As Children’s Relief Fund celebrates its 25th year helping special needs children, it finds that many of these children are now special needs adults.

“There are few programs in our area for disabled adults,” said Rose Fotia, founder of Children’s Relief Fund, along with her husband Frank. “We have kids who are ‘aging out’ of the established programs. We need to create new ones to help them.”

One of these new programs is Pockets Full of Sunshine. Started in 2014 with the mission to employ intellectually and physically disabled adults, Pockets participants recycle automotive manufacturing byproducts that look like “sunshines” into greeting cards, gift tags, magnets and stationery.

CRF has been a strong supporter and funder of Pockets since its inception. When the Fotias started Children’s Relief Fund in 1991, they were responding to an immediate personal need. Their son Gregory had multiple disabilities, and they quickly realized that services for him and their family were extremely limited.

They also discovered that scores of area families were similarly affected.

CRF fulfills both tangible and intangible needs for families, providing funding for equipment such as wheelchairs, prosthetics and medical supplies, and financial support for physical, occupational, behavioral and speech therapies as well as life-enriching programs.

Children’s Relief Fund is not only a supplier of vital services, it is a strong advocate for special needs children and adults in our community.

“We are now challenged to provide funding and programs for young adults and transitional programs,” said Rose Fotia. “They need these programs to reach their potential.”

For 21 years, the Straight from the Heart Valentine Dance has raised most of CRF’s annual revenue. The organization operates without paid staff or administration. The work is accomplished through committed volunteer networks and headquartered at the Fotias’ kitchen table.

The annual CRF Valentine Dinner Dance will be held at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 4 at the Sonesta Resort in Shipyard Plantation on Hilton Head Island.

“An Evening of Love” includes a cocktail hour with hors d’oeuvres, dinner with a show, music for dancing, and silent and live auctions featuring dozens of items. Tickets are $125 per person.

For information, reservations or sponsorships, contact Rose Fotia at 843-681-7668 or email