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Thanks to ERA Real Estate, the sweet smell of summer just got sweeter for hundreds of children living with neuromuscular disease.

Building on the brand’s long-standing charitable relationship with the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA), Charlie Young, president and CEO of ERA Real Estate, recently presented Team ERA with a unique opportunity—the ERA MDA Summer Camp Challenge.

Young’s goal is to rally ERA affiliated brokers and agents to send 1,000 children to MDA summer camps over the course of three years by raising $1 million.

“MDA summer camp gives children living with muscular disease the opportunity to enjoy new experiences,” says Young. “We launched the challenge to underscore our commitment to MDA and provide these children with the chance to discover their strengths and passions and build the confidence to achieve their goals.”

Just one day after announcing the challenge, pledges were made by approximately one-third of the ERA network, including a pledge to send 20 kids to camp from ERA Reardon Realty in Jackson, Mich.

“MDA summer camp changes these kids’ lives,” says Rick Reardon, broker/owner of the firm, which last year, hosted a wine tasting in support of MDA. “Camp frees them from the confines of braces or wheelchairs. We have pictures of the kids we’re going to help and we want every one of them to enjoy the amazing camp experience.”

Dennis DeWine, chief executive officer of ERA Colonial Real Estate in Harker Heights, Texas, didn’t think twice about accepting the challenge. His company has been supporting MDA for a number of years, inspired by a child named Austin who had lived with Duchene muscular dystrophy, a genetic disorder defined by progressive muscle degeneration.

“When we met Austin in 2003, my wife Cheryl and I immediately offered to help,” says DeWine. “He loved to draw, so Cheryl, an art teacher, bought him an art set and encouraged him to develop his talent. We then sold his artwork to raise funds for MDA and Austin’s favorite experience—MDA summer camp.”

Austin eventually succumbed to his disease in 2008. In his honor, ERA Colonial Real Estate has pledged to send 15 children living with muscular disease to MDA summer camp and is kicking off their summer camp campaign with an art auction at their Salado, Texas, office this spring.

“When we heard about the challenge, we immediately thought of Austin,” says DeWine. “He would light up telling us about his adventures at summer camp. We are thrilled to participate in this noble endeavor.”

Young is not surprised that the ERA network is on board. “ERA Real Estate has a reputation of working well together toward a common goal, especially when it involves community,” says Young. “Dedication to giving back is at our brand’s core.”

Robyn Erlenbush, broker/owner of ERA Landmark Real Estate in Bozeman, Mont., agrees. “We have been a proud supporter of MDA for many years. We’re especially fond of supporting the summer camp challenge for Montana kids,” says Erlenbush, whose brokerage raised more than $20,000 for MDA last year through its annual Agents of Hope Carnival. “Giving back to our community that so graciously supports our business is an essential part of who we are.”

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