form of cancer. To lend a hand to Brandon’s family and help them pay for their medical bills, teen members of the Build Your Future (BYF) Club at River City Youth Foundation put together a “Fall for a Cure” Fundraising Festival to help raise money by selling tickets for admission, games, mazes and a very popular dunking booth.
For weeks, the BYF Club hand built twenty plus games and exhibits for the event, everything from a pumpkin bean bag toss to a gooey Haunted Maze. But this community of young people were not the only Good Samaritans who showed up to help.
“As we were reading a newspaper article in the Sunday morning news, we were touched not only by Brandon’s fight with cancer, but more importantly his neighborhood’s desire help the Padilla family by planning and hosting the ‘Fall for a Cure’ fundraising festival,” said Ginny Caperton, a local real estate agent for AccentAustinHomes.com. “As a cancer survivor and having a grandchild close to Brandon’s age, my husband and I wanted to do our part to help make a difference so we made the drive from Downtown Austin to the festival to make our own donation.”
Padilla continued, “Receiving such support from River City and the other donors is so inspiring, and it gives my family and I more strength to keep on fighting my son’s cancer.”
Brandon Padilla is a five-year-old boy who lives with his mother, older sister Michelle, younger brother Abraham, and younger sister Kelly in Austin’s largest youth community of Dove Springs.
Brandon attends the Pre-School Program for Children with Disabilities classroom at the Blazier Elementary School and has Ganglioneuroblastoma, a cancer in which tumors grow in nerve tissue. Only five out of every one million children are diagnosed with this rare type of cancer every year. The cancer profoundly affects Brandon’s nervous system and causes him to have uncoordinated movements and eye vision, as well as severe speech delays.
Brandon undergoes chemotherapy three times a week from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Since being diagnosed with his cancer two years ago, Brandon has undergone six surgeries to alleviate the effects of his uncoordinated nervous system, and needs six more surgeries. These surgeries must be conducted with ample time spaced between each medical procedure other because he receives so much medication and chemotherapy, which cannot be mixed with operations. He also needs to receive an operation to fix his damaged vocal chords.
The fundraising event was successful, but more financial support and donations will be needed to help battle Brandon’s ongoing fight with cancer.
The BYF student group will continue the cause as they get ready to do another social media campaign featuring Brandon’s time at the Fall for a Cure Fest. They are asking for everyone’s support to spread the word using the hashtags #FallForACure, #BeatCancer and #DoveSprings to raise awareness for Brandon’s future cancer fundraising efforts.
Donations can be made online through River City Youth Foundation’s PayPal account at: www.rivercityyouth.org/donate
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Group Organizes Fall for a Cure Fest to Help 5-Year-Old Cancer Victim
The Build Your Future Club (BYF) is a new teen club in Austin sponsored by River City Youth Foundation. BYF wants to create a successful future for kids living in southeast Austin’s Dove Springs. On Sunday, October 27, 2013 the BYF Club will take on the challenge of beating cancer in its community. It will produce the first-ever cancer fundraiser for Dove Springs called the FALL FOR A CURE FEST. The fall festival benefits a five-year-old boy named Brandon who is suffering a rare form of nerve tissue cancer and will undergo six surgeries.
Join the Cause! www.rivercityyouth.org Supporters are asked to follow the BYF Club on social media using hashtags #FallForACure #beatcancer #DoveSprings
To volunteer, email firstname.lastname@example.org
See how the BYF Club has been preparing.
Hear their mission http://tinyurl.com/
Connect with the BYF Club
The 14th Annual Merry Memories Holiday is tomorrow and we have been busy working our magic here at RCYF to make sure this event is absolutely fabulous. Last year, over 2,000 children attended Merry Memories. This year, we are expecting even more.
For many of the families that attend, this is the only time their children will be receiving holiday gifts. We want to make sure that we are able to give everyone a present. Our goals have been set high this year and are thankful that so many of our community partners have stepped up to fill in the gaps. From hosting toy drives to supporting the games and activities that will be taking place, the support has been tremendous.
Along with all the community support, we have had some extra help from our friends at Dell. A group employees representing countries from all over the world spent the day at RCYF helping us plant a garden, beautify or outdoor areas, and find ways to get more people involved with Merry Memories. We want to say thank you to everyone who came out and donated their time.
If you want to help, it’s not too late to host your own toy drive. We are accepting toy donations until the 21st to benefit our adopt a family program. Contact us if you want more information. Also, we can always use an extra pair of hands to help out on the day of the event. If you are looking for a way to give back to your community this month, come on down and volunteer at the event.
Want to spread some holiday cheer and support RCYF at the same time? Order a set of RCYF Christmas Cards. These cards were designed by some of our kids and are a great way to let people know that you are thinking about them this holiday season. Remember, every set of cards that is sold will feed a RCYF kid for a month.
Hope to see everyone down at the Dove Springs Recreation Center tomorrow!
Less than one week until the 14th Annual Merry Memories Holiday! Things here at RCYF are really picking up as we move into the final few days of preparation. If you are looking for something to do this weekend, contact us to see how you can help. Want to drop off some toys or a cash donation? We are still accepting donations for both Merry Memories and our Adopt a Family program.
This past weekend, RCYF was invited to spend the day at the Chemical Toy Fare. Held Saturday December 3 at the Norris Conference Center, about 100 tables showcasing some of the season’s hottest toys and collectibles were featured at the event.
Along with the collectors, vendors, and toy enthusiasts that filled the center, a few “dark” characters were seen at the event.
That’s right, Darth Vader and crew made an appearance. But don’t worry, Vader wasn’t here to steal any presents or wreck havoc on anyone’s home planet. In fact, he was here as a representative from a very unique volunteer organization.
The Chemical Toy Fare organizers teamed up with the Austin 501st Legion Chapter (Vader’s First) to do a meet and greet and take photos with attendees. The 501st is an all-volunteer group of Star Wars enthusiasts that spread their love of Star Wars by making appearances at community functions and volunteering at numerous events throughout the year.
Thanks to Chemical Toy Fare and the 501st Legion, RCYF took home about 100 toys and several other cash donations. With over 2,000 children expected to line up for presents at this year’s Merry Memories, we are grateful to be able to put a dent in the toy collection.
As an added bonus, the 501st Legion will be visiting Merry Memories this year. If you are a lover of all things Star Wars, be sure to come volunteer at Merry Memories this Saturday at the Dove Springs Recreation Center for your chance to meet and have your picture taken with this extraordinary group.
Maybe Darth Vader and friends aren’t bad guys after all.
The weather has finally dropped out of the triple digits and that can only mean one thing; it’s time to start getting ready for the holidays. It might only be November, but RCYF is already gearing up for the celebration of the year.
Join us on December 10 from 12:00 to 3:00 pm for the 14th Annual Merry Memories Event. Thanks to our partners, this is shaping up to be one of our most successful Merry Memories ever. But with more than 2,000 children expected to attend, we can use all the help and support from the community.
There are many ways to get involved this year. You can buy a set of holiday cards, sponsor a toy drive, or volunteer at the 14th Annual Merry Memories event. We are looking for people to decorate, distribute toys, run craft table, and support the community by spreading holiday cheer. Take a look at this video to see the holiday wonderland our volunteers were able to create last year.
Want to continue your involvement after Merry Memories? Contact us to Adopt a Family and ensure that all of the children at the center have a warm holiday meal to come home to this Christmas. Last year, 100 local families benefited from this program.
The 14th Annual Merry Memories is being sponsored by these partners:
Dell, MWM Design, Austin Fire Department, Amigos en Azul, ABC Bank, Kiwanis Club, City of Austin Parks & Recreation, and more.
For more information on sponsoring at Merry Memories or any other holiday opportunities, please contact Oné Musel-Gilley at PR at RiverCityYouth.org.
Looking for something fun to do this Easter Season? Join us at River City Youth Foundation as we kick off the celebration a day early!
On April 23, we will be hosting our 13th Annual Easter Egg Hunt. Come out for food, fun, and one of the largest Easter Egg Hunts in Southeast Austin. Thanks to all our volunteers and our sponsor, New York Life, there will be surprises for all our families and lots of eggsciting Easter activities for the kids. Keep an eye out for golden eggs hidden around the yard. Finding one will be rewarded with a special prize. Be sure to stop by our educational game booths and learn something while you are having fun. Be sure to bring your camera, we may be visited by a special fluffy guest.
If you are interested in helping out at this year’s Easter Egg Hunt, contact us at PR@RiverCityYouth.org. You can show your support by volunteering at the event or making a donation to RCYF. Want to start helping now? We can always use help collecting and decorating eggs before the event (as long as they are the plastic kind). Either way, come out and enjoy a day full of fun, family activities.
For more info, phone number 440-1111 x18
Be sure to follow us on Twitter to get the latest news on what’s happening at the Center.
What a year! River City Youth Foundation has had a standout holiday season. With 100 families adopted and over 2,000 children receiving gifts at the 13th Annual Merry Memories toy give-a-way, this truly was a year for the books.
December 24 brought the RCYF family together for a Pluckers holiday feast. Pluckers owners, David and Jenny Paul, conducted the fourth annual Pluckers Christmas Eve Luncheon for River City Youth Foundation. They provided all you can eat food for families and great toys for every child and teenager in attendance. Once the numbers were tallied, over 200 people had come in, and for some, this gathering was their Christmas dinner.
We would also like to thank everyone who participated in our Adopt a Family event, especially our major supporters: New York Life, Barry Levinson, Bob Larson, Nyle Cowan, and Carolyn Nelson. Thanks to the gracious donations from people all around the area, 100 families were adopted and provided with a special holiday meal this holiday season. Although this level of community generosity would be enough to move any onlooker, there was a second story unfolding that night.
Two weeks ago, at RCYF’s Merry Memories toy give-a-way, 15-year-old Eric Reyes won a new bike in the toy raffle and gave it to his little brother. Ever since, support for the Reyes family has been pouring in. People all around the community had been contacting the foundation wanting to purchase a bike for Eric. Eventually, enough support was raised so that we were able to present Eric and all his brothers and sisters with new bikes, helmets, and locks. The family also received a gift card with gifts from community members (Read more about the Reyes Family). We would like to thank Jenie Perry from the Statesman for coordinating with readers Kathy Wilhelm, Neel Morton, Jerry Biscoe, and Suzanne Weinert. They truly made this an unforgettable Christmas for the Reyes family.
As the year draws to a close, many of us tend to get caught up in finding the “perfect” gifts for our friends and loved ones that we often forget that it’s the selfless acts of kindness that truly make the season what it is.
We are looking forward to all the great things the New Year has in store for us. One thing that we are excited about is seeing our technology program kicked into high gear thanks to Dell Computers and their “Wired & Inspired Neighborhood” program. Stay tuned to hear more about that!
From all of us here at River City Youth Foundation, we wish you and your family the best in the year to come. Have a safe and happy New Year!
River City Youth Foundation would like to extend a big thank you to the hundreds of volunteers who came out and participated at our 13th Annual Merry Memories Holiday this past weekend.
Hours before the first families began arriving, the Dove Springs Recreation Center was buzzing with holiday cheer. Over 100 high school students, college students, and community leaders arrived to put some holiday touches on the venue. By the time they finished, the recreation center had been transformed into a holiday wonderland with paper snowmen, Christmas trees, elves, a magician, and the man in the red suit himself.
More than 200 volunteers helped make dreams come true for thousands of underserved children in the Dove Springs community. Goodie bags with hot dogs and cookies were distributed to families as they waited patiently for their turn to walk through the Toy Depot where Santa’s helpers were lined up to give each child a toy.
The excitement of the holidays continued outside as families listened to holiday music, worked on crafts, and enjoyed the crisp weather. However, the true sprit of the season became most obvious when 15-year-old Eric Reyes came on stage to claim the bike he won in the toy raffle. To everyone’s amazement, Eric picked the smallest bike available. When asked why he did this, Eric told raffle organizers that he had promised his little brother that if he won, he’d get a bike for him. If you want to read more about Eric and his generosity, get all the details in the Austin American-Statesman article here.
Thousands of children were shown the gift of sharing and caring at Merry Memories. And this wouldn’t have been possible without the help of numerous supporters. We want to thank some of you personally, including New York Life, City of Austin, Austin Firefighters, APD’s Amigos en Azul, MWM Design, Dell Computer, Kiwanis Club of Austin, Key Clubs of Akins and Crockett High Schools, Tony Martinez and his group, Danny Forbes, Elizabeth Gonzales, and many others.
If reading this post has put you in a festive mood, we encourage you to contact River City Youth Foundation and find out what you can do this holiday season. We are still looking for people to adopt a family for the season. If you want to help Santa this year, please contact us at PR@rivercityyouth.org. Thank you for all your support. Have a blessed and safe holiday!
Date: December 11th, 2010
Time: 12 to 3 p.m.
River City Youth Foundation is putting out a call for volunteers for this year’s 13th annual Merry Memories holiday event. Donate toys, organize a toy drive, or come and help out at the event. If you would like more information on what you can do to help, email us at email@example.com.
This event is the second largest toy drive in all of Austin and will benefit thousands of local children living in the Dove Springs area.
Also, don’t forget to check out the RCYF Holiday Cards. These cards were designed by RCYF children and will be a festive touch when wishing family and friends season’s greetings.
The holidays are going to be here before we know it. It’s never too early to start thinking about what you can do to give back to your community.