SIDNEY — Shelby County Arc will be using their Match Day gifts to enrich the lives of children and adults with developmental disabilities. The organization offers a variety of social and recreational programs, which were enjoyed by 130 individuals from every part of Shelby County in the last year.
Three of the programs are evening events held monthly for three different age groups: young children, teens and adults. These “Nights Out” have become a popular time to meet up with friends and include themed activities and a meal.
While these programs directly benefit those with developmental disabilities, they indirectly benefit another important group: families and caregivers.
“What’s nice about these programs is that they give everyone a night out, not just those with disabilities” said Kendra Hamaker, executive director of Shelby County Arc. “In many instances, dropping someone off at one of our events gives parents and caregivers a few hours of respite time to go and do something for themselves, too.”
The organization also offers two camps each summer. Camp Dalanda, an overnight camp for middle schoolers, matches each camper with a high school volunteer who is responsible for making sure their camper is able to participate as fully as possible in all activities, including swimming, fishing, horseback riding and paddle boating. A day camp offers a week of crafts, activities and field trips to school-age students.
Shelby County Arc also coordinates a six-month bowling league and two evenings each of swimming and roller skating throughout the year. The swimming and skating events are open to the families of those with disabilities as well.
“Everyone seems to have their favorites when it comes to the events they look forward to attending,” said Hamaker. “In addition to having a good time, participating in these programs can help to increase independence, boost confidence, develop social skills and provide opportunities to try new things.”
Aside from its social and recreational activities, Shelby County Arc awards grants to multiple disability classrooms in Sidney and Shelby County for items that support students. One classroom received a software program that aided teachers and students in learning sign language so they could better communicate with a classmate.
“Thanks to the thoughtfulness of the Community Foundation and the generosity of its donors, Match Day is going to be an exciting day for the whole community,” said Hamaker.
Gifts must be made payable to the Community Foundation of Shelby County with: Match/Arc noted on the memo or in an accompanying note or form. Details and forms are available at the Community Foundation website at www.commfoun.com or from Shelby County Arc. Gifts must be received on or before Nov. 28 to be eligible for up to $5,000 in matching money.