The Arc of Delaware is celebrating 60 years serving people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. At an evening celebration and awards ceremony, friends and supporters of The Arc perused numerous historical documents highlighting the work of The Arc over the past six decades.
The theme of the evening was "A Storied Past and a Shining Future," alluding to the 60th anniversary being a "diamond" anniversary. The program began with an energetic performance by Joyful Noise, a chorus of adults with physical and intellectual disabilities. Master of Ceremonies Dr. Lanny Edelsohn then introduced special guest Rita Landgraf, Secretary of the Department of Health and Social Services, for opening remarks.
Pat Heather, recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award, is with John Moore.
State Representative Melanie George Smith, recipient of the Legislative Advocate of the Year Award.
She explained how her career helping people with disabilities started. Landgraf said an encounter with a a 12 year old disabled youth in her neighborhood, who was taunted, teased and ostracized by her peers, turned into a lifetime passion to help people with disabilities live in a community that embraced them.
Landgraf has been a long time supporter of the Arc and was pleased to be part of the anniversary celebration. The honorary chair for the evening, State Representative Melanie George Smith, received the Legislative Advocate of the Year Award for her work supporting the rights of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The Distinguished Community Service Award recognizing Delaware Foundation Reaching Citizens (DFRC) with intellectual disabilities was presented to Tony Glenn, DFRC's Executive Director, for the organization's continued support of The Arc through a partnership spanning more than 50 years.
A Lifetime Achievement Award was given to Pat Heather, who has worked tirelessly to improve the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Delaware for more than 55 years. Heather successfully organized The Arc's group home monitoring program in Kent and Sussex counties and is an active, long-term member of The Arc's Board of Directors. Heather was also a founding member of The Arc in Kent County and has repeatedly served as President and Vice President of The Arc's Mid-Del Committee. She also volunteers her time to numerous organizations throughout the state.
Tony Glenn, DFRC's Executive Director, is recognized with the Distinguished Community Service Award. He is with Delaware State Housing and Social Services Secretary Rita Landgraf.
The Joyful Noise Choir performs at The Arc's Anniversary Celebration.
The Arc of Delaware, founded in 1953, is a statewide, nonprofit organization devoted to improving and enhancing the quality of life for more than 30,000 Delawareans with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. The Arc of Delaware supports its mission and its clients by providing housing, employment, case management and outreach, advocacy, self-advocacy and social programs. Through HUD's Section 811 Supportive Housing for Persons with Disabilities program, the ARC receives funding to develop and subsidize rental housing with the availability of supportive services for very low- and extremely low-income adults with disabilities. For further information about the Arc, please visit www.arcde.org or call the Mid-Del Committee of The Arc of Delaware at (302) 736-6140.