Team Grace is brainchild of Williams Elementary Student
Ten-year-old Grace McBride with her mom, Kelly, has formed “Team Grace,” an outreach that strives to spotlight childhood disability awareness and the challenges facing families with children with disabilities.
Viera Voice Katie Parsons
Grace McBride is a 10-year-old with a very busy agenda. With her mom, Kelly, the Ralph M. Williams Jr. Elementary honors student has formed “Team Grace,” an outreach effort that strives to spotlight childhood disability awareness and the challenges facing families with children with disabilities.
The cause has a lot of meaning for Grace. Her sister Kenna, 12, has a rare genetic disorder and has undergone 30 surgeries since the age of 2. As a result, Grace has grown up with a firsthand perspective on what disabilities look like for families.
“I want to help people understand,” she said. “I want to help raise awareness about disabilities.”
Team Grace has been on Grace’s mind for several years, but finally took shape in November when she participated in her first walk-a-thon to raise money for Cerebral Palsy awareness and research.
“I told Grace that she is not too young to help her sister,” said Kelly McBride. “Team Grace has given her the outlet to do that.”
Since that first event, Team Grace has raised money for several childhood health and disability organizations through walk-a-thons, dinners and other activities. In March, Grace and her mom will participate in National Pancake Day for the Children’s Miracle Network and in April, they will head to Lakeland for the Country Music Radio-a-thon to benefit St. Jude Children’s Hospital.
Closer to home, Grace is heading up the “Most Wanted” project that collects items for children and families receiving inpatient care for disabilities. A card drive, miniature golf tournament and gala are also in the development stages — awareness locally.
“So far we have seen a lot of support from friends and family, and we just want to get the word out to everyone,” McBride said.
In Brevard, Grace and her mom have teamed up with the Family Liaison Project — an organization that has served more than 60,000 families in Brevard County over the past 20 years. The mission of the FLP is to strengthen networking between families with children with disabilities to help with life’s transitions. Training, support and collaborative communication are the main FLP objectives.
Two years ago, Grace attended a Saturday “SIB Shop” sponsored by the FLP and the Center for Autism and Related Disabilities of UCF. At the workshop, Grace met other siblings of children with disabilities. She was able to express herself and find camaraderie with other children like herself. Starting in April, Grace will be integral in bringing the SIB Shop program back to Central Brevard County and will speak to her peers at the events.
“I think that these opportunities have really empowered Grace to feel less helpless when it comes to her sister, and to help other people at the same time,” McBride said.
You can see Grace speak at the Rockledge Church of the Nazarene on Saturday, April 12 during a workshop from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more more information on Team Grace, email TeamGraceinBrevard@yahoo.com. VV