ARC holds IDD awareness day

Published 7:00 am Thursday, March 14, 2019

The ARC of Pearl River County sponsored an Intellectual and Developmental Disability Awareness event for more than 150 area adults.

This year’s event was held at the Robert Lott Community Home in Poplarville, where the special guests were treated to an afternoon of fun, food and games.

The event aimed to provide locals dealing with these disabilities with situations where they can build their confidence by intermingling with other people and society at large.

Susette Morrow, ARC of PRC director, said March has been observed as National Disability Awareness Month since 1987 to make the general public aware of people with disabilities and to help make them part of the community in which they live.

“We do this every year for public awareness and for them to have a fun day,” Morrow said. “This whole thing is to focus on them being included in the community, getting jobs and out of the institutions.”

She said the ARC also hosts three dances, two Bingo events, and an arts and crafts day.

“We normally have anywhere between 150 and 180 at each of these events,” Morrow said.

The ARC provides a list of “bullet points” on how to receive services, a list which Morrow made from her own frustration in trying to get assistance for her own son.

“I learned the hard way and parents would come to ask me how I did it,” she said.

Morrow said that the earlier parents are able to get a child evaluated at South Mississippi Regional Center the faster help can be found.

“The waiting list to get services is ten years,” she said. “There is another watered-down version of the Medicaid waiver program where most can meet that criteria.”

She added that program can get the child to a job and have a job coach with them, go to an activity center, and provide a direct care worker to assist with going to the movies or grocery shopping.

One of the tools being used locally is the Lott Home, which according to director Curtis Rester, currently houses 10 men and 10 women.

“It looks like a normal home, but that’s what it’s supposed to be,” Rester said.

The ARC is a national organization and Morrow serves as director of the local chapter.

She says the mission is to help educate, refer people to services and advocate for those in need of services.

“We operate strictly on donations and they all stay local,” she emphasized. “Our community has been really great. We couldn’t do it without them.”

Those wanting to donate, volunteer or have questions can contact Morrow by email at thearcatpearlrivercounty@gmail.com. There is also a Facebook page through which messages can be sent.

The ARC can be reached by phone at 228-342-3095.