After working independently, in our community, for over a year, a young man came to Clap Your Hands. Rex Porter came to us through one of our therapists; to aid CYH’s with any chores we may have. He was on a medical leave from work and he told me that he wanted to have a purpose. I told him, we would find a purpose by helping others. He came to our meetings and listened; he donated poly pellets (our most treasured material). He seemed just as excited as we were. He suggested we become non-profit. I dismissed the idea at first because I had heard nightmare stories of how hard it was to become non-profit. Rex started visiting sewing guilds, and trying to find workers for us.
During this same time period I meet a wonderful woman, Julie Wood, the owner of Breakwater Associates in Mount Pleasant. She was so encouraging and urged me to participate in the Low Country Consortium, at the College of Charleston, for Autism awareness. Before I knew it, we were all signed up and they even gave us two tables to show our products.
We had a turning point at our CYH’s meeting in September 2014. Rex had taken it upon himself to check out the process of becoming 501 C 3 non-profit. He assured us that we could do this, and he would work with us, step by step. Did I mention that he had his college degree in finance from Clemson? Rex was just what we needed at that time in our growth of CYH’s. We voted and the motion was carried to follow through with non-profit status.
Since we made the decision to forge ahead with a non-profit, we had to come up with the funds to be able to apply to the IRS. We would need $400.00+ just to put in our paperwork, and another $25.00 for the state paperwork. We were told it would also take months to actually hear back from the IRS. Up to that point, all of my volunteers and I were using our own funds to make our products. We decided to have a yard sale in the hopes that we could offset some of the costs. Usually the first of November is a great time, weather wise, in the south, except for the day of our yard sale. It was in the low 30’s with whipping winds, making it feel like it was in the 20’s. We made the decision to move forward in spite of the weather. Within two hours of opening the sky opened up and the rain came flooding down, and it was actually raining sideways. We packed up as quickly as possible, with special thanks to our husbands, and donated what we had left to Goodwill on Old Trolley. We all came back to my house, and tried to dry out. Rex made his homemade chili and cornbread. It was absolutely delicious…..we ate, we laughed, and we counted the money. In two hours we made roughly $600.00. We counted 3 times just to make sure.
Rex and my very patient husband Ron went through all the paperwork and the fine print. We filled out all the forms, said a prayer, and then sent it in. We were told not to expect to hear back right away…these things could take months to hear back.
Two weeks later we were informed that we had been approved!
Since then it has been full steam ahead. Our mission has been, and will always be, to provide therapeutic products for special needs children in our community. There are no income requirements or insurance forms to fill out. Our products are free of charge to the families and local schools.