Valentine dance provides social opportunities for a special group

Dear Editor,

ARC Rutland Area, an organization that works with citizens with developmental disabilities and their families (short for Advocacy, Resources and Community) wants to say “Thank you” to Rutland Lodge of Elks #345 for again having sponsored a Valentine barbecue and dance for approximately 70 members, family and friends of ARC Rutland Area on Sunday, Feb. 15. We would like to give special thanks to Brian Gaura, Carolyn Ravenna, Pat Farley, Dave Sears and all other helpers at the Elks for making this party happen, from decoration to cooking to serving. And if you see our members who helped with food, Bette Parker, and beverage servers Bob Poquette and Terry Stevens; be sure to extend a heart-y thank you to them as well.

Socializing at the dances brings health to the body and mind. Having an opportunity to dress up, go dancing and say “I love you” was a wonderful Valentine’s Day gift.

ARC Rutland Area continues to advocate for individuals with developmental disabilities and their families by providing five dances or events a year; a representative payee program to help individuals with their finances so they stay in stable living conditions; advocacy support for adult individuals, parents, and siblings of children with disabilities, where folks can speak up for their needs; and resources and referrals for anyone calling for information.

Some people believe holding a party geared towards people with developmental disabilities is segregation, but when you see the room full of red, white and pink, and people laughing and dancing and so joyful to be with their friends, I believe differently. I believe at that moment, this group of individuals was with their friends doing what they wanted to be doing: having fun in their community.

There are many reasons why these dances are important. People are able to practice their social skills and make new friends, or get reacquainted with old ones. They are able to work on their Circle of Supports and talk about their goals. Even if some don’t dance, they had to move to get to the hall. This activity has various aspects that are helpful to a person with developmental disabilities’ life, it is not “just” a dance.

Give us a call at 775-1370 and learn more about ARC Rutland Area.


Lisa S. Lynch, Executive Director

ARC-Rutland Area is a United Way member agency

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