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Featured Donor: Ellen Bittner

Ellen Bittner featured donor and parent perspective at Reach for Resources board member.

Ellen spent most of her son’s childhood and school years searching for opportunities that would balance his intense need for friendships and being around other people with his quirky behaviors, such as vocal and physical tics (Tourette Syndrome), fixations on single topics (Autism Spectrum), and unpredictable and spectacular meltdowns (Mood Disorder/Bi-polar).

“Most parents, teachers, and neighbors were kind and well-intentioned, but frightened by his disruptive behaviors and eventually very frustrated or even angry with me and his father for not ‘fixing’ him,” says Ellen.

Ellen Bittner featured donor and parent perspective at Reach for Resources board member.

“We were fortunate to have financial resources at that time to try many different programs and therapies, but nothing stuck until we stumbled across the Social Seeker’s program. He finally connected!”

Offered by Reach for Resources, Social Seekers is a social group for teens and young adults, on the Autism Spectrum, to build social skills, coping skills, and practice flexibility while in a social setting. The positive impact was immediate, according to Ellen.

“We both were finally in a SAFE environment,” says Ellen. “I was valued as a parent and my son was valued as a person instead of a problem to solve or endure.”

Her son continued participating in Reach activities such as fishing, skiing, cooking, and crafts. Today, he is 27 and excited to start a new job as a ride operator at Como Park where there is no shortage of people to be around.

Ellen has been a valued partner with Reach for over 20 years, gifting more than $20,000 over her lifetime. Ellen and her family are also great ambassadors for Reach, volunteering at our Ghostly Gala, Bowl-A-Thon, or attending one of our other events.

Ellen states, “I continue to give because I strongly believe that Reach’s mission, its engaged staff, and its exceptional services are required to build strong and vibrant communities. Everyone has a gift to contribute to our communities. With continued and reliable funding, Reach has the staff and tools to ensure that happens for ALL our community members!”

Thank you, Ellen, for your valued partnership with us.