The ARC celebrated developmental disability awareness month at the park

Published 7:00 am Friday, March 31, 2017

Wednesday, visitors of Friendship Park might have seen an abundance of joyful people, but this was no ordinary party. Upbeat music could be heard from Highway 11 and the aroma of hamburgers and hot dogs filled the air as The Arc of Pearl River County held a fun-filled day to raise awareness about intellectual and developmental disabilities.
“I believe it is very important for the community to be aware of people with these disabilities so they can understand and become friends with them,” Susette Morrow, President of The Arc of Pearl River County, said.
In recognition of March being developmental disability awareness month, Arc members and volunteers participated in a variety of activities, such as dancing to music by DJ Blue Phoenix, playing on the large playground, watching K-9 demonstrations by Pearl River County Sheriff David Allison and enjoying a BBQ lunch provided by Mississippi Power.
While the participants celebrated, a surprise guest spread joy among the festivities.
“Everyone was excited to see the Easter Bunny. They all, one by one, went up and shared a big hug with the Bunny. You could tell it brightened their day,” Morrow said.
Once the crowd of over 180 people got an energy boost from the BBQ lunch, a special speaker, Devina Bailey, a Picayune Memorial High School student, shared her thoughts on the importance of IDD awareness.
“On this day, let’s all go around and bring down the social barriers once and for all. As an individual with IDD, this is my and your chance to personally help raise awareness just by coming out and participating in all the different activities like this,” Bailey said. “We can raise awareness through conversation and participation.”
A round of applause erupted when Bailey finished her speech.
“Our community is wonderful and is doing its part to break those barriers Devina talked about. It just puts a huge smile on many people’s faces to see the community come together and have a fun time,” Morrow said.
Although March is almost over, Morrow encourages everyone to continue spreading positive words about IDD throughout the year.
In two weeks, Morrow said she will open office space for The Arc where people can obtain resource information about what the non-profit organization does and also offer support to families that might need it.
Morrow said she has been providing this service out of her home for the past four years.
The office is located at 127A West Canal St. in Picayune.

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