“La Lumière: A Metropolitan Affair” will be Hannah’s 4th Annual fundraiser. New this year, the event will be benefitting Cultural Arts Alliance, Special Olympics Florida — Walton County, and Westonwood Ranch. Hannah Martin’s connection with the Special Olympics started long before La Lumière derived, but her help in aiding the CAA of Walton County and Westonwood Ranch is new to this year’s fundraising efforts.
“I’m very excited to announce our beneficiaries to this year’s event, Westonwood Ranch, Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County, and Special Olympics Florida- Walton County” says Martin. “When we were introduced to Westonwood Ranch, a new organization in this area, we immediately fell in love with their mission and goals to give back and better our community. Autism is such a prevalent part of the world today that touches so many people. It is very rare that communities are able to provide such a cultural and progressive atmosphere for individuals with special needs. I am also thrilled to announce I am a new board member for the Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton county and am proud to have their support to help create these multi-faceted programs. We saw a huge calling to bring these three organizations together to help create a better tomorrow for Walton county and our special needs community.”
The overall mission of Westonwood Ranch is to fill the gap in transition services as young adolescents enter adulthood. Its central focus is to utilize the medium of agriculture to provide meaningful pre-vocational training, social opportunities for young individuals on the autism spectrum via hands on mentoring and specific skill training in a safe, nurturing, green farm environment. Students experience continuing opportunities to explore and expand their interests through participation in fine arts and crafts, agricultural and equestrian activities, as well as opportunities to integrate with community members through internships, community volunteering and employment. There is also a focus on individual health and well-being which makes our program a truly unique model.
Westonwood Ranch was formed in 2017 and is owned by the Wood family. Named after their son Weston, who was diagnosed with Autism at the early age of 2, mother, Lindy, noticed a change in her son when he was exposed to nature and animals. Thus, Westonwood Ranch became a unique center for children, just like Weston, to help fill the gap in transition services as young adolescents enter adulthood. Hands on mentoring and specific skill training are used to expand their interests in hopes of providing meaningful pre-vocational training and social opportunities in a safe, nurturing, green farm environment. Westonwood Ranch is currently seeking grant money and donations in hopes of starting construction on the learning facility to be able to open their doors to more than 100 children in late 2018.
The Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County (CAA) is a Local Arts Agency that supports the arts through leadership, advocacy, funding, programs and education. The vision of the CAA is to be the catalyst for Walton County's growth as a destination for cultural and artistic excellence through which lives are enriched, economy is stimulated and community is strengthened. The CAA headquarters is the Bayou Arts Center where over 200 art classes are offered every year to adults and children. The CAA produces the 30A Songwriters Festival, Valentine Tour of Homes, ArtsQuest, Seaside Writers Conference, South Walton Fashion Week and the Flutterby Festival. Tens of thousands of dollars are awarded annually to teachers, students, artists and arts organizations through the CAA’s Art For All Program, which is funded through grants and net proceeds from events.
As the creative core of Walton County, the Cultural Arts Alliance offers support, connection and access opportunities for all forms of art, every variety of maker, all levels of learners, and especially, art lovers. Through sponsorship, performance, and educational programs, the organization directly connects the people of Walton County with the broader view, the critical exploration, and the answers only the Arts have the power to provide.
Special Olympics Florida- Walton County provides year-round sports training and competition to children and adults 8 years of age and older with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Walton County. We currently serve over 100 athletes in the County who compete in 11 different sports at the local, area and state level area for each sport. There are over 300 potential athletes in Walton County alone. Florida is the first state and Walton County is one of the first programs to offer Stand Up Paddle as a Special Olympics Sport. All programs are provided at no charge to the athletes or their families. Your donations cover sports equipment, uniforms, travel and lodging expenses for local, area and state competitions.
Hannah Martin’s connection with the Special Olympics started long before any fundraising party came to fruition.Having moved to the South Walton area 10 years ago where she began selling real estate. Soon thereafter she connected with a successful realtor in the area, Jimbo Holloway, who she is now partners with and are currently with The Premier Property Group in Watercolor.
Jimbo and his wife Pam have three beautiful children. William, their son, has Down syndrome, a condition in which extra genetic material causes delays in the way a child develops, both mentally and physically. Three years ago, Jimbo approached Hannah to ask if she could help raise seed money for Special Olympics of Florida — Walton County. Hannah immediately saw this as the perfect opportunity to give back to a family and the community that had been so gracious to her for years.
Since this happened to be around Hannah’s birthday, she decided to throw a birthday bash in honor of the Special Olympics- Walton County. Hannah has now benefitted them for the past three years and has raised over $120,000 for the Special Olympics- Walton County.