Let’s get it started... Father Ray Center for Children with Special Needs celebrates ground breaking

Friday, 04 April 2014 From Issue Vol. XXII No. 14 By  Emma McNamara

For the past 11 months, those at the Father Ray Foundation have been hard at work, knocking on doors, calling on friends and supporters to give to the fundraising campaign for the Father Ray Center for Children with Special Needs. On 24th March, the time had come to see all that work begin to take shape.

In the presence of Phra Panya Rattanaporn, Mayor Itthiphol Kunplome, Wittaya Kunplome, Father Weera Phangrak, and Father Kritsada Sukkaphat, honoured guests and benefactors, the ground breaking for the new Father Ray Center for Children with Special Needs was celebrated with much joy from the children and families who will attend the center.

Fr. Michael Picharn Jaiseri, president of the Father Ray Foundation, greets city councilmen and honored guests.Fr. Michael Picharn Jaiseri, president of the Father Ray Foundation, greets city councilmen and honored guests.

The center has grown out of the obvious needs of families in Chonburi province who have children with autism, Down’s syndrome, cerebral palsy, and other intellectual disabilities, all special in their own right. The new 4-storey, 3150 sq. m. building on the main Father Ray Foundation site, located on Sukhumvit Road, will give our 100 children and youths the attention and resources they deserve, while giving us the ability to expand our project to assist a greater number of families. We will provide children with schooling, therapy and family support they need to lead them towards a more independent and enriching life. Father Dr. Michael Picharn, C.Ss.R., Vice President of the Father Ray Foundation, has high hopes that the new center will be completed and open by the end of this year.

Wittaya Kunplome, president of the Chonburi Provincial Council, presents the official opening speech.Wittaya Kunplome, president of the Chonburi Provincial Council, presents the official opening speech.

In a sea of white t-shirts - designed by one of our teenagers with autism - the staff, family members and children were all in awe with the amount of support from the community. Looking across from the ceremony site towards the lone room we have been using for the past five years, the feeling of hope and optimism was felt by all, especially our teachers who dedicate their days helping our children. Although Teacher Nuth, the head special needs teacher at the center, was busy all day organizing and making sure the ceremony ran smoothly, she was able to take a moment to stop and take it all in. “This is really something special… look at everyone here, they are here for our children.”

Local politicians and administrators of the Father Ray Foundation pose for a commemorative photo after the foundation stone placing ceremony.Local politicians and administrators of the Father Ray Foundation pose for a commemorative photo after the foundation stone placing ceremony.

Listening to the cheers and seeing the smiles on everyone’s faces when the first foundation stone was laid, reaffirms the importance of this project and the positive impact it will have on the lives of so many people.

Government officials receive blessings from the Buddhist monks.Government officials receive blessings from the Buddhist monks.

The ground has been blessed; prayers have been said, and now is the time to watch the construction magic happen. The future of our children and their families are now looking to be much brighter, thanks to our generous supporters. We have come a long way, but we continue to need support. Please consider helping us change the lives of these special children. Your support can make all the difference.

Follow the construction progress at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VUfjUI8NLkc

Wittaya Kunplome pins down the posts.Wittaya Kunplome pins down the posts.

(From 2nd left to right) Mayor Itthiphol Kunplome, Fr. Michael Picharn Jaiseri, Wittaya Kunplome, Fr. Pattarapong Srivorakul and Surat Mekavarakul, place the foundation stone.(From 2nd left to right) Mayor Itthiphol Kunplome, Fr. Michael Picharn Jaiseri, Wittaya Kunplome, Fr. Pattarapong Srivorakul and Surat Mekavarakul, place the foundation stone.

Fr. Michael Picharn Jaiseri, president of the Father Ray Foundation, leads the Christian blessing ceremony.Fr. Michael Picharn Jaiseri, president of the Father Ray Foundation, leads the Christian blessing ceremony.

(From 2nd left to right) Surat Mekavarakul, CEO of the Mike Shopping Mall, Fr. Michael Picharn Jaiseri, President of the Father Ray Foundation, Chucheep Saisawat, president of the Redemptorist school’s sponsorship committee and Rattanachai Sutidechanai, City Council member region 2 stand before the opening ceremony banner.(From 2nd left to right) Surat Mekavarakul, CEO of the Mike Shopping Mall, Fr. Michael Picharn Jaiseri, President of the Father Ray Foundation, Chucheep Saisawat, president of the Redemptorist school’s sponsorship committee and Rattanachai Sutidechanai, City Council member region 2 stand before the opening ceremony banner.

Honored guests and Father Ray Foundation administrators officially launch construction of the Father Ray Center for Children with Special Needs.Honored guests and Father Ray Foundation administrators officially launch construction of the Father Ray Center for Children with Special Needs.

Many sponsors received certificates from the Father Ray Foundation.Many sponsors received certificates from the Father Ray Foundation.

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