Outside the Boardroom: Pasquale "Pat" Colavita, Jr.
Mr. C Helps Make Dreams a Reality
For thirty-seven years Pasquale “Pat” Colavita, Jr. worked as a speech and language pathologist for the Hamilton Township Board of Education. During those thirty-seven years, Freeholder Colavita was named Hamilton Township and Mercer County Teacher of the year.
“I guess I was always drawn to working with children. Believe it or not, I woke up excited to go to work every day for thirty-seven years,” said Freeholder Pat Colavita. “I always treated my students with respect and care and in turn, they returned that treatment.”
Since retirement, Freeholder Colavita’s community involvement has only increased. On top of being a Mercer County Freeholder for 15 years, Colavita serves on the Mercer County Board of Social Services, Co-Chairs the “Philly Pops” benefit for St. Lawrence Foundation of Morris Hal, Co-Chairs the Mercer County Community College Gala, volunteers with “Willing Workers”, and is currently the President of the Board for Contact of Mercer County.
With a schedule as full as Freeholder Colavita’s, you would think it would be hard to pinpoint his favorite event of the year. But when asked, Colavita swiftly replies, “The Sunshine Foundation’s annual Dreamlift to Disney, hands down.”
“I was drawn to this because of the special kids. This day is such a magical experience for these children. Most of these children have never been on an airplane, and then you add in the excitement, and the anticipation of Disney World; it’s just hard to describe but I keep coming back year-after-year.” Colavita is quick to add, “The real magic will be if my knees hold-up!”
Founded in 1976 the Sunshine Foundation’s mission has been simple; to answer the dreams of chronically ill, seriously ill, physically challenged and abused children ages three to eighteen, whose families cannot fulfill their requests due to the financial strain that the child’s illness may cause.
The Mercer County Sunshine Foundation provides the Dreamlift, a one-day excursion from Trenton-Mercer Airport to Disney World. Sunshine charters a plane and takes groups of about 100 special needs children to spend the day at their most requested location. Freeholder Colavita will be volunteering as a chaperone for his 18th consecutive year on May 7.
When asked to describe what the day is like, Freeholder Colavita said, “to try and picture this whole day; firstly, this is an especially well-planned day: from the early 7:30 am morning festive send-off with Disney characters, bands playing music, food, family and dignitaries, and police and firefighters are there to help board the children with special physical needs. All there to celebrate that these children will be sharing the experience, the fun, the magic, that is Disney. And, as a chaperone for several children, I do my best to make sure each of my kids has the best day possible. I want each of them to have a day they will always remember!”
Since Sunshine Foundation started its Dreamlift program, over 99 chartered planes have taken over 5,000 children to Florida from cities across the United States.
At 8:00 a.m. on the morning of May 7th, children from the Mercer County area will board an airplane destined for Orlando Florida where they will spend the day at the Magic Kingdom and you can rest assured Freeholder Pat Colavita will be on board to make sure everyone has a great time.
For more information on the Sunshine Foundation and to learn how to donate please visit their website at https://www.sunshinefoundation.org/