MassMutual’s SpecialCare: Helping caregivers make life-care planning decisions for dependents with special needs
Michael Sousou, SpecialCare Planner with MassMutual Southeast Coast, shared his expertise with families attending Over the Edge At ONE DAYTONA earlier this month in Daytona Beach.
Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual)’s SpecialCare was a sponsor of the annual fundraising event benefiting Easterseals of Northeast Central Florida and The NASCAR Foundation. While cheering on rappelers, Sousou distributed information about MassMutual’s SpecialCare program for people with disabilities and other special needs and their families.
A financial professional, Sousou has received special training in estate and tax planning concepts, special needs trusts and government programs. He explained that through SpecialCare, parents’ and guardians’ dreams for their loved one with disabilities are put in place in the event they are no longer able to care for their dependent.
“We assist parents who have children with special needs, or adults with special needs, by helping them maintain their government benefits like SSI and Medicaid and by assisting them in establishing special needs trusts,” said Sousou. “A special needs trust allows parents (or any donor) to put assets in the trust for the child with special needs. And, no matter how much is in the trust for the dependent’s benefit, they can still qualify for their government assistance, too.”
SpecialCare helps parents and guardians by educating them about things such as how to maintain benefits for their children with disabilities from birth through adulthood, and a special needs trust is a key strategy. The trusts are created to supplement – not supplant – government benefits.
Another popular product offered by SpecialCare Planners is life insurance.
“One of the unique products we offer is life insurance for the parent or guardian of the child with special needs, and in those policies, we include the special needs trust as the beneficiary of the policy,” he said. “So, if something happens to the parent or guardian, the life insurance policy pays into the trust and it’s used to cover expenses for the benefit of the dependent with special needs.”
“These policies can give parents and guardians a feeling of confidence,” said Sousou.
Sousou holds workshops throughout the region to educate parents and guardians about MassMutual’s SpecialCare offerings. He simplifies the perceived complexities and walks hand in hand through the program with families.
“In the end, it’s well worth it to many families because they have the confidence of knowing that, no matter what happens to the parent or whomever is taking care of the individual with special needs, they can be taken care of for life. It’s about more than lifetime care, which is what government benefits provide; it’s about maintaining a desired quality of life for their loved one.
SpecialCare Planners like Michael Sousou help clients:
To learn more about MassMutual’s SpecialCare program, contact Michael Sousou at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at 904-621-0445.
Easterseals thanks MassMutual SpecialCare for its continued support and sponsorship of Over the Edge At ONE DAYTONA.
Local firms are sales offices of Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual), and are not subsidiaries of MassMutual or its affiliated companies. Easterseals is not a subsidiary or affiliated of MassMutual or its affiliated companies. CRN202011-239998
Rebekah Petrick, Marketing Director at Chick-fil-A Ormond Towne Square, was on site during Over the Edge AT ONE DAYTONA Nov. 2-3. She cheered brave Edgers (including Chick-fil-A Cow), welcomed non-rappelers to the “Chicken Coop” photo booth and distributed Chick-fil-A goodies to young fans (and young-at-heart fans, too).
Petrick is a familiar face around the community; Chick-fil-A Town Square is an engaged local business that hosts and supports several family-friendly events throughout the year.
Some of the Ormond Towne Square’s Chick-fil-A’s most popular events, said Petrick, include its recent Fall Festival, the ongoing “Soda Pop with a Cop” program, Spirit Nights and upcoming “Light up Ormond Beach.” Petrick oversees all the fun.
“Our most popular event has been our annual Fall Festival, which entails community vendor participation, face painting and photo contests,” said Petrick. Online during the Festival, families were invited to post their favorite fall photo and tag the store’s Facebook page for a chance to win SeaWorld tickets, too. Community organizations that participated in the Fall Festival included Ormond Beach Police & Fire Department, YMCA, Schmancy's Pops, Calvary Christian, Aqua Journey's Swimming School and Humana.
Another popular attraction at Chick-fil-A Ormond Towne Square is “Soda Pop with a Cop.” Petrick and her team welcomes community members to have a soda with Ormond Beach Police Officers. The store offers a free Chick-fil-A 4ct Kid’s Meal for each child in attendance. Of course, no Chick-fil-A event would be complete without the Chick-fil-A Cow, who always makes a special appearance.
On Monday, Nov. 19, the community is invited to celebrate the Christmas season for “Light Up Ormond” at Chick-fil-A Ormond Towne Square. From 6-8 p.m., guests can check out the store’s amazing light display, enjoy crafts, Santa Cow and more. Fans who tag their photos with #lightupormond during the event and accumulate the most likes by 4 p.m. on Nov. 20, will receive a Chick-fil-A surprise that will include four SeaWorld Tickets. Check out event details on the store’s Facebook page.
Easterseals of Northeast Central Florida, The NASCAR Foundation and Over the Edge At ONE DAYTONA thank Rebekah Petrick, the brave Chick-fil-A Cow and the Chick-fil-A Ormond Towne Square team for helping make our November 2-3 event so fun and memorable.
If you saw people dangling on ropes from the 102-foot International Motorsports Center in Daytona Beach last week, your eyes weren’t deceiving you. In fact, dozens of rappelers went “Over the Edge” of the 8-story building in support of Easterseals of Northeast Central Florida and The NASCAR Foundation. By all accounts, the 2nd Annual Over the Edge at ONE DAYTONA was a huge success!
On Friday and Saturday, Nov. 2-3, Edgers who had sponsored the event, or who had individually fundraised for their spot, took their place on the ropes for two action-packed days across from Daytona International Speedway.
The event raised more than $131,000 for the two charities and countless supporters learned what it takes to “Be Brave for Courageous Kids!”
First to rappel was longtime Easterseals champion Sheryl Cook, who rappelled alongside NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee Rusty Wallace. Sheryl is the top individual fundraiser in the 2018 event, collecting more than $13,800. She’s a longtime Easterseals board member, honorary past chair & Lily Award recipient and lifelong Easterseals volunteer.
Another notable moment on the ropes was the challenge between Daytona Beach Police Chief Craig Capri – a first-time Edger – and Volusia County Sheriff Michael Chitwood – a second-time Edger. Both successfully fundraised for their spot on the ropes. And, are you wondering who made it down the building first? We’ll never tell.
Over the Edge sponsors made the event possible! They include Victory Lane Sponsor Jeep Beach (jeepbeach.com); Landing Zone Sponsors The Daytona Beach News-Journal (news-journalonline.com), NASCAR (NASCAR.com), KIX Country 98.7 FM, Beach 92.7 FM, Bill Voges and Family, and Halifax Health; Building Sponsor International Speedway Corporation (internationalspeedwaycorporation.com); Volunteer Lounge Sponsor SpecialCare by MassMutual (massmutual.com/planning/topics/specialcare), and Media Sponsors WHOG 95.7 FM, WLOV 99.5 FM, HOT 94.1 FM, 103.3 The Vibe, and 93.1 Coast Country (daytonaradio.com). We thank these sponsors for their support and encourage you to learn more about the above businesses. Please support them with your patronage.
Mark your calendars for the 3rd annual Over the Edge at ONE DAYTONA event, to be scheduled in fall 2019! Stay abreast of event updates at daytonaovertheedge.org. In the meantime, we welcome your engagement with Easterseals year-round. Learn more about Easterseals and its programs by calling
386-255-4568, 1-877-255-4568 (toll-free) or 386-310-1157 (videophone); emailing email@example.com; or visiting us online at www.eastersealsnecfl.org.
Everyday heroes, thrill seekers and community leaders are invited to BE BRAVE FOUR COURAGEOUS KIDS during the second annual “Over The Edge At ONE DAYTONA” event on November 2 and 3, 2018.
Registration is now open for individual fundraisers! The first 140 fundraisers who raise a minimum of $1,000 will earn their spot to go Over the Edge of the west-side façade of the 102-foot-high International Motorsports Center, the headquarters of NASCAR and International Speedway Corporation (ISC).
Register and learn more about the event at www.DaytonaOverTheEdge.org, and follow the event’s progress at https://www.facebook.com/DaytonaOverTheEdge/. We want to cheer you on as you go Over the Edge for kids!
Do you know someone in Central Florida who exemplifies how to #BeBraveForCourageousKids?
Nominate your “Champion for Children” and enter them to win a free rappel down the 8-story International Motorsports Center in Daytona Beach in Over the Edge at ONE DAYTONA on November 3!
To nominate your “Champion for Children” for a free rappel, send the nominee’s name and 150 words or less about how they’re a hero for kids in our community to firstname.lastname@example.org by 5 p.m. Monday, October 22.
Keep an eye out for our announcement of the winner, which will be posted on the Over the Edge at ONE DAYTONA'S Facebook page by Thursday, November 1, 2018.
Proceeds from Over the Edge of ONE DAYTONA support Easterseals of Northeast Central Florida and The NASCAR Foundation. The event will welcome more than 100 rappelers to step over the edge to show love and support for children in our community with special healthcare needs. Please note that all “Champion for Children” nominees must be 13 years or older.
To rappel, sponsor or volunteer at Over the Edge at ONE DAYTONA, Nov. 2-3, 2018, visit www.daytonaovertheedge.org.
The 2018 edition of Over the Edge at ONE DAYTONA this November 2-3 will be successful for many reasons: the rappelers who fundraise to earn their spots on the ropes, the cheerleaders who encourage those Edgers to “be brave for courageous kids,” and the incredible businesses that support the unique event through their charitable giving.
Jeep Beach Inc., an annual event each April in Daytona Beach, has stepped up as a 2018 sponsor of Over the Edge at ONE DAYTONA and is excited about the opportunity.
“Jeep Beech chose Over the Edge at ONE DAYTONA because the funds raised from it go to such incredible kids in our communities,” said Charlene Greer, member of the Executive Board of Directors for Jeep Beach Inc. “The ability to continue the flow of support to children in our communities through Over the Edge was a natural fit for Jeep Beach.”
Jeep Beach celebrated its 15th anniversary this year when it welcomed more than 6,000 Jeeps inside and outside The Daytona International Speedway for the main event. The grassroots effort by volunteers in the “Jeeping” community has brought the event to the level it is now, supported by vendors and sponsors within the Jeep industry. The event attracts a very large, diverse demographic. The 2018 event saw participants from Brazil, Ukraine, Italy, Australia, Russia, and Canada. During the event, hotel occupancy in the Daytona Beach area was at a staggering 82 percent.
The organization is proud to give back locally to causes that make a difference.
“Jeep Beach Inc. has a unique opportunity to support many outstanding charities within our local Central Florida communities,” added Greer. “We have a very strong belief in ‘taking care of those that take care of you.’ If we take care of our communities, our communities will take care of us.
“And, I am excited to have the opportunity to accomplish something like rappelling 8 stories…I never thought I would ever do such a thing,” added Greer. I am nervous about taking that first step Over The Edge, but I want each child I am rappelling for to know that they are worth every second and all the time and effort put into this event.”
Jeep Beach 2019 will be held April 22-28, 2019. To learn more about the weeklong event and all the activities it entails, visit www.jeepbeach.com. To learn more about Over the Edge at ONE DAYTONA, November 2-3, 2018 and its sponsorship benefits, visit www.daytonaovertheedge.org.
‘Charity Pint Night’ at Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery in ONE DAYTONA to benefit Easterseals & The NASCAR FoundationRead Now
Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery is at the top of the heap of the fantastic options at ONE DAYTONA – the Daytona Beach area’s epicenter for premier retail, dining and entertainment. Have you visited yet? September 5 may be the perfect first date!
Rock Bottom has joined forces to support Easterseals of Northeast Central Florida and The NASCAR Foundation for Charity Pint Night, a unique beer tapping with $4 pints on Wednesday, Sept. 5. All donations go to Over the Edge at ONE DAYTONA, which benefits both charities with its rappelling event Nov. 2-3. (Rappelers sign-up is live on daytonaovertheedge.org. Don’t miss the fun!)
Rock Bottom is passionate about pints and maniacal for malts! Its local brewmaster creates handcrafted brews that range from crisp to roasty and everything between. Rock Bottom beers have won gold, silver and bronze awards around the country.
If that’s not enough to get you to hit Rock Bottom on September 5 for Charity Pint Night, Rock Bottom Restaurant and Brewery serves fine fare, too. The menu features savory starters like asiago artichoke & crab dip andbacon cheddar poppers and wings, while the entrée menu features steaks, salads, pizza, tacos and crafted items including pretzel-crusted chicken, Cajun pasta and shrimp & grits. Lighter fare is also available, as are mason-jar desserts! Who’s ready for bourbon pecan pie or salted caramel toffee? Yes, please!
Find Rock Bottom Restaurant and Brewery inside ONE DAYTONA at 1864 Victory Circle, building K. Rock Bottom is open Sunday through Thursday from 11 a.m. – midnight, Fridays and Saturdays 11 a.m. to 1:30 a.m.
ONE DAYTONA is open from 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. Monday - Saturday, and Sundays from noon – 6 p.m. Check out all its offerings – including Cobb Daytona Luxury Theatres and soon-to-open GameTime Family Entertainment Center, and get to know ONE DAYTONA.
To learn more about Over the Edge at ONE DAYTONA, to sponsor a rappeler, sponsor the event or sign up for a spot on the ropes, visit www.daytonaovertheedge.org.
Not only did Stephen Watkins sign up as an Edger and go Over the Edge at ONE DAYTONA in 2017, he did so in his wheelchair! The stunned crowd stood speechless that morning at the bottom of the eight-story International Motorsports Center, until the roars and cheers began flooding up.
Here’s Stephen’s take on his rappelling experience:
Why did you decide to be an Edger in Over the Edge at ONE DAYTONA last year? I decided to become an Edger for Over the Edge because I thought it was a great opportunity to bring awareness to disabilities. It was a way to show the community we can do anything we want to.
What was the most exciting part of being an Edger?
The most exciting part of the experience was the thrill of repelling down the building. Being able to look out and enjoy the view from so high up, it's a sight I'll never forget.
What was the most meaningful part of rappelling for you?
When I first became a paraplegic and was wheelchair bound I did not think that I could do a lot of activities I did before. This event proved my thinking wrong. It showed that I can do anything, and any wheelchair bound person can do anything…we just do it differently. I think this is what Easterseals stands for. They assist families with disabilities and help them know they can do anything they want.
What were some of the reactions you heard from others about going "Over the Edge"?
The most common reaction I received from friends was, “How did you repel in a wheelchair?" or "Why would you want to repel down an eight-story building?" In the end, everyone loved the opportunity I’d been given: to show that people with disabilities can do anything.
What would you say to encourage others who may be hesitant to consider being an Edger in the Nov. 3 event?
I would tell them to take the risk and don't think about anything else. Being up there is a feeling you can't get anywhere else; it’s a rush many people never experience. The thrill, fun and excitement you get is something you don’t want to miss out on!
Why is supporting the work of The NASCAR Foundation and Easterseals important to you?
Supporting Easterseals and NASCAR Foundation is important to me because they assist people who are sick and who have disabilities. They help with awareness and spreading the word. Most of all, it's important because they don't define a person by his disabilities. They see the person inside them and push them to do whatever it is they desire.
Over the Edge at ONE DAYTONA is the area’s only rappelling fundraising event and benefits The NASCAR Foundation and Easterseals. In 2017, Over The Edge At ONE DAYTONA raised $200,000 for The NASCAR Foundation and Easterseals of Northeast Central Florida, and more than 100 rappelers were brave for courageous kids. To be a rappeler, you simply need to raise $1,000 for a spot on the ropes and you’re in! Start fundraising with family and friends early and, dollar by dollar, you’ll reach your goal. All 2017 rappelers earned their spots! And, we give you all the tools you need to reach out to friends, family, co-workers and neighbors – the words and pictures that tell the story of your new adventure. Register to be a rappeler here: https://daytonaovertheedge.org/selfregister.cfm
It’s simply a one-of-a-kind event in our community, and this year’s edition of Over the Edge at ONE DAYTONA will be the most thrilling yet. Don’t miss out! Share the news and join the adventure. Visit http://daytonaovertheedge.org or visit our Facebook page to learn more.
Sponsoring, rappelling and volunteering are a few of the fantastic and easy ways the individuals and the business community can support Over the Edge at ONE DAYTONA on Nov. 2-3, 2018. These gifts of time, talent and treasure – as well as a healthy sense of adventure – will directly benefit children served by The NASCAR Foundation and Easterseals of Northeast Central Florida.
Over the Edge at ONE DAYTONA is the area’s only rappelling fundraising event and benefits The NASCAR Foundation and Easterseals. In 2017, Over The Edge At ONE DAYTONA raised $200,000 for The NASCAR Foundation and Easterseals of Northeast Central Florida, and more than 100 rappelers were brave for courageous kids. The funds supported children with medical needs and disabilities, filling several funding and service gaps in our communities. Consider becoming a sponsor of this year’s event; there are several levels to choose from. Get details here: https://daytonaovertheedge.org/sponsors.cfm
Over the Edge at ONE DAYTONA is easy to participate in! To be a rappeler, you simply need to raise $1,000 for a spot on the ropes and you’re in! Start fundraising with family and friends early and, dollar by dollar, you’ll reach your goal. All 2017 rappelers earned their spots! And, we give you all the tools you need to reach out to friends, family, co-workers and neighbors – the words and pictures that tell the story of your new adventure. Register to be a rappeler here: https://daytonaovertheedge.org/selfregister.cfm
Being a rappeler isn’t your thing? We still need event volunteers! Over the Edge at One Daytona has many volunteer roles that need to be filled during its Nov. 2-3, 2018 event, including registration, staging, escorts, announcers and hospitality. There also are limited spots (with opportunity for a FREE rappel) for experienced and qualified rope volunteers to work with Over the Edge's technical staff on event days. (Qualified volunteers must have experience with rope safety systems including but not limited to: rock climbing instruction, high angle rescue, ropes course facilitation, industrial rope access, rappel training in military or law enforcement, etc.) Plus, we always need a loud cheering section at Over the Edge at ONE DAYTONA, too. Join us as we back our rappelers by shouting love and support from the ground, up! Sign up to volunteer here: https://daytonaovertheedge.org/volunteer.cfm
Over the Edge at ONE DAYTONA is fun and adventurous, and we want you to have the opportunity to experience it firsthand! Though fundraising dinners have their appropriate place, Over the Edge at ONE DAYTONA lets participants live out their generosity in such a daring way that the excitement is contagious!
It’s simply a one-of-a-kind event in our community and this year’s edition of Over the Edge at ONE DAYTONA will be the most thrilling yet. Don’t miss out! Share the news and join the adventure. Visit http://daytonaovertheedge.org or visit our Facebook page to learn more.
Vickie Pleus has been an Easterseals supporter through her public-relations business for many years. And in 2017, she took the devotion to a new height when she signed up as an Edger in the inaugural Over the Edge at One Daytona event last November.
“I loved the rappelling fundraiser idea from the moment I first heard it,” says Vickie. “What’s better than getting adventurous and raising money for worthy causes simultaneously? I don’t need many reasons for having fun, but this one seemed like a no-brainer.”
Vickie recalls being full of confidence about rappelling for weeks beforehand as she raised $1,000 to earn her Edger position. Generous family and friends continued contributing to the fundraising effort, and as the days passed, Vickie knew she had a spot on the ropes. But, it wasn’t until she was harnessed and on the rooftop that it really sunk in.
“I remember being safely harnessed and hearing the Over the Edge staff direct me, step by step, to put my heels over the edge of the building and lean back,” says Vickie. “It was comical! I tried to make myself lean into the harness that way I was supposed to and my body wasn’t having anything to do with that idea.”
Once her body caught up with her brain, says Vickie, it only took a minute for her to get the hang of the rappelling. She danced down the building as she was lowered to the ground.
“I was kicking and laughing and posing for photos like a fool, all the way down International Motorsports Center,” said Vickie. “It was such a rush and so fun, just as I had anticipated it would be. It’s completely safe up there and just knowing that my $1,000 was going to help two worthy organizations…it was an overall amazing experience.
“If you’re considering being an Edger and rappelling in the Nov. 3 event, don’t hesitate,” she says, “You’ll never forget it and you’ll have great stories for years.”
The first 140 fundraisers to raise a minimum of $1,000 in donations will earn a spot to go Over The Edge At ONE DAYTONA on November 3, 2018. All monies raised will be shared equally between The NASCAR Foundation and Easterseals Northeast Central Florida - strong, local, 501(c)3 charity partners who are equally dedicated to providing healthcare and services to children in our community who need it most!
Space is limited, so fire up the adrenaline and act now! https://daytonaovertheedge.org/selfregister.cfm