Cleveland Storyteller Dan Ruminski has created unique events that have raised vital funds and awareness for more than 20 local nonprofits since 2008

Weaving together his passion for Cleveland history, his mission to support the city, and Cleveland’s reputation as one of the most charitable cities in the world, Cleveland Storyteller Dan Ruminski has created unique events that have raised vital funds and awareness for more than 20 local nonprofits since 2008.

Among his most notable engagements was Dan’s collaboration with White North Stables to preserve its historic barn and stables, while also raising funds for Gates Mills Historical Society and Hunting Valley Historical Society. More than 200 attended the event to hear stories of The Great Estates of Gates Mills and Huntington Valley, creating excitement, civic pride, and community awareness.

Showcased at historic locations and venues across Northeast Ohio, Cleveland Storyteller events have been hosted in a myriad of locations from mansions and theatrical venues, to restaurants, hospitals, and schools.

Support for the Autism Community

Since 2011, Cleveland Storyteller events have raised more than $50,000 for individuals with autism, providing more than 250 iPads and vital funding to 10 Cleveland area organizations. iPads have been show to assist autistic children who have difficulty communicating. This work has been accomplished through collaboration with the Willoughby Rotary Autism Project (W.R.A.P.), Autism Speaks, and more.

The W.R.A.P. Program

Following an October 2011 feature on CBS’ 60 Minutes, Dan learned of the unique value of iPads in helping autistic children communicate. Shortly after, the Willoughby Rotary Chapter hosted a special guest speaker – a local physician who shared insight into the unique challenges autistic children face.

Dan teamed up with the Rotary to lend his talent as a Cleveland historian and professional storyteller to benefit area families. The first event raised $5,000, and the Willoughby Rotary Autism Project (W.R.A.P.) was born.

Why iPads

Research has shown that autistic children who have difficulty communicating can improve dramatically using iPads while eliminating much of the frustration they commonly experience. The touch screen and user interface make the iPad easier for individuals with coordination or learning difficulties to understand and use effectively.

What Started it All

Dan developed a true passion for those with autism when he was a Graduate student at John Carol. He was student teaching at and Borromeo Seminary when a staff member approached him with an opportunity to help develop a summer Day Camp program for autistic children and adults.

Although the six-week program was initially conceived as a respite for caregivers, Dan’s education in physical fitness and philosophy gave him the vision to create something more. Collaborating with his team, Dan helped give campers experiences that would positively impact their lives, attitudes and level of independence. The camp sold out that first year, and was extended to an 8-week program the following summer.