By SHERIDAN ROY
Plainville’s PARC, a coalition that supports people of all ages who live with disabilities with educational programs and activities, is gearing up for their annual spring dance on March 30 at Nuchies Restaurant, 164 Central St. in Bristol .
The event includes dinner, dancing, prizes and presentation of awards.
“It’s a great time to get dressed up, enjoy a nice dinner at Nuchies, and welcome the new season,” said executive director Erica Donovan.
The John Sullivan award, named after a former PARC board member, is presented annually to one Plainville individual and one Plainville business in celebration of community spirit, volunteerism, activism and being overall community-minded.
“John was sort of a fundraising master, and he knew that there has to be a lot of depth in fundraising,” said Donovan. “He knew you really need to care about what you’re giving support to.”
For the current PARC board, choosing award winners each year is not a quick decision.
“It’s something the board thinks long and hard about, and it’s the only time the board ever gets into disagreements just because there are so many incredible people who help us who are deserving of the award,” said Donovan.
This year’s John Sullivan awards will be presented to Marilyn Badner and to The Office Works.
Badner, a former board member, now plays a different role at PARC. She runs the aging with disability programs through a grant from the United Way of West Central Connecticut. It helps provide programs for senior members who may not be able to participate in other programs within PARC.
“They are still kept involved in PARC but have their own kind of club,” said Donovan. “We have seen measurable results in socialization and verbal skills of those members. It shows us how we are effectively making positive impacts on the lives of members.”
Donovan said The Office Works does “an awful lot for this community, and quietly.”
The winners of the John Sullivan awards are notified ahead of time, but there is one award that Donovan said is “like the Grammy’s” at PARC—the PARC star of the year award. That award is kept secret until the dinner. It is given to a member who has shown dedication and commitment to PARC over the last year.
“There’s a lot of work that goes into keeping the place running, and the award goes to someone who really gets that—someone who is enthusiastic about PARC, and is an advocate for the organization,” said Donovan.
There are about 25 active members at PARC. Members partake in programs such as healthy cooking, where everyone puts together a menu, takes a trip to Gnazzo’s Food Center, purchases the ingredients and cooks a meal. They work on crafts, learn yoga, learn how to select ripe produce, make transactions and much more.
Programs are tailored to accommodate individual needs. To learn more or to purchase tickets to the dinner, call (860) 747-0316 or visit www.PARCdisabilitiesCT.org.