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2012 Helping Hands' Winter Outing - Success!

The HHF Winter Outing was held on January 27-29, 2012 in Massachusetts and was a huge success - full of fun, friendships and families. We had close to 70 families attend the outing this year. Check out photos from this event at .  A special thanks to Mare' Studios ( for donating their time to take these wonderful shots! If you would like to order any photos, please contact Read more about our wonderful weekend below...

It’s wonderful to meet the new families who have joined and to see the many returning ‘alumni’. The outing started Friday with lots of families arriving to the hotel meeting new friends and connecting with old friends. Many families found time to check out the pool or have a bite to eat. Our music Director, Valerie Peters, coordinated a rehearsal with the many talented HH musicians. Friday was a time to check-in to the hotel, catch up with friends and settle in for the weekend.

Once again we had a great turn out at breakfast. The dining room was full of people eating, chatting and checking out the raffle items as they began to fill the perimeter. We had vendor exhibits from: Erik Tompkins, CP, BOCPO – Prosthetic & Orthotic Associates, NY;; Tammy & Ty Kelley authors of “Make A Difference”, Lisa Batista of Creative Solutions for Amputees, and John Vacca of Amputee Coalition of America. Many great books and information from the Helping Hands Library were on display thanks to Susan St. Cyr (Jazel’s mom). It was great to see so many people purchasing and wearing our new Helping Hands’ sweatshirts and other merchandise (thanks to dad, Bob Callahan, for donating the embroidery!). Another big thank-you goes to Nancy Desilets for once again brining her sewing machine to customize fleece 'mittens' for all of the HHF kids' special arms.

We were extremely fortunate to have Kristy Desilets as our guest speaker at Saturday breakfast this year. Kristy has been a part of Helping Hands for as long as she can remember. Her parents Ken and Nancy found HHF soon after Kristy was born – she is now a fifth grade math teacher. Kristy kept us engaged as she told stories about growing up with “only one hand”. It was nice to see many of the HH children listening, laughing and relating to her stories. It was a wonderful treat to all of us to have Kristy as our special guest speaker and mentor throughout the weekend. (She was a real trooper to join us even though she was struggling to fight off a bad cold.)

The Helping Hands youth meeting (ages 10 and up) met later in the morning while some of the younger members and siblings took advantage of the pool and the ‘toddler room’ for our little friends.

Our Helping Hands teens and mentors were a big help at the Kids Lunch where they all decorated cookies and played lots of “Minute It to Win It” games. There were balloons flying, ping pong balls bouncing, cups stacking, cans balancing and lots more. Thanks to all who volunteered for this lunchtime fun.

After lunch there were some fabulous Arts and Crafts projects to do thanks to Sue and Katie Moloney – our HH craft coordinators. While many of the people were busy making crafts, there were others seeking out the Caricature artist –Tim Snow, who spent hours drawing many HH faces! There were also lots of kids (and some adults) enjoying the Face Painting, Tattoos and Balloon characters.

The busy Craft time was followed by our annual Helping Hands Talent show. Once again, Valerie Peters (HHF mentor, Board member and music teacher) did an awesome job coordinating our many talented HH musicians, singers, dancers and athletes as they performed for the audience. Great Job everyone!

After the Talent portion of the weekend, we moved on to dinner and then the much anticipated Raffle. Thank you to all of our generous Helping Hands families for your participation in this Helping Hands fundraiser!

This year we had two new Winter Outing Coordinators. Dayna Waskiewicz and Vennessa Fuhs, both HH moms, volunteered to take on the task of coordinating the challenging outing. They worked tirelessly putting together a great weekend for our families. Thank you! Thank You!

A special thank you to our HH President, Patti Garofalo, for her countless hours and dedication to make this a wonderful weekend run smoothly for everyone.

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