bona vista

GIVING — During last week’s Giving Tuesday video shoot, Bona Vista’s Staff Trainer Shannon Visser and person served, Isaac, interact with videographer Jacob Jansen. The video will be a collaboration between Bona Vista Programs and Lewis Cass’ Champions Together program for student athletes with special needs and will appear in full on both organizations social media on Tuesday, Dec. 3.

Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday and then what? Christmas? Not quite yet! Giving Tuesday is a national campaign that takes place the Tuesday after Thanksgiving every year.

It is an opportunity for people to give back after days of shopping and buying. It’s a chance to show the non-profits in the community (or around the nation) that they are doing important work that you believe in. This year at Bona Vista Programs, we are partnering with a Kokomo CEO student Kaleb Lewellen through Champions Together at Lewis Cass High School.

Kaleb approached Bona Vista’s Development Department to ask how to raise funds for his cause, Champions Together. Champions Together is a collaborative partnership between the Indiana High School Athletic Association and Special Olympics Indiana that promotes servant leadership among student athletes while changing their lives, as well as, the lives of those with intellectual disabilities.

After learning about their mission and vision, Bona Vista easily realized how we could align forces, work together, and raise funds for those with disabilities in both programs. One common goal for Giving Tuesday!

Bona Vista has many individuals in our programs who participate in Special Olympics, and we wanted to embrace the giving season by collaborating with another organization that shares our goals of servant leadership and enriching the lives of those with disabilities. Whether it is Special Olympics bowling, track and field, basketball, or even cheerleading, we support our athletes in and out of their sports season by providing much-needed services to them 52 weeks of the year!

Coca-Cola bottling Company of Kokomo also has joined in on our partnership and is helping to spread the word of Giving Tuesday, Dec. 3rd, by sponsoring a video showcasing our efforts. Be sure to connect with us on social media (Facebook, Instagram and Twitter) for all the details on both of our organizations and how you can give back.

We had so much fun creating the video with the Lewis Cass student-athletes, Champions Together athletes, our staff, and our persons served. Thanks to our friend Jacob Jansen from Jansen Entertainment for filming, editing, and creating the masterpiece that you will all see when we finally unveil the finished product.

I can tell you with full confidence, though, that the faces you will see, the smiles that you will witness, and the words that you will hear are all genuine and authentic. The fun, care, and compassion that was shown while filming between all of the students, athletes and our persons served should give you hope in the next generation. They were all fantastic, and I can’t wait to see the finished product!

So, how you can help both organizations on Giving Tuesday? It’s pretty simple. Visit and click the donate button. Make your tax-deductible donation online, and we will split it 50-50 between the two organizations. Bona Vista isn’t keeping a bigger portion or doing or anything like that. We are simply collecting all of the donations to streamline the process for the students and their Champions Together club.

I will tell you this factual tidbit. In order to be a Champion school, the students at Lewis Cass have to raise $1,500. Now, they aren’t expecting to do that during Giving Tuesday alone. They have been hard at work finding sponsors and putting on other fund raisers. But wouldn’t it be amazing if we could get them well on their way to their goal in one day? I sure think so!

Remember: Visit and donate to Bona Vista and Champions Together during Giving Tuesday on Dec. 3. Join the movement. Be the change. Give back.