Giving Tuesday: Father and son show what a difference giving can make

We've made it through Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday. But after days of deals, Tuesday will be dedicated to giving back. 

Giving Tuesday is all about generosity and charity, people around the world participate by donating to charity organizations.

In Michiana, one local family is demonstrating what a difference giving can make.

"I get to wake up every day to an ’I love you daddy’ and go to bed every night to an ‘I love you daddy,’” said Brian Replogle.

South Bend firefighter Brian Replogle says this is the quote he remembers seeing 15 years ago when visiting his nephew Austin in the hospital:

“A hundred years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the car I drove; but the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child.'

Now, Replogle lives by those words.

“Austin was two and a half years old, he was shaken by his biological mom’s boyfriend. The pain of seeing him in a hospital bed like that will never leave my mind,” said Replogle.

Austin was in a coma for over 2 weeks.

The abuse left him with brain injuries so severe that at 17-years-old, he is unable to read or write. He has also suffered many physical challenges.

When Austin needed someone to care for him Replogle chose to give and become dad.

“Who could not want to be his dad?” said Replogle.

And what a difference dad’s love has made in Austin’s world.

“You know he’s the happiest kid in the world. He just wants to be loved, he just wants to love people,” said Replogle.

But Replogle says he couldn't have done it without the programs at Elkhart’s Child and Parent Services. 

“Those programs have helped teach us how to be parents,” said Replogle.

Programs, CAPS Development Director Stacey Anderson says, are funded largely by donations.

“Every $10 donation we get in, you’re helping a mother learn new parenting skills. For $25 a month you’re feeding a family coming in for parenting classes. For $50 a month you’re providing counseling for a child who just went through the most horrific experience of their life,” said Anderson.

Now that we are in the season of giving, Anderson hopes people will choose to donate to CAPS.

“The money that comes in this time of year can really provide that extra service that families might need during the holiday time,” said Anderson.

Because it’s a secret all of the best gift givers know — it’s in giving that we receive.

“All he knows is love and we’re all blessed to have him in our life for that reason alone,” said Replogle.

For more information about donating to CAPS to help end child abuse in Elkhart, click here.

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