On Sunday, August 23 at 11 a.m., a southeast side family will be treated to a barbeque during the unveiling of their newly renovated home. The McAtee Family was one of five families selected as a recipient of this honor through the Extreme Dreams Makeover project, sponsored by the Greater Indianapolis Hotel & Lodging Association (GIHLA).
Brenda McAtee is an employee of Children’s Bureau, Inc. through their Neighborhood Alliance for Child Safety (NACS) Neighborhood Partners Program. She actively participates in the community by serving as the President of her Neighborhood Association and helped establish her local community center. Nearly 12 years ago and approaching the empty-nest stage of life, Brenda and Chester McAtee adopted 9 month-old Jason, a child with special needs. Jason was expected never to walk or live past the age of 10 due to his many life-threatening conditions, including: Microcephaly, when a person’s head is much smaller than normal, Autism and deafness. Now at the age of 13, Jason has defied the odds. He likes to ride his bike, swim and actively participates on the wrestling team at the Indiana School for the Deaf. The McAtee’s were considering renovating Jason’s room, when they learned about the Extreme Dreams Makeover project and decided to apply. They were amazed and excited to learn they had won. The makeover was intended for one bedroom, but was graciously expanded to include the family’s kitchen, backyard and play area for Brownie, the family’s dog. “Having Jason come into our lives 12 years ago was a miracle and a blessing. Today, we are blessed by the great work of the people at the Extreme Dreams Makeover project”, said McAtee.
GIHLA has conducted the Extreme Dreams Makeover project for the past three years. Jeff Sweet, Chairman of GIHLA and General Manager of the downtown Hilton, oversaw all aspects of the McAtee home renovation project, including the great commitment of over 100 volunteers. “At GIHLA, our focus is to allow the Greater Indianapolis Hotel family and its partners the opportunity to give back to the surrounding communities and make a positive difference the lives of deserving families. When we learned about the needs of the McAtee family and heard all the wonderful things they had done to support, not only Jason, but their community-this family was a natural fit for the Extreme Dreams Makeover project.”