8th Annual I. Rice & Company Golfing for Good Tournament

golf-new-butThe Arc of Atlantic County has announced the 8th Annual I. Rice & Company Golfing for Good Tournament will be held on Thursday, September 15th at Linwood Country Club in Linwood. Registration begins at 7:30 AM followed by a 9:00 AM shotgun start.

Proceeds from Golfing for Good will directly benefit The Arc of Atlantic County’s program which provides services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) in our community.

The event started when golfing buddies and Downbeach residents, Joe DiMedio, Steve Kuhl , and Irv Singer, decided to tap into their business contacts and resources to make a meaningful difference in the community, by enlisting the support and assistance of many long-time friends and local businesses and bringing them all together for a day of golf.

“I. Rice is proud to support The Arc of Atlantic County and their mission,” said Steve Kuhl, President and CEO of I. Rice and Company. “We have raised $412,000 for this worthy cause since creating the event. The money has been used to support The Arc’s recreation programs to help their consumers stay fit and healthy.”

“We’re grateful to Steve Kuhl and Joe DiMedio of I. Rice and Company, along with Irv Singer, for their commitment to The Arc each year,” said Pat Jones, CEO of The Arc of Atlantic County. “The event is a major fundraiser for our organization, raising money to fund our recreation programs, while introducing new people to the work that The Arc of Atlantic County does.”

Cost is $175 per person and includes awards luncheon. A limited number of spaces are available. Register online at http://www.arcatlantic.org or call The Arc at (609) 485-0800 ext 141.

The tournament prizes include:
• Top Three Foursome Finishers
• Longest Drive (Men’s / Women’s)
• Closest to the Pin on 4 Par 3s
• Two hole-in-one chances sponsored by Boardwalk Honda and Lilliston Ford
• 50/50 and Raffle Drawings for over $11,000 in prizes
• Putting Contest & “Dunk It In the Dinghy”
• Live Auction opportunities to include: Philadelphia Eagles Tickets, Golf Foursomes, Casino Overnight Stays/Dinners, and more

Sponsorship and Volunteer opportunities are available. Visit arcatlantic.org for more information. or contact Calum Kennedy at 609-485-0800 ext. 137 or ckennedy@arcatlantic.org.

About I. Rice and Company: I. Rice & Company, Inc. was founded in 1884 and is based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I. Rice & Company, Inc. manufactures food ingredients, flavors and bases, used in the manufacture of baked goods, flavor bases, ice flavors, beverages and other ingredients used for bakeries, ice cream, novelty ice, and confectionery industries; by institutional, soda system, and gourmet specialty distributors; in institutional, retail, and in-store bakeries; and in ice cream toppings and specialty ice cream ingredients.

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Community garden helps The Arc of Atlantic County Consumers grow

gardenParticipants in The Arc of Atlantic County’s Adult Training program gathered on a hot and sunny day to do some gardening in Atlantic City. Despite the heat, spirits were high as fresh herbs and vegetables were harvested from the community garden located next to the Hamilton Memorial United Methodist Church on Arctic Avenue. There was an abundance of potatoes, carrots and kale. The garden is already producing amazing results, not only because of the healthy food being grown, but also the opportunity for career training, volunteerism and personal growth that it brings to The Arc’s participating consumers.

The garden offers participants the chance to gain the skills needed to plant and grow healthy food, and even ways to prepare it. Volunteers keep the beds clear of weeds and also learn when vegetables are ripe for picking. That day, they gathered baskets of vegetables and took a “smell tour” of the garden to identify the many herbs being grown.

The garden is the result of support from the church, AtlantiCare’s Growing Green initiative, and Cookie Till’s A Work in Progress foundation. The community garden is thriving thanks to the participating partners who have come together to create and support this special place. Surrounded by flowers and herbs, the garden has become an urban oasis that shows how local organizations can have a big impact on the community.

According to Laura Engelmann, manager Community Health and Wellness, AtlantiCare, working with the volunteers is very rewarding. “Our organization is dedicated to promoting healthy lifestyles,” Engelmann said. “The volunteers learn about growing their own food and how delicious fresh picked vegetables can be.”

The Arc of Atlantic County is dedicated to providing opportunities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) by keeping them connected to their community. Working in the garden has allowed participants to discover the joys of gardening and healthy eating while developing skills that can help them find employment.

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The Arc volunteer Michael Chanese shows off the rainbow carrots he picked in the community garden.

Holiday Wishes Fulfilled – 100 Percent!

Jeannine Arrigo from The Richard Stockton College's Provosts Office with gifts she and her department brought for the family they adopted.

Jeannine Arrigo from The Richard Stockton College’s Provosts Office with gifts she and her department brought for the family they adopted.

The holidays start early at The Arc of Atlantic County – October, in fact – when our Social Services staff begin their annual appeal for Holiday Partners, a program that matches some of our community’s most caring and compassionate people with our community’s most vulnerable citizens.  Holiday Partners invites participants to adopt a family and help fulfill their holiday wish list, or make a donation so The Arc can fulfill their wishes. This year, more than 60 families caring for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities at home and struggling to make ends meet signed up for assistance, knowing they would never be able to provide their loved ones with the kind of holidays they wish for.

Our hearts are filled with gratitude as we announce that ALL families who signed up for help will have their wishes fulfilled this Christmas, thanks to an outpouring of generosity from our community! 

But a few weeks ago, things did not look so good.  With only two weeks until the Holiday Partners deadline, we still had 34 families that needed to be adopted.   We put out a plea via social media, the local newspapers, and to our own contacts. And WOW did you heed our call!

On Wednesday morning, children with I/DD and their siblings will wake up to piles of gifts under their Christmas tree containing exactly what they wished for.  When parents stopped by The Arc to pick up their gifts, they said without this program, they never would have been able to fulfill their child’s wishes. 

From the bottom of our hearts, THANK YOU to each and every individual and organization that contributed to our Holiday Partners appeal this year.  The families you’ve helped are faced with challenges each and every day. Many are single-parent households.  Some are caring for multiple children with disabilities. Many have large families, many are living in small apartments. For some families, it is the parent who has the intellectual disability.  You have given so much more than presents – you’ve given people faith that they are not alone in their struggles, and that their community recognizes and cares about the challenges they face. 

Happy holidays, from everyone at The Arc of Atlantic County!

 

August Story Time: Celebrating the Lives of People with I/DD

We just wrapped up our August staff meeting where more than 60 Arc administrative staff and management gathered to share stories and learn from each other. We want to share some of these stories with you and hope you find them as inspiring as we do!

  • When was the last time you looked forward to a trip to the bank? For most of us, it’s just a necessary chore, but for the ladies at our Galloway II apartments, it’s become one of the many highlights of their week thanks to the friendships they’ve made with employees at their local TD Bank.  The bank staff and residents have become so fond of each other, in fact, that when one of the tellers was getting ready to move away, she actually visited the ladies at their home to say goodbye and stayed a whole three hours!! Now THAT’S a community connection!
  • Birthdays are the best days, especially at The Arc! Two residents of our Roosevelt group home had a very special day when staff threw them a joint birthday party. But the best part was the reaction from the families who attended the party. They were touched by how the staff cared so much about their loved ones, enough to throw them a fantastic birthday party.  They were grateful that their family member was so respected and appreciated. This is another example of how seriously Arc employees take their job of helping people live meaningful lives, and how our residents and staff are like a family.
  • Family group home tours:  Recently a group of parents of people with I/DD had the opportunity to tour three of The Arc’s residential programs to see first-hand what life is like in our group homes and supervised apartments.  For families who have cared for their loved one at home all their lives and are considering placing them in a group home, it can be an incredibly scary thing.  Will they be happy? Will the staff treat them well? Will they have a real life? So many questions were answered on this tour, as we heard throughout the night and even after as parents reached out to express their gratitude for the experience.  As they met residents and saw how happy they are, how rich and full their lives are, and how much the staff care for them, the look of relief on their faces was clear.  Shereen MacDonald, a Supportive Living coordinator for The Arc, compared the visit to seeing the Grand Canyon.  “You can see all the photos and hear all the stories you want, but until you actually visit the Grand Canyon yourself, you cannot truly appreciate it.”

The Arc is planning to host several tours for families throughout the year. If you have a loved one with I/DD and are considering placing them in an Arc group home, we’d love to include you on a future tour. Send an email expressing your interest to Deborah Jewell at djjewell@arcatlantic.org.

Zumba Class Helps Arc Clients Get Fit & Have Fun

One of our goals at The Arc of Atlantic County is to promote good health and fitness every chance we can.  With the fitness dance class Zumba taking over the nation the past few years, last year staff introduced the class to our clients through Adult Evening Classes and in our ATC, a day program for adults with developmental disabilities.

For the past year, ATC participants have been enjoying weekly Zumba classes hosted in The Arc of Atlantic County’s multipurpose room with help from a DVD.  As fun as that was for the participants, we knew they’d have much more fun in a community-based Zumba class with a real instructor.  Recently, the group had the chance to move their Zumba classes outside of the agency to Good Shepherd Methodist Church in Northfield, NJ for a chance to Zumba with other community members and a certified instructor.

Zumba instructor Michelle Gano, who teaches at Good Shepherd and also hosts our Zumba Adult Evening Class at The Arc several times a year, was more than willing to help our ATC clients throughout the month of August by inviting them to classes at Good Shepherd.  Kathi Lentz, The Arc’s operations director of family support, paid the class a visit today and got some great video of the group showing off their moves.  Watch this clip to see how The Arc’s clients have mastered so many of the Zumba moves, and how fitness helps bring people of all abilities together! (P.S. We’re looking for another site to host Zumba classes in the community once August is over – if you have information that could help us, please contact Kathi Lentz at klentz@arcatlantic.org or 609-485-0800 ext. 164.)

Life Lessons for Teachers and Their Students

By Nicole Terzakis, Director of Social Services at The Arc of Atlantic County

For the past three years, Dr. Shelly Meyers has been teaching a Stockton College Graduate level Special Education class at The Arc for teachers in school for their Masters in Special Education. She lectures for the first half, and in the second half the student teachers work with Arc clients on academic and functional life skills that are important to the individual.  This program is so valuable for the students and for the people we support because they’re getting 1:1 and sometimes 2:1 assistance with learning how to cook, build social skills and develop math, reading and writing skills using iPads.

The Spring 2012 semester’s class was called “Survey of Moderate to Severe Developmental Disabilities”. The student teachers didn’t really know what to expect when they walked in the door. Only a few of them had worked with Arc clients before. For the others, their only experience with someone with a disability was the children with learning disabilities in their regular education classes. At the end of the semester, students shared their comments with The Arc about how meaningful this experience was for them.  Here are some of their comments:

Frank learns to cook with help from a student teacher.

“I think The Arc lessons are extremely important in understanding moderate disabilities and need to be a part of the course. I can’t imagine learning about this kind of experience I am having through a textbook or lecture. I think the best way to facilitate our class and future classes is to keep The Arc part of the course.”

“The past few weeks have not only been very emotional and entertaining, but also educational. The first thing that I have learned is raising a child with a disability is very demanding and stressful. Parents of children with disabilities are in need of support for their wellness; however, services are often unavailable due to lack of funding or if parents don’t know their own rights. This is where teachers need to step up to the plate to be the parent’s best advocate.”

“Estelle had an amazing time using the iPad. She was laughing and smiling so much that

Estelle helps prepare a meal. Thanks to this course, she has built confidence in the kitchen and shares her new skills and meals with her housemates.

I couldn’t help laughing with her at her loving nature and excitement for something so many of us take for granted; the simple skills of spelling a word, doing a puzzle or simple motor skills to use the iPad.”

These are just a few. The clients look forward to coming each week. We are done for the summer and they are bummed about that. But starting again in the fall, the students will be back on Monday nights. This class is open to anyone who receives services from The Arc – adults or children. Individuals must find their own transportation to The Arc office and everyone eats a healthy dinner that they have prepared while there.  For more details, please contact Nicole Terzakis at 609-485-0800 x 201 or nterzakis@arcatlantic.org.

Featuring the Photography of Robert Cheeseman

There is a certain sense of comfort that comes from being behind a camera at a social event, especially for those of us who are on the shy side. Although photography is certainly an outlet for creativity, it can also provide a seamless escape from those uncomfortable situations we sometimes find ourselves in when attending social events.

Arc Supportive Living client Robert Cheeseman, who once was reluctant to participate in Arc activities because of his shyness, has found his comfort zone in his role as the unofficial photographer for many of the activities happening at The Arc. Robert has photographed the Special Olympics basketball finals, the Supportive Living Program’s progressive dinner, a trip to the park, and most recently the Arc Artists’ exhibit at the Ocean City Flower Show this past weekend held in conjunction with the Ocean City Fine Arts League.

Enjoy Robert’s Flickr album and let us know what you think in the comments!