Arc holds first event in two years

Published 8:00 am Sunday, April 3, 2022

The Arc of Pearl River County is a group of volunteers who work with people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to actively support their inclusion and participation in the community. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the group was not able to get together to ensure everyone was safe. On Wednesday, the Arc hosted its first event in the past two years, a Bingo game with food and an Easter Bunny surprise at the Knight of Columbus post in Picayune.

The main goal of the Arc is to provide social events for residents who have intellectual and developmental disabilities.

“So they can have a little fun in their life.” said Arc of Pearl River County President Susette Morrow.

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“The Knights of Columbus have been so gratuitous to help us,” she said.

Knight of the Columbus is where the Arc holds the majority of the organization’s events. Wednesday’s event brought in more than 100 people to engage in social activities. Volunteers described the turnout as a bit light, but they were happy to be back together.

Morrow has been engaged with the organization for about eight years, and started volunteering to help people with intellectual and developmental disabilities because of her son Brady.

“He is probably the main reason why I do what I do, because when we moved here I didn’t know who to go to, where to look for help or services. When one of his teachers had quit working, she called me ‘Miss Morrow this is what you need to do, go to every conference you can, every seminar, educate yourself and advocate for your son,’ so that’s what I’ve been doing for probably the last 25 years. God has shown me that this is my purpose,” said Marrow.

Lori Nesser has been an Arc volunteer for eight years. Being a volunteer for the organization has helped her deal with loneliness. Nesser is a widow and her two children are adults who live on their own.

“I think I needed to be needed, and then when you come the first time and work with individuals it doesn’t matter if you give them a pencil, it doesn’t matter if you give them a hug, it doesn’t matter if you ask them how they’re doing, you get a smile you get a hug, you get a thank you, and that was so refreshing,” she said.

“I needed to be needed and I thought I was doing something for them and I got it back 200 fold. And you don’t lose that once you get that. It’s a very selfish thing for me to do this because I get more out of it than they do,” Nesser said.

Arc participants, Matthew, Stephanie and Mary say the organization has been a big help to them. 

Mary said she enjoys everything about the Arc. Matthew said he likes having the volunteers around and seeing his friends. Stephanie said the programs and events help her see her friends. She said when her friends get together they sing, dance, play bingo and have fun. Matthew gave a shout out to the volunteers who helped him since he’s been in the program.

The program runs strictly off donations and every penny is used in the program to support the individuals. Donations to the Arc can be made by visiting the organization’s Facebook at The Arc of Pearl River County.