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Pay it forward 24 Ouabache plain
Self-Advocates donate $5,000 to local nonprofits
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Pay It forward 24 Backpack program
Pay It forward 24 Steve Ouabache

In celebration of National Pay It Forward Day, the Bi-County Services Self-Advocates donated $5,000 to two of their favorite local nonprofits Friday morning, thanks to the generous support of the AWS Foundation.

Steve Ehrsam, Robert Wassil and Matt Garber proudly presented $2,500 checks to Feeding Tomorrow’s Future Today as well as the Friends of Ouabache State Park.

BCS consumers selected the two groups from a list of several organizations they volunteer with, have benefited from, and who make a positive impact in Wells County.

The “Backpack Program,” as it’s known locally for sending bags of food home on the weekends with local at-risk schoolkids, holds a special place in consumers’ hearts. They help pack as well as deliver the food.

BCS consumers also benefit greatly from being able to enjoy nature at Ouabache State Park. Several consumers volunteered to help care for trails at the park last fall, while others regularly attend the park’s monthly Lunch and Learn Program.

Park Property Manager Jon Winne said he knew “there was a donation coming this morning, but that was considerably more than I was expecting.” He told the three men that their donation will buy “enough hay to feed the bison all next winter.”

“Bi-County Services has so often benefitted from the generosity of others,” said Patti Hays, AWS Foundation CEO. “The idea of celebrating Pay it Forward Day in this way is to allow those with disabilities to experience the joy and internal satisfaction that comes from giving to others.”

Pay it Forward Day was started in 2007 to show that a small act of kindness can make a big impact. AWS Foundation asked Self-Advocates to select nonprofits in their communities that have made an impact on their lives to make a donation.

Founded in 2007, AWS Foundation supports a wide range of organizations and service agencies in northeast Indiana, working to develop a community in which people with enduring intellectual, developmental, and physical disabilities are engaged fully and meaningfully in all aspects of community life. For more information, visit