Gerardo Velasquez continues to make great strides in his young life. The 11-year-old was born with cerebral palsy. After several years of tender support, hard work, and help from special adaptive equipment, he has gained mobility. Now, the 11-year-old's success story is gaining international attention.
Gerardo attends a special day class for 4th-6th grade students at Prairie West Elementary. It is a program for children with moderate to severe disabilities, operated by the Sacramento County Office of Education (SCOE) within the Elk Grove Unified School District.
The Elk Grove family will be featured in a segment on Fundación Teletón USA, which will air on the Univision network (KUVS TV Channel 19) beginning on December 14. The 27-hour, international telethon is dedicated to helping children with disabilities. The Teletón is televised in 13 Latin American nations, reaching more than 450 million people; and, for the first time this year, it will be broadcast in the United States.
"We're thrilled to launch this historic event in the United States," said Univision Network President Cesar Conde in a prepared statement. "This event will undoubtedly have a huge impact in our community, bringing hope and help to thousands of families that desperately need these services to improve their quality of life."
According to a news release from Univision Communications Inc., the Teletón symbolizes the combined commitment of different segments of society to help children with disabilities, cancer, and autism. The event will reach out to the Hispanic community, urging it to come together for the benefit of special needs children. Under the slogan "The Great United Family," event organizers aim to raise seven million dollars for the construction of a rehabilitation center in the U.S.
Teletón USA will be hosted by TV veteran show host Don Francisco, journalist Jorge Ramos, singer Lucero, and actress Galilea Montijo, and will feature appearances by renowned entertainers and communicators.
The mobility equipment used in SCOE's Special education program is part of the MOVE Project (Mobility Opportunities Via Education). The MOVE curriculum was developed in response to a growing concern that students with severe, multiple and profound disabilities in the public schools were not learning or utilizing critical mobility skills needed to fully benefit from their educational programs. SCOE was the first Project MOVE Model Site to be established in Northern California.