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Here's our first list of suggested guidelines and an update for the Your Day Away chapters. You are all involved in the start of a remarkable charity event, one which will bring a much-needed memorable day to parents of children with special needs all around the world. The response to this event has been truly stunning and we are looking forward to an extraordinary day on November 15, and a very bright future for Your Day Away as an ongoing venture.

Right now we have about 30 chapters around the world, from YDA Brooklyn to YDA Namibia, and it's still growing... (so please continue to spread the word.)

The nonprofit Your Day Away organization is sponsoring a worldwide event where parents of children with special needs are provided a one-day respite from their stressed out usual routine. Donated services (things like spa, dinner, makeover, concert, yoga class, sporting event, movie, hotel, etc) will be collected by the YDA chapters and offered to the parents, who will be recommended by=2
0local organizations, schools or social services.

NEW WEBSITE: We hope to have our new website ( up and ready within the next two weeks. Each chapter will have its own section and its own email address at Your Day Away.
NEW LOGO: We are currently having students from a school for communication & language disabilities design the Your Day Away logo. That should be done within the next two weeks. We will get that logo to you as soon as it is ready so you can use it for email or hard copy correspondence.


1. The most important thing to know is that you do not have to overdo this. Do not take on more than you can handle or more than is realistic for your particular region. We are suggesting that you do not work with any more than 12 families this first year. But if you can only service one family that is great, too. Making an impact on one family is perfectly fine. This event is happening all over the world, and it will be a cumulative experience and success.

2. Start collecting your contributed services. We suggest that you make a list of the types of services that are available in your region. You can certainly go out of your region to the nearby big city if you'd like. There are some services that we will be collecting through the national organization (such as concerts through Live Nation) that will be available as well.

3. You can use
the descriptive information sheet we sent you (let us know if you never received it) that you can include in correspondence with local businesses. You can also create your own custom-made-for-your-region information sheet, if you feel that is more appropriate. E-mailing the companies you are soliciting services from is the easiest way to go, but if you feel your passion about this event will translate well in a personal visit or phone call to these companies, we would recommend that. We are finding that people are responding to this event very strongly; one common response is that it is like “make a wish for parents of children with special needs.” Your Day Away is a nonprofit and all contributions are tax deductible.

4. What companies will get out of this? Companies donate to events like this all the time, so many of them are used to this type of request and do it because they are inclined to and it is part of their business culture. Also remember how large the special needs community is getting and how likely it will be that you'll encounter businesses that are impacted by a special needs child, and will perfectly understand why these parents need a day away. We will include the logo of all contributing companies on the website, along with their contact information, and will include them in all of our press (both international and local) when appropriate.

5. Resources that might be helpf
ul would include trying to get a printing company and/or public relations firm to donate services to your chapter. If you can get a local newspaper to sponsor the event that would help you a lot. They would be able to be another outlet for publicity for the contributors. If this is an approach you want to take, let us know at the main office if you need help with this. Plus any pre-publicity will be helpful in getting both unsolicited and solicited contributions. Some of the chapters are already working with newspapers, and we'll be happy to pass along information on them if you would like that.

6. Each chapter is autonomous. You can build your chapter any way you want. That means that you can also get funding for your chapter if you want, if you are that ambitious the first year. We, at the main office, can help you with suggestions for that as well. In most cases, setting up a great event this first year will provide you with what you need to solicit money sponsorships for the ongoing operations of your chapter in the future. Some chapters might only want this to be an annual event, while others will want this to be ongoing, with a paid staff.

7. Consider if you want to supply limo or car service to the parents that day. Perhaps you'll want volunteers to be drivers for the day. We understand that there will be differences between the services available through chapters like YDA NYC20and chapters like YDA Aboriginal Australia, and remember, any one thing you can do for your parents will be appreciated, you don't have to overdo it. if the parents only receive a nice dinner for a couple of hours--you've done your job.

8. Please keep in mind that it will not be just couples, and that many of these parents are single parents. Please be sensitive20to that.

9. Again, if you have the resources, you might want to consider getting perks to the babysitter or caretaker who will be with the child that day -- perhaps a dinner delivered to the house. Again, only if you have the time and resources. While we want to provide services to the most needy of parents, our number-one goal this year is to have this first year be manageable. We don't want to overwhelm the chapter coordinators and we want the event to be a success. In the future, we will be providing homecare services for the families who do not have a babysitter or caretaker and who can't afford one. But unfortunately, we can not provide that service this first year. We are suggesting that all families must be able to provide their own caretaker for the day for this first year.

10. Start thinking about organizations or schools or local social services that will provide the names of parents who will be the beneficiaries of the day. In many cases, you might know those families yourself.

 We recommend that the=2
0contributed services for the parents be collected by October 15. And then mix and match with the families.

Again, if you find that you need the YDA main organization to help out with any aspect of this, please let us know. This should not be a time-intensive prospect for you. Do it at your own speed, and do not take on more than you can handle.

Let me know if you have any questions, and good luck -- Keep us apprised of your progress along the way, and we will update you as well. We'll let you know when the updated website is ready as soon as that happens.

Best of luck, and good work everyone -- Robbie

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