Sundance Vacations Employee Spotlight- How Joe Helps Children with Allied Services

Sundance Vacations Vice President of Marketing Joe Molitoris says nothing is more enjoyable than seeing a bright smile on a child’s face, especially when it belongs to a young boy or girl who suffers from traumatic disabilities.

Since 2010, Joe has personally sponsored Allied Services’ annual Pediatrics Holiday Party to benefit children ages eight and under with physical impairments at the John Heinz Rehabilitation Hospital (JHRH) in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.

Allied Services is a leading provider of healthcare for Northeastern Pennsylvania with 3,000 employees and volunteers to assist people with injuries, disabling illnesses, developmental disabilities or those in need of daily living assistance.

With a headquarters in Clarks Summit, Pa., and numerous facility locations such as the Heinz Rehab Hospital, the Allied team works together with families and caregivers across a five-county area to provide rehabilitation, home care services and more to help youth and adults overcome their disabilities.

Joe had first become involved with Allied Services back in 2010 when his friend, and now, Allied Services Vice President of Corporate and Advanced Communications, Jim Brogna, told him about an upcoming event to support the JHRH and children with physical hindrances.

As members of the Kiwanis Club of Mountain Top, Joe heard Jim’s appeal to the board for donations to sponsor Allied Services’ upcoming Pediatrics Holiday Party. The funds would go towards funding their Christmas party for patients of the JHRH by providing crafts, holiday presents and more for children and their families who live with physical deficiencies.

Children with disabilities from John Heinz Rehabilitation Hospital can make crafts and Christmas decorations to take home with their families thanks to Sundance Vacations and the Molitoris family.

Because the Kiwanis Club of Mountain Top is limited to helping children in Mountain Top, the organization was excluded from donating, but Joe was so moved by his friend’s cause that he decided to speak with his wife, Linda, about making a donation of their own. The two enjoy giving back to specific charities on a regular basis and decided to lend a hand to Allied Services’ Pediatrics Holiday Party.

Jim was thrilled with their generous donation and invited the two to the event.

The Pediatrics Holiday Party is usually held the first Saturday of December and begins with a breakfast buffet of pancakes, fruit and more for disabled children and their families. After the buffet, children go to crafting stations to make holiday themed trinkets such as ornaments and participate in activities like gluing a nose on Rudolph to stimulate their motor skills.

Children are then taken to get a professionally shot picture with Santa and printed a glossy image to take home before heading over to a decorated tree to receive presents. Each gift is hand selected by a therapist who works directly with the children and labeled for their specific age group. The gifts take into account a child’s specific disability and are curtailed to their needs. For example, a child with autism would not receive a gift with loud noises but may love an activity book.

“It’s very touching when you see these kids,” Joe told Sundance Vacations.  “You realize what their infirmity limits them to, yet you see these children with their smiles and hear their gracious thank you’s and it warms your heart.”

After the party, Joe and his wife were so moved by these children and their families that they doubled their donation and have since increased their contribution year after year.

In 2012, Sundance Vacations began supporting the party as well until the travel company and the Molitoris family became the leading sponsors for the event.

The Allied Services VP says that it is easy to go about your daily routine without realizing the immense suffering some families go through.

“You think you have problems,” Jim said.  “Then you see one of these kids coming down the hallway with no legs, you see a child with cerebral palsy who’s smiling because their quality of life might be a little different than ours. It really makes you appreciate more of the little things.”

Jim tells us that this yearly event would not be possible without help from those who care.

“It’s both the thoughtfulness of our pediatric therapists, the multiple families genuine appreciation for what we’re doing for them and what friends like Joe, Linda and Sundance Vacations are doing for them that make this event special,” said Jim.

Sundance Vacations also began helping with Allied Services’ Todd Bodine Golf Tournament to support victims of traumatic brain injury and Joe continues to help out with other events throughout the year to help children in Luzerne County with chronic developmental disabilities.

Jim claims that generosity is contagious and that Sundance Vacations co-founders John and Tina Dowd set a strong foundation for their employees to follow.

“Joe would give anything out of his own pocket to help kids with disadvantages and that’s what the Dowds are like. It’s leadership by example; it ripples down throughout the company.”

All in all, Sundance Vacations Joe Molitoris would like to encourage others to find a cause they believe in and give back.

“These are kids and families that have gone through a tremendous amount, but don’t have a tremendous amount.” Joe said. “There are a lot of folks out there who are very, very, fortunate and there are folks who are not. I don’t want to say it’s our duty or obligation [to help them], but it is something that we really should be doing.  Find a cause, help that cause and make a difference, no matter what it is.”

To learn more about how you could help Allied Services, visit their page on Sundance Vacations Charities.

View all charities Sundance Vacations Wilkes-Barre worked with here: Wilkes-Barre News.

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Jennifer writes for Sundance Vacations’ Charities, Blog and News site. As our Digital Marketing Coordinator, she is the mastermind behind our YouTube videos and generates online content for our travel company.