Discount mulberry luggage Outlet camaraderie guests of honor at the Arc’s fall festival
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A Sunday festival on East Mountain was as much an exercise in socialization for people with disabilities as it was a fundraiser for one organization committed to helping them.
Hundreds gathered to dance, eat and try their luck at raffle games during the Arc of Northeastern Pennsylvania’s 15th annual Family Fun Fall Festival at Waldorf Park Social Club.
They cut the rug on the dance floor while the band the Wannabees covered oldies from bands like the Beatles and the Beach Boys.
The Scranton based nonprofit serves about 300 people with disabilities each week with employment, recreational and residential programs and more broad based advocacy work.
“We’re always trying to engage the consumers with each other,” said Arc Director Don Broderick, while the band played the upbeat polka tune “Just Because” about 50 feet away. “Our consumers seem to love to dance, and dancing is such a wonderful thing.”
Fifteen years ago, the Arc took a shot at a fall festival, said recreation and advocacy coordinator Mari Pizur. That year, they made maybe $500.
Over the years, it’s grown to draw hundreds of people.
“Yes, this is a fundraiser,
but no, it’s not a fundraiser,” Pizur said. “This is educational. It’s integration at its finest. It’s community coming to community, and it doesn’t get any better than that.”
About 400 people bought tickets to the all afternoon event, she said. Add to that, about 100 volunteers and staff who joined them under the tents and pavilion of the hillside venue. But it was the Arc clients, the people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and autism, who seemed to be having the most fun.
“The biggest part is that they know each other, and they get to know each other by going to these events and they look for each other,” said Cindy Rossi of Throop. Her son Matthew, 24, has Down syndrome and has been an Arc client for the past seven years.
While the Wannabees covered Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Down on the Corner” in the background, she explained that the Arc’s bowling program and other regular activities give him an outlet to grow friendships and a sense of camaraderie he might not otherwise have.