Posted by Steve Lettau on May 11, 2022

Editors Note: This is one in a series of articles highlighting Rotary projects around the world.

The Rotary Club of Collierville, Tennessee, treated hundreds of children with special needs and their families to a complimentary evening of hot-air balloon rides, food, and activities. The event, held on the eve of the Bluff City Balloon Jamboree, had 80 helpers across seven clubs in District 6800 (Tennessee and Mississippi). 

The clubs generated $30,000 in donations to cover the expense. “This was a once-in-a-lifetime event for a special-needs child,” says Dave Rhylander, a member of the Collierville club. “Just how many children in general have been on a tethered balloon ride? Roughly 300 kids got an opportunity to do that.” 

For September, the club is planning a riff on a TV show about high school football as another event for children with special needs. “We’re having our own Friday Night Lights for them this year,” Rhylander says.