Holiday spirit strong at Arc

DOWNEY - There are many events and parties around the holiday season, but it's also a special time at The Arc Los Angeles & Orange Counties. The Arc engages in many acts of giving as it supports almost 400 people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.A few examples of the last six weeks include: A Thanksgiving lunch hosted by the Downey Los Amigos Kiwanis for 300 people at The Arc's Reagan Banquet and Conference Center. The Arc's Shopping Project starts in early November when The Arc staff take over 100 participants Christmas shopping (two at a time) and they bring their own money and purchase gifts for their family members. It is used as a training time as we teach skills inherent in any shopping trip. It is then onto wrapping and the staff assists each Arc participant in wraping their own presents. Almost 400 presents are wrapped prior to Christmas; a wonderful feat but also empowering to those giving the gifts. The Arc is blessed to have some "Secret Santas" who adopt several of our programs and buy gifts for each participant. The result is Christmas under The Arc Christmas tree for 60 participants! The Tree Lighting Ceremony was hosted by Douglas, one of our participants who sang carols and brought joy to everyone. He was almost outdone by vice president Steve Roberson, who brought his guitar and wonderful voice and sang carols to everyone. In the middle of the season, The Arc's annual appeal campaign is underway which helps to fund vital Arc programs throughout the year. The Arc's Picture Day occurs in early December courtesy of the Ibbetson family, where everyone gets their photo taken which is then framed and sent home for the holiday - a matter of respect and pride for everyone. The season starts to wind down when the Kooiker Family (one of the founding families of The Arc) host a lunch for everyone with all the trimmings of a full meal. This year, meals were served by Soroptimist International of Downey. We wrap up the season with our annual New Year's Eve party on Dec. 31 in The Arc's packaging plant. A huge party is held in the afternoon with cider, balloons and even a Ryan Seacreast Countdown. The Arc then takes a break to prepare for The Arc Walk for Independence on Saturday, March 23 at Stonewood Center (details at It has truly been a wonder year and season at The Arc. For more information about The Arc check out their website at

********** Published: December 27, 2012 - Volume 11 - Issue 37