Special Needs Cobb

Ricky Raschke and his birdhouse, entitled "Truist Park Main Gate"

October 3, 2023

Special Needs Community, Local Artists Fly into Action for a Great Cause - Special Needs Cobb residents, Best Buddies program, local artists create custom birdhouse artwork to raise money for Group Homes

Marietta, GA (October 3, 2023) – Ricky Raschke is an up-and-coming Marietta-based artist. Ricky, a Special Olympics athlete and sports fanatic feeling cooped up during the COVID pandemic began transmuting his love for sports into works of original art. His works largely consist of renderings of MLB stadiums, three of which have been entered into the 38th Annual Georgia Artist with Disabilities Virtual Exhibition. If his pieces are selected as winners, they will traverse the state in a touring exhibition. Ricky, in collaboration with his father, Rick, displayed an exhibition of art pieces titled “BINGE WATCH” at the Sewell Mill Library and Cultural Center in 2022. Moving forward, Ricky is working towards another one-man-show of large paintings, drawings and mixed media. Now Ricky is using one of these works to give back to Special Needs Cobb where he is often a weekend respite client, allowing his family and caregivers some well-deserved downtime while Ricky and others like him enjoy a weekend full of fun and activity. Ricky’s birdhouse, entitled “Truist Park Main Gate,” will be displayed for auction at the 2023 Special Needs Cobb “Pars for Stars” Golf Invitational on Monday, October 9th, at Dogwood Golf Club. Visit www.specialneedscobb.org to learn more. You can view more about Ricky’s artwork and creative endeavors by visiting him on Facebook at “R2 Drawings Prints Paintings”.

Special Needs Cobb is hosting its 25th Annual ‘Pars for Stars’ Golf Invitational fundraiser on Oct. 9, 2023, at Dogwood Golf Club in Austell, Georgia honoring special needs residents, volunteers and donors.  In celebration of its 25th year of hosting this event, the organization reached out to the local community to add some custom flair.  They’ve partnered with local artists, a Best Buddies program, and special needs residents to create custom designed Homes with Heart birdhouses

that will be auctioned at the event and online.  The Best Buddies program is the world’s largest organization dedicated to ending the social, physical and economic isolation of the 200 million people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).

“Special Needs Cobb believes that everyone should have a home, not just a place to live,” says Debbie Day, CEO.  We work hard to raise awareness and funds to give our residents a rich home life and provide a roof over their heads for life.”  This isn’t an inexpensive or easy endeavor, yet the 67-year-old nonprofit operates and maintains 24 homes (23 in Cobb and one in Bartow) with support from grants, local businesses like Cobb EMC who is the luncheon sponsor this year, civic organizations, and the community at large.  “Imagine what it takes to maintain one home, much less 24, especially with the heavy use and wear and tear of wheelchairs and other special needs equipment going in and out of the houses on a daily basis.  Our home inspections have a 100% pass rate from HUD,” proudly says Day.

Special Needs Cobb also operates the only facilities-based weekend Respite program for special needs individuals in the area. Up to 43 percent of residents are orphans or have no family connection or financial support, and the work SNC not only supports the individuals, ensuring they have a safe, loving home right in the community for life, but also provides support for the entire family unit. 

The golf invitational is the organization’s largest fundraiser of the year. The “Play Your Way, Golf All Day” event runs from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Monday, October 9, 2023, with food, prizes, raffle, auction and goodie bags for each golfer. Everyone is welcome who would like to play (register here), attend the lunch (register here) or be a silent golf partner (donate here). Sponsors for this year’s event include Cobb EMC Foundation, id enterprises, inc., Chick-fil-A, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, UPS and more.



About Special Needs Cobb

Special Needs Cobb (formerly Right in the Community) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization committed to promoting opportunities for all people with developmental disabilities to live full, productive and self-determined lives of the highest quality, by fostering local communities which embrace all people. For more information, visit www.specialneedscobb.org or follow us on Facebook.

Best Buddies

Best Buddies programs aim to empower the special abilities of people with IDD by helping them form meaningful friendships with their peers, secure successful jobs, live

independently, improve public speaking, self advocacy and communication skills, and feel valued by society by building one-to-one friendships between people with and without intellectual and developmental disabilities. They focus on four pillars – One-to-one friendships, integrated employment, leadership development, and inclusive living. To learn more, visit www.bestbuddies.org

Personal interviews available on request.