Charlie Weis supports special needs through Hannah & Friends: exclusive to EGC
To say I was apprehensive at first about writing for a blog would be putting it mildly. However, given the freedom to discuss anything I desired it became clear to me what I should write. I believe that the head football coach at any college or professional program has the opportunity to bring awareness to areas that otherwise would not receive the recognition or attention it may require or demand. Obviously, some jobs will be more in the public spotlight, such as the Notre Dame head coach, and that the person that holds that job will have more opportunities and resources to heighten awareness for these issues. Given this opportunity, my wife, Maura, and I have chosen to use this platform to discuss people with special needs.
After becoming head coach of the Fighting Irish, I made a promise that as long as I’m at Notre Dame, I will try to bring about awareness to special needs. This subject hits near to my heart as my 11-year old daughter, Hannah, lives with global developmental delays. This means that Hannah develops physically, mentally and socially at a slower rate than others around her. Don’t misinterpret anything I’ll ever say or write as that I’m sad with the way things turned out because that couldn’t be further from the truth. My wife and I along with our son, Charlie Jr., stopped feeling sorry for ourselves a long time ago and we look at it now as a blessing and consider Hannah as our guiding angel.
Hannah has gotten us involved in charity work that we might not have done if it wasn’t for her. We started a foundation called Hannah & Friends that is dedicated to providing a better quality of life for children and adults with special needs. The foundation provides support for a program called Hannah’s Helping Hands, which funds quality of life grants for Indiana including the greater Michiana area and Rhode Island families that care for children and adults with special needs. The grants will provide low and moderate-income families with stipends that may be used for a wide variety of supports related to their family member.
I think that bringing awareness and making people more compassionate to people with special needs is probably the biggest mission my wife and I are on. Many times, people will look at special needs people and think negative thoughts, but they didn’t choose to be that way. It just happened that that was God’s will. Hannah & Friends fosters an ongoing campaign of awareness and compassion for all individuals with special needs. Individuals with special needs deserve the same respect as everyone else and it is our mission to educate others who do not understand this mindset.
There is nothing more important or valuable to me in my life than my family. That being said, there is nothing I’m more passionate about than creating awareness and compassion for individuals with special needs. I encourage everyone to either check out our website (www.hannahandfriends.org) to find out more about our foundation or find a charity or cause that you can become involved with. There’s truly no better feeling than helping those who might be a little less fortunate than you.