For Gina Rayfield and her charming daughter Charlotte, Abilities United has been a family affair.

The Rayfields first came to what is now Abilities United when Charlotte, who was born with cerebral palsy, was about a year old. “We were a family coming in, with a child born with a disability, and we didn’t really know how to support her,” says Gina. “At the beginning when you have that challenge, it can be daunting, and you feel alone. Abilities United is really a great place for people to come together; to get the support for the family, and to help the child excel and succeed as much as they can.”

Gina was so impressed with her experience at Abilities United that she became a volunteer, then a member of the Board of Directors for six years, and then continued to be involved with the annual Author’s Luncheon. “My favorite memory of Abilities United was having our family featured at the Author’s Luncheon,” says Gina. “We presented a video of Charlotte, showing some of the amazing things she’s done and what a great person she is. Being on stage with her and sharing that moment was truly special.”

Charlotte today is a smart, vibrant, and impressive young lady. Now a 14-year old girl, she’s something of an ambassador for Abilities United, and supports fundraising activities via the Author’s Luncheon and the Abilities United Aquathon. She’s gets around in her wheelchair, but this hasn’t stopped her from developing a passion for bi-skiing, and videos on youtube of her skiing [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wh1yiA4iGuE] reflect her joy on the slopes. She’s a young girl with great dreams – “I want to be a teacher and an author,” she says.

“I would encourage people to learn more about Abilities United,” says Gina. “It’s a vital part of the community, and the work they do is amazing and important.”

Based on a 2013 interview. Written by Bob Thomas, edited by Gina Rayfield and Wendy Kuehnl