by: Donna Hayes
Posted: Nov 15, 2023 / 07:28 AM EST
Updated: Nov 15, 2023 / 07:28 AM EST
GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — 70 years ago, parents of children with intellectual and developmental disabilities wanted to find a way to change the public’s perception of their kids.
They wanted everyone to know their sons and daughters had extraordinary potential just like other children. From that grassroots movement, the Arc of Greensboro came to life, and with the help of the Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro, it’s still proving the possibilities are endless.
The day before Halloween, lines of cars and people in costumes filled the parking lot of the Arc of Greensboro, but this wasn’t an ordinary Halloween party. This trunk or treat invited the public in to mix with people who have intellectual and developmental disabilities so they could see they’re just like everyone else.
“Our people are often marginalized and isolated, so to provide a place where not only they can come but we can invite the community in is tremendously important,” says Jamie Rauschkolb, an employee at the Arc. She says it’s “not just for us and the people we serve but for our entire community cohesively.”
This was the second year the Arc sponsored the Halloween event. Former employee Nancy Overby came back with her son. “It’s important because without those events, Nicholas and his peers would not have anything to do, and this is a great way for them to get together and just be involved.”
Getting people involved and out in the community is one of the Arc’s biggest goals. In addition to events such as the trunk or treat, the organization helps adults with disabilities find jobs and navigate challenges they may face after being hired. The agency’s executive director says it’s important for both participants as well as the general public.Check out the difference Community Foundations are making here in the Piedmont Triad
“We serve a lot of folks that once they finish school, they don’t have a lot of options, historically there haven’t been a lot of options,” says Lindy Garnette. “So we’re here again, to provide a community for folks, and also not only to provide for the folks that we directly serve but to help the wider community understand why it’s important to be inclusive and to have folks with disabilities out with everybody else, doing what everybody else is doing, and it’s good for all of us when we see different kinds of folks doing things where people realize, our folks go out and have a good time like everybody else.”
The Arc of Greensboro also provides sports such as adaptive tennis, bowling and pickleball to help get people involved. They go on hikes and learn life skills so they can be as independent as possible.
The Arc also operates the ArcBarks Dog Treat Bakery. All of the bakers have disabilities. They prepare the dough, cut out the treats, box them and package them to ship all over the country. You can get more information at www.arcbarks.com.
The Arc of Greensboro is located on Battleground Court just off Battleground Avenue and West Wendover. You can get more information about the available programs at www.arcg.org.