PARC making plans for 60th anniversary walk-a-thon

By SHERIDAN CYR

STAFF WRITER

Plainville Adult Resource Center, PARC, is celebrating 60 years of providing support services for people suffering from intellectual disabilities. In honor of one of the founding members of PARC, the group is gearing up for its 17th annual Helen Coughlin Memorial Walk in Norton Park on Saturday, Oct. 14.

When PARC was first founded, there was little information about managing intellectual disabilities. Coughlin’s son was born with disabilities, so she and other founding members created what began simply as a “play group” for kids with developmental disabilities. It has grown far beyond that in its 60 years of service.

“No one really knew back then what to do with them as far as recreation and socialization,” explained Executive Director Erica Donovan. “And then, PARC was born, as an opportunity to provide them with recreational, physical and social activities.”

This year’s fundraising goal stands at $16,000. PARC hopes to achieve this milestone by connecting with 60 walkathon teams representing schools, businesses, clubs, community organizations, families, churches, individuals and more. Sponsor signs are also being sold.

“One hundred percent of all money raised by any of our fundraisers goes directly towards the services we provide to our members,” said Donovan.

Different this year is PARC’s chili contest, which in the past had an entry fee for members of the public looking to sample some recipes. The fee has been eliminated this year, however people are welcome to sample and cast their ballots for a small donation.

To enter the chili contest, contact PARC’s office before Oct. 10. Simply bring your crockpot, and PARC will supply serving utensils and bowls.

“The event is just a whole lot of fun, and we’ve always had a great turnout in the past,” said Donovan.

PARC currently has 25 active members with intellectual disabilities that they service. They are constantly putting on exciting social events for their members to enjoy and also to learn in, for example art programs, healthy cooking, shopping, life skills and much more. They often go on trips together like mini golf or bowling. PARC’s member services go on and on.

Registration for the walkathon will begin at 9 a.m. with opening ceremonies starting at 10 a.m. The walk will kick off, followed by music, food and a chance to win some gift baskets. Rain date for the event is the following day, Oct. 15.

For more information or inquiries about the chili contest, call PARC’s office at (860) 747-0316 or email edonovan@parcdisabilitiesct.org.