Ridge Area Arc welcomes The Rhythmic Arts Project (T.R.A.P.)

Ridge Area Arc welcomes The Rhythmic Arts Project (T.R.A.P.)

Tristan’s Legacy funding provides a new approach to learning 

AVON PARK – Ridge Area Arc received funding through Tristan’s Legacy and The Arc of Florida for the T.R.A.P. (The Rhythmic Arts Project) Drumming Program. Developed by Beach Boys drummer Eddie Tuduri following a spinal injury, The Rhythmic Arts Project is an educational program which utilizes drums and hand percussion instruments.

This unique curriculum educates individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities by embracing rhythm as a method to address basic life and learning skills as well as reading, writing and arithmetic. Ten standing drums as well as several hand percussion instruments were purchased for Ridge Area Arc to implement the T.R.A.P. drumming program.

“My staff are some of the most creative and caring individuals I have the pleasure to know and T.R.A.P. drumming is right up their alley,” said Kathleen Border, CEO. “They will be using T.R.A.P. to teach everything for arithmetic to hurricane preparation in a way that is way too much fun to feel like learning.”

Ridge Area Arc Tampa Bay Executive Director, Sheldon Hershman visited the Adult Day Training Center to introduce the curriculum and meet the consumers and Arc staff.

“Our organization has utilized the drumming program in conjunction with volunteers. We have implemented the drumming program across all of our programs, as it has been successful with all levels of skill,” said Hershman.

Polly Stannard, one of The Arc of Tampa Bay’s board members, has been the driving force behind bringing T.R.A.P. to The Arc Tampa Bay. Stannard is one of the volunteer drumming facilitators and provides on-site visits to grant recipients.

Stannard emphasized the universality of rhythm and its ability to unite and foster participation for all. At our core as humans, we recall our own mother’s heartbeat and connect with rhythm throughout our lives. Stannard highlighted the creative expression opportunity as well as teaching basic skills such as coordination, concentration and educational elements. These elements can include counting, colors, sequencing and virtually anything else adapted to rhythm and repetition.

Each session begins and ends with positive reinforcement and combines four senses: Visual – students see the lesson; Tactile – students feel the instrument; Auditory – students hear the lesson spoken out loud; Speech – students speak the lesson. Lessons can be taught one on one, but work best in a group environment when others can support and learn from one another. All skills levels are encouraged to participate and all progress is celebrated. There is even a special “drummer’s handshake” shared by participants.

Ridge Area Arc will be retrofitting an existing classroom to house the T.R.A.P. program and is currently seeking sponsors to offset the cost of soundproofing the room. The Arc is also looking for volunteers for this new program that is sure to be a highlight for consumers. To sponsor or volunteer, please call 863-452-1295.

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HOW YOU CAN HELP:
Sponsorships and volunteer opportunities are available. Call 863-452-1295.

ABOUT RIDGE AREA ARC

Ridge Area Arc is a private, not for profit 501(c)3 organization, which was founded in 1957 by Franklyn and Mary Ellen Ward. Ridge Area Arc provides an array of services and support for nearly 200 families and individuals and is devoted to promoting and improving supports and services for all people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Our vision is that every individual and family affected by intellectual disability in our service area has access to the information, advocacy, and skills they need to participate as active citizens of our democracy and active members of their community. We work to ensure that people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families have the supports they need to live an ordinary American life.

COURTESY PHOTOS

Ridge Area Arc consumers and staff participate in a T.R.A.P. session facilitated by Polly Stannard of The Arc Tampa Bay.

  The Rhythmic Arts Project is an educational program which utilizes drums and hand percussion instruments 

Arc receives The Tommy Wilson Memorial Grant

Arc receives The Tommy Wilson Memorial Grant

Arc receives The Tommy Wilson Memorial Grant

Funds to benefit community outreach recreation programs

AVON PARK — Ridge Area Arc applied for and received The Tommy Wilson Memorial Grant, through SHAPE America, for its community outreach programs. The grant was established by Dr. George T. Wilson and his wife, Irene in honor of their youngest son, Tommy.  Tommy was born with cerebral palsy and passed away in 1974 at the age of 16. Because of Tommy, Dr. Wilson became involved in recreation for developmentally disabled individuals. The Tommy Wilson Memorial Grant focuses on recreational pursuits for individuals with disabilities and funds must go directly to supporting individuals with disabilities in recreational activities.

Ridge Area Arc is dedicated to serving individuals with developmental disabilities and Special Sports Training and Recreational Services (STARS). STARS is a Ridge Area Arc community outreach program that focuses on sports and recreation for Arc’s consumers and individuals in the community. Special STARS serves children and adults with physical and mental disabilities in Highlands, Hardee, Okeechobee and southern Polk counties. Sports programs include softball, shuffleboard, bocce, horseshoes, volleyball, fishing, swimming, basketball, track and field, equestrian and cheerleading. 

Ridge Area Arc’s Special STARS/Community outreach is a unique program in the community. Each outing is disguised as “fun” and not only gives the opportunity for learning and community inclusion for the individuals served but also for the community’s better understanding of the unique obstacles faced on a daily basis by persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Special STARS serves several hundred individuals, nearly 40 percent of which are age 55 and over with two or more chronic diseases or conditions. This results in individuals being at an increased risk for mental and physical health issues due to a sedentary lifestyle.

Ansley Woods, Highlands County Area Director United Way Central Florida, submitted a nomination letter and praised the Special STARS program for its “unique ways of getting consumers up and moving, to keep them healthy and to have fun while doing it.”

“SHAPE America is a wonderful group of physical educators,” said Kathleen Border, Ridge Area Arc CEO. “We feel so blessed that they have recognized our great community outreach and our efforts in keeping our community healthy through sports and recreation.”

For more information regarding Ridge Area Arc or the Sports Training and Recreation (STARS) program at Arc please call Donna Scherlacher at 863-452-1295.

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COURTESY PHOTOS

The SFSC volleyball team taught some basic skill techniques to the athletes and then played a couple games with them.

Scherlacher is the new development director at Ridge Area Arc

Scherlacher is the new development director at Ridge Area Arc

For Immediate Release:

Media Contact: Kathleen Border

863-452-1295

Scherlacher is the new development director at Ridge Area Arc

Donna Scherlacher recently took on the role of development director at local non-profit Ridge Area Arc. As development director, Scherlacher is tasked with promoting and advocating for the people with intellectual and developmental disabilities that the agency serves through consistent marketing campaigns and an increased social media presence. She will create and implement fundraising events throughout the year, including the upcoming Escape to Kokomo fundraising dinner on April 13.

“We are excited to have Donna as part of our team,” said Kathleen Border, CEO. “Donna brings a unique blend of skills, everything from social media marketing to out of the box thinking; even her artistic abilities will be a big asset to the agency. In her first two days I had her tying scarfs around lamp posts across the county, so I know she is up for anything.”

Scherlacher is a Florida native and mother of two, born and raised in Miami. She is a University of Florida graduate with a bachelor’s degree in graphic design. Scherlacher previously worked as the multi-media director for the Highlands News-Sun. She began her newspaper career in 1992 as an advertising artist, and then moved into the newsroom incorporating digital and social media as well as leading the production department.

“I am so excited to take on a new challenge at this point in my life and thrilled for the opportunity to work with such an incredible organization,” Scherlacher said. “If there is one thing I learned from being at a community newspaper, it is that giving back is exceptionally important for our future. My new position gives me an opportunity to use the things I’ve learned over the years to support Arc and all of its non-profit partners.”

Ridge Area Arc is a private, not for profit 501(c)3 organization, which was founded in 1957 by Franklyn and Mary Ellen Ward. Ridge Area Arc provides an array of services and support for nearly 200 families and individuals across Highlands and its surrounding counties. The agency is devoted to promoting and improving supports and services for all people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Our vision is that every individual and family affected by intellectual disability in our service area has access to the information, advocacy, and skills they need to participate as active citizens of our democracy and active members of their community. For more information about Ridge Area Arc, please call 863-452-1295.

Scherlacher is the new development director at Ridge Area Arc

Scarf Bomb Explodes in Local Downtown Areas to Raise Awareness

For Immediate Release:

Media Contact: Donna Scherlacher

Development Director

Ridge Area Arc

863-452-1295

Scarf Bomb Explodes in Local Downtown Areas to Raise Awareness

Ridge Area Arc and Heartland Horses Equine Activities want to warn Highlands County that a scarf bomb has exploded or is coming to a downtown near you. Main Street in Avon Park and Devane Park in Lake Placid have already been scarf bombed as part of Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month. Sebring scarf bombing will take place on Monday, March 18. 

The agencies employees tied scarfs to light posts and trees in an effort to raise awareness for the several hundred individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities served in Highlands and the surrounding areas. People are encouraged to walk the areas, pick out a scarf and take a selfie with their new scarf on, tag their photos to the Ridge Area Arc Facebook page or on Twitter at Ridge Area Arc #RAArc and #DDaware19.

“Scarf bombing is a warm and fuzzy way for us to raise awareness for the people we serve,” said Kathleen Border, Ridge Area Arc CEO. “Whether it’s volunteering in the community for other non-profits or competing in Special STARS activities, our consumers do so many great things throughout the year but March is the month that we are able to collectively celebrate our victories.” 

Ridge Area Arc and Heartland Horse were also honored with proclamations during the recent city council meetings in Avon Park, Sebring and Lake Placid. The elected officials in all three cities read proclamations that included the verbiage, whereas it is necessary and appropriate that local communities such as ours support the mission and purpose of Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month and encourage their citizens to recognize and respect this important commemoration. 

For more information about Ridge Area Arc or its programs, please call 863-452-1295 or for information about Heartland Horse please call 863-452-0006. 

Cutline: Beau Cooper and Devyn Cooper of Lake Placid show off the St. Patrick’s Day scarfs they picked at Devane Park after  the Scarf Bombing.

Publix serves Ridge Area Arc in community outreach

Publix serves Ridge Area Arc in community outreach

AVON PARK – More than 100 volunteers from 10 area Publix supermarkets gathered at Ridge Area Arc on Tuesday, April 2 to participate in the 2019 Publix Serves Day. Representatives from district 25 arrived bright and early with tools including pressure washers, shovels and rakes. They also came with positive attitudes and a willingness to work. 

Publix Serves Day is a company-wide commitment that brings Publix’s service mission to life  — to help communities grow and thrive. Each year, the company partners with over 150 nonprofit organizations, allowing Publix associates plenty of opportunities to volunteer.

District 25 was given $999 to use for a charity focusing in the areas of hunger, homelessness, youth and education. They chose Ridge Area Arc as their project in the area of adult education, specifically the Adult Day Training program (ADT). Store managers coordinated and organized their teams to complete jobs that were pre-determined by Ridge Area Arc’s CEO, Kathleen Border. 

“Anyone in a non-profit understands that our money is always focused toward the people we serve and that leave very few discretionary dollars,” said Border. “What an incredible gift to be given hours of volunteer work by hundreds of Publix employees. They accomplished things for us that would have taken months and months to tackle. We are forever grateful.”

Volunteers also worked on projects for Heartland Horses Equine Activities and Learning, Inc. (HHEAL) which provides free equine assisted riding and interaction for children and adults with mental, physical, developmental, emotional, and behavioral challenges. HHEAL leases their land from Arc and is considered a partner based on their similar missions to serve people with disabilities.  

“The electric fence project was on our bucket list for some time but was put on the back burner due to lack of resources,” said Claire Langway, HHEAL Director. “The electric fence is one additional level of safety and security for our horses. These caring individuals came with such a level of professionalism and skill that we were just blown away.”

District Manager Edd Dean kicked off the 5th annual Publix Serves Day with an enthusiastic introduction and explained the spirit behind the project. “It is our mission to be responsible citizens in our community, this is just one way we serve our community,” he said. 

Lakeland Division Vice-President, Sam Pero was on hand at the event. Pero thanked staff volunteers and made note that over 8,000 Publix employees in seven states are participating in the company-wide effort.

Some of the tasks completed by the teams of volunteers include: Pressure washing all of the walkways, the Eckstadt House and the front of the ADT building; Removing Spanish moss from surrounding trees, trimming all of the overgrown vegetation and landscaping; Scraping and overall cleaning of the floor inside ADT which will soon be used for a new purpose; Cleaning out storage sheds at the Arc and Heartland Horses; On the Heartland Horses campus, an electrified wire was installed on the existing fence for safety and security and the storage trailer was cleaned and repainted. 

As result of 500+ man-power hours, both campuses look clean and refreshed and are ready for a new season of serving their consumers.

About Ridge Area Arc

Ridge Area Arc is a private, not for profit 501(c)3 organization, which was founded in 1957 by Franklyn and Mary Ellen Ward. Ridge Area Arc provides an array of services and support for nearly 200 families and individuals and is devoted to promoting and improving supports and services for all people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Our vision is that every individual and family affected by intellectual disability in our service area has access to the information, advocacy, and skills they need to participate as active citizens of our democracy and active members of their community. We work to ensure that people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families have the supports they need to live an ordinary American life. The campus is located at 4352 Independence Street in Avon Park.

Heartland Horses Equine Activities & Learning (HHEAL)

Provides free equine assisted riding and interaction to significantly improve the lives of children and adults with mental, physical, developmental, emotional, and  HHEAL believes that experiencing and riding horses can significantly improve the lives of individuals with physical, emotional, or developmental challenges behavioral challenges. The ranch is located at 4305 Independence Street in Avon Park. For more information call Call (863) 452-0006.