The Arc Otsego was awarded $64,000 from the Trustee Management Board of NYSARC Trust Services on June 19 to support Arc Otsego’s guardianship and recreation programs, according to Seneca Baldwin, director of community relations at Arc Otsego.
“Our No. 1 priority is the individuals and their happiness, and we want to make sure their quality of life is the best it can be,” Baldwin said. “Without this money, we wouldn’t be able to supply the individuals with those opportunities.”
The Arc Otsego is a nonprofit organization supporting people with disabilities in Otsego County. The group used $49,000 of the grant to provide guardianship services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities who would not otherwise have a legal guardian or advocate, according to a Tuesday media release.
Supported by chapter staff and community volunteers, the Arc’s guardianship program currently provides guardianship support and services to 10 people. It is ready to assist two more as a Standby or Alternate Standby guardian, according to the release.
Arc Otsego will use the remaining $15,000 to support new recreational opportunities. Arc Otsego plans to use the recreation grant funds to support the venue, DJ and refreshments for its four annual dances — Valentine’s, Spring Fling, Halloween and Holiday Party — which are open to the public and average more than 150 attendees per dance, according to the release.
The grant will fund a band, Flame, to play at Arc Otsego’s annual meeting and awards banquet. It will also fund the agency’s Fit & Fun grant program, through which individuals receiving at least one service from the agency can apply for up to $250 for events and activities such as day trips, gym memberships, overnight camping trips and attendance to sporting events and theme parks, according to the release.
Applications for the program will be accepted until Sept. 27.
Last year 32 people used the Fit and Fun grant, and the Arc is hoping to have just as many, if not more, use the grant this year, Baldwin said. By the end of summer, Arc Otsego will decide what to do with any remaining money. If there is any money left over, they will use it for other recreational events, Baldwin said.
The Arc asked participants to take a picture of themselves doing whatever they used their $250 for, and their joy makes everything worth it, said Baldwin.
“The happiness that you see is so exciting,” she said. “All of the hard work that we put in, just to see the smile on their face, is amazing.”
Shweta Karikehalli, staff writer, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 607-441-7221. Follow her @DS_ShwetaK on Twitter.