Let Freedom Sing!

Let Freedom Sing!

Advent Christian Village’s mission from the beginning has been to minister to people both within the community and outside Dowling Park. One outreach into the greater community is a partnership with The Arc North Florida. For 15 years, ACV’s Dick Grillo has been volunteering time each week (nine months per year) to enhance the lives of The Arc’s clients.

Dick has been a lifelong musician, singing and playing his guitar. He takes his enjoyment of music and uses it to enrich the lives of The Arc clients as they come to ACV to make music under Dick’s leadership. Most often, the music is for their own enjoyment, but occasionally, they sing for an audience.

Recently, ACV hosted just such a concert. The Arc’s “Flaggers & Singers” performed a patriotic program at The Village Church. The program included several musical numbers. The Flaggers, led by volunteers Henry and Laurie Hernandez, danced with flags and banners of many shapes, sizes and colors. The different members added physical beauty to the emotional words of the songs. Dick also led the Singers and the audience in several songs, including patriotic standards like the “Star Spangled Banner” and “America the Beautiful”.

“Our community enjoys many freedoms,” the Arc wrote in the program, “which are sometimes taken for granted. We enjoy these freedoms because the people of our neighborhoods have unselfishly supported others whenever they’ve been called upon. Our town is the land of the free and home of the brave!”

The Arc North Florida and its volunteers are extending freedom and unselfishly supporting the disabled in the area. The Arc North Florida provides advocacy, employment training and living services for people with disabilities in Suwannee, Hamilton, Lafayette, Columbia and Baker counties. The Arc provides services to all adults with a variety of intellectual and developmental disabilities including Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, spina bifida and autism. In addition, many of their clients have visual, hearing, physical and emotional disabilities.

At The Arc, individuals in the Adult Day Training program receive the necessary training to function as independently as possible, and each client is provided opportunities to participate fully in the community. Program participants who have a stated goal of employment receive job skills training to enable them to make a successful transition to work. The Arc’s Support Services program allows their clients access to individual recreational, leisure, educational and social opportunities in the community where they work and live.

It was a real joy to watch the faces of the clients as they danced and sang on June 27. The smiles were large and contagious. Let freedom ring!

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