Dozens showed up for the 2nd Annual Bubbles for Community Gala hosted by the Yellow Out Campaign on Saturday in Houston.
The Yellow Out Campaign was founded by 16-year-old Reaghan Velasquez to bring awareness to spina bifida. Velasquez lives with the disease herself, but it has not stopped her from becoming an advocate for children with disabilities not only in her hometown of Manvel but in Houston, as well. Her advocacy began in elementary school when she wrote a letter to her principal at E.C. Mason Elementary about how the school playground was in need of equipment that could be enjoyed by children with disabilities. True to her roots, Saturday’s fundraiser was to raise money for a playground for disabled children.
Velasquez’s cause isn’t limited to people with spina bifida. Friends and colleagues with various disabilities came to support her mission, including the charismatic 10-year-old Nalah Best, who performed the invocation and helped conduct osteogenesis imperfecta that confines her to a wheelchair. Ralph Hall, who lives with Treacherous Collins Syndrome that causes significant hearing loss, met Velasquez at last year’s Night of Superstars, an annual event that recognizes the outstanding achievements of children living with disabilities. Hall is spearheading preparations for an anti-bullying showcase in Groves, near his hometown of Port Arthur. On Saturday, he sang the national anthem at the beginning of the Yellow Out Day event and sang a song at the end of the night dedicated to Velasquez in honor of her resiliency and tireless efforts. the live auction. Best has
Hall is an ambassador for Macy’s Miracles, an organization founded in honor of Macy Savoy, who was diagnosed with Chromosome 17 partial deletion. Savoy, her family and many other members of the organization were in attendance, including Savoy’s sister, Gracie Keiffer, Miss Pre-Teen Texas International 2019, who founded a program within Macy’s Miracles known as Special Siblings for siblings of children with special needs.
Prominent speakers at the event included Manvel Mayor Debra Davison and Evan George Vourazeris, an actor from Katy who has Down Syndrome and is known for his role as Tuck on the Netflix Original Series Ozark and an ambassador for Macy’s Miracles.
The mutual support between the two organizations was very visible at the event. Vourazeris, as an ambassador, spoke against bullying and on the importance of inclusion. He explained how his parents put him through education to improve his speech and how he became an actor. He said his parents always treated him as equal to his brother and encouraged him in his efforts. Vourazeris is a public speaker in addition to being an actor and hopes to bring his message against bullying nationwide. He thanked Velasquez for giving him an opportunity to spread his message to more people on Saturday.
Davison said that Velasquez’s efforts recently inspired her to ask one of the many developers in Manvel speaking with city council about their plans for a new subdivision where the green space would be. When Davison told the developer Velasquez’s dream of an inclusive playground, the developer and his attorney were immediately interested. Davison said there is now a second developer interested in building Velasquez’s conceptual playground.
“[Velasquez] is doing what I call the most important lesson we can leave. I say this to you because it is the highest compliment,” Davison said, turning to Velasquez, “If you find a problem, you do your very best to find a solution. Complaining is not an answer. Complaining is counter-productive in every instance. And this is what Reaghan has done. She saw a problem, she invested herself in it. Look, she’s got all of us here, and she’s finding solutions,” Davison said.