MORRIS PLAINS, N.J. – ArcMorris marked 70 years of serving people with disabilities and their families with a big gala, honoring community members, organizations that make a difference, public officials and Direct Support Professionals. It was a night of celebration and a look into what the next 70 years will bring!
More than 325 people attended the May 17 event at the Birchwood Manor, 111 N. Jefferson Road, Whippany, N.J. Local businesses supported the event and the funds raised will go towards supporting programs and initiatives of ArcMorris.
“Over the last seven decades we have had so many families and community members sacrifice so much,” Salvador Moran, CEO and executive director of ArcMorris, told the gathering. “Today, people with disabilities and their families enjoy better services because of the work done for them by many dedicated community members and families who fought for their rights and access to services.”
Moran recalled that in the 1940s and 1950s, there were few options for a person with disabilities and their families. Either the person was sent to an institution, or a family member became a caretaker without much support or resources. Families banded together to start advocacy groups like ArcMorris, as well as other Arc chapters across the country, eventually becoming crucial service providers.
ArcMorris was established in 1953, and since then has served thousands of people with disabilities and their families through various programs like day habilitation, recreation and community-based homes. This year ArcMorris plans on opening two more group homes that will be geared toward people with high medical and behavioral needs.
The organization recently bought a local farm in Randolph where its member will be able to enjoy outdoor activities and visit with animals. The farm will also welcome community members who would like to contribute and volunteer.
N.J. Assemblywoman Aura Dunn spoke at the dinner of how important it is to support organizations like ArcMorris because “each and every one of us is impacted and connected to someone with an intellectual or developmental disability.” She presented joint resolutions to the organization and every award winner.
The night opened with a heartwarming performance of the MPAC’s Performing Arts Company who sang the National Anthem.
One of the highlights of the evening was the special award presentation to ArcMorris for Distinguished Service from the Hanover Township presented by Township Committee Members Ronald Francioli and John Ferramosca.
The following community members were presented with awards for their work for those with I/DD in the past year:
* Dr. Christine Hoffman-Payne of Morristown
* Jessica Chila of Ridgefield
* John Gatti of Cedar Knolls
* Dave Gould of Dover
* James Gallagher of Dover
* Walter & Ann Bender of Long Valley
The following organizations were recognized for the support they provide to people with disabilities and to ArcMorris:
* Hanover Township Executive Committee and Town Administrators
* Saint Luke Parish Special Needs Ministry of Long Valley
* Weis Markets
The following ArcMorris staff members were honored for their service, hard work and dedication to people with disabilities and their families:
* Chi-que Jones of Newark
* Gloria Harris of Hopatcong
* Judith Raymond-Georges of Maplewood
* Luz Garcia of Dover
* Olga Cruz of Hackettstown
* Rachel Perryman of Montville
* Antoinette Kpah of Newark
* Elvia Orama of East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania
* Sharon Yawger of Budd Lake
* Gail Paradise of Wharton