On Friday, Sept. 19, the “Free to Soar Gala” benefitting non-profit Morgan’s Wonderland and Monarch Academy at Morgan’s Wonderland will honor five individuals who have been champions for those with special needs.
Deadline to nominate a deserving recipient is Friday, Aug. 1. Complete details can be found at www.MorgansWonderland.com. A committee from Morgan’s Wonderland and The Gordon Hartman Family Foundation, along with special advisors, will review nominations and select the honorees.
“Each year, we salute five outstanding people from near and far who embody character traits such as determination, caring, achievement, sacrifice and inclusion,” said Ron Morander, Morgan’s Wonderland general manager. “They will be recognized at the Free to Soar Gala, and their names will be added to the Walk of Fame that encircles our theme park’s scenic eight-acre lake.”
Another highlight of this year’s gala will be a 21st birthday celebration for Morgan Hartman, namesake of Morgan’s Wonderland. It was Morgan who inspired her parents, Gordon and Maggie Hartman, to spearhead construction of the world’s first theme park designed with special-needs individuals in mind and built for everyone’s enjoyment.
Morgan’s soaring spirit despite cognitive and physical challenges sparked within the Hartmans a deep desire to create a place of joy not only for those with special needs but also for their families, caregivers, invited friends and the general public. “Inclusion is the overarching objective of Morgan’s Wonderland, where everyone regardless of ability or disability can have a good time,” Gordon Hartman noted.
Sponsorship information and other specifics about the Free to Soar Gala are available from Becky Thomas at (210) 493-2811.
In addition to helping Morgan’s Wonderland meet its financial obligations and expand programs for the special-needs community, the gala will benefit Monarch Academy at Morgan’s Wonderland, located next door to the theme park. The school for students with special needs ages 12 to 24 develops personalized plans to help each individual maximize his or her potential. In addition to academic instruction, the school’s Bridge Program focuses on equipping students with life skills to prepare for productive adulthood.
Completely wheelchair-accessible, Morgan’s Wonderland features more than 25 attractions including rides, playgrounds, gardens, a picnic area and rest areas throughout the park. Admission for special-needs guests and children age 2 and younger is free; admission for accompanying family members, friends, caregivers and the general public is nominal.
Morgan’s Wonderland is the anchor of a new destination for family fun in Northeast San Antonio called Wonderland, Texas. San Antonio’s pro soccer team – the Scorpions – plays home matches at new, multi-purpose Toyota Field across from the theme park. Not far away, the STAR (South Texas Area Regional) Soccer Complex offers 13 lighted fields for tournaments, instructional clinics and special events.
Morgan’s Wonderland and Monarch Academy are located a half-mile west of IH 35 at the intersection of Wurzbach Parkway and Thousand Oaks Drive. For more information about Morgan’s Wonderland or Monarch Academy, call (210) 495-5888 or (210) 479-3311, respectively. Or visit www.MorgansWonderland.com or www.MonarchAcademy.net.