Lori Riccio: President, Special Education teacher and mom
Amara Riccio: Creator, Therapeutic Recreation Specialist, expressive artist
We know firsthand how to deal with medical and financial hardships. Our life changed in an instant when our dear, sweet Amara was struck by a car, sustaining a severe traumatic brain injury and broken bones. She spent months in hospital stays and years in therapy. When Amara came home from her second long hospital stay after her debilitating setbacks, as a family we decided to pay it forward and help others as a result of the enormous community support that we received.
The idea of Riccio Pick-Me-Ups was brainstormed in November of 2009; sending homemade crafts/cards to chronically ill children and adults bringing a smile, one project at a time. Initial crafts were decorated teddy bears ("Mare Bears"), bracelets, poems, cards, suncatchers, paintings and "miracle magazines."
We made RPMU an official nonprofit in 2011. We then expanded our programs to having fundraisers to raise money for families facing medical/financial hardships, performing awareness presentations in school, entertaining in children's hospitals and nursing homes, and inspiring youth to give back to the community. Our organization is 100% family-oriented, helping to highlight abilities in all people.