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The Sleepy Eye Herald Dispatch - Sleepy Eye, MN
  • SE residents to record video to help those with special needs

  • Shelly Rae Zinniel and her daughter, Rachelle have been invited to participate in a music video on April 6 at the Boe Memorial Chapel on the campus of St. Olaf College.
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  • Shelly Rae Zinniel and her daughter, Rachelle have been invited to participate in a music video on April 6 at the Boe Memorial Chapel on the campus of St. Olaf College.
     
    The purpose of the music video is so that Michael Boylan, a Minnesota father who has devoted his life to caring for his special needs son, can launch a new social network.
     
    He plans to do this with a song he wrote, called Angel Child, and make a music video portraying a-day-in-the-life of parents of special needs children.
     
    Boylan wrote Angel Child and describes it as similar to We are the World. With help from the 160 person St. Olaf choir and orchestra he wants 400 caregivers and their children to help sing it. He will record it and the song and video will be available for purchase when it is finished with all the money received from the song and video going back into the network.
     
    For Shelly, she sees this proposed network as a way to connect at a deeper level.
     
    “People tend to think there are resources for people with special needs and for caregivers, but a lot of times that depends on where you live,” Shelly explained. “There are a lot of resources out there, but they are usually centered in larger cities. It is always nice to have that additional support and it is sometimes a huge thing for providers who are having the same daily challenges,” Shelly explained.
     
    Shelly and Rachelle will travel to St. Peter on April 6 to take part in the video. Rachelle is musically inclined and is looking forward to being part of the St. Olaf choir and orchestra.
     
    The launch of The Reach For Me Network will take place in August. Michael has been working to create the first-ever social network designed to serve 35 million parents and related caregivers of special-needs children in the U.S. alone, regardless of diagnosis of the children; cognitive or physical.
     
    “This network could give us a voice and a community to go to if and when we need that in our lives,” Shelly added. “Being able to reap the experiences of other people is huge. For me it will be the resources and the community and the voice and advocacy and letting people know and understand the differences of their neighbors.”
     
    Boylan is the single father of a special-needs child. His son, Connor, was diagnosed with Williams Syndrome, a cognitive condition considered on the Autism Spectrum.
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