Creating Independence….Supporting Literacy

The Arc Mid-South’s 19th Annual Awards and Benefits Gala

The Arc Mid-South’s premiere fundraising event of the year was hosted at the Hilton Memphis on October 18th.  Earmarked annually, this premiere event received support from community leaders throughout the Mid-South…from Mayor Wharton, to Representative Johnnie Turner, to Probate Judge Kathleen Gomes. This auspicious occasion celebrated the achievements of individuals with disabilities, and the impact that individuals and organizations serving as conduits for individuals with disabilities have made.

As Honorary Chairmen, Shannon Brown, Senior Vice President/Chief H/R & Diversity Manager, FedEx; and Fred Lamb, Quality and Compliance Manager, Johnson and Johnson were joined in the evenings welcome alongside Event Chair, Florence Howard, Board Member; the event was kicked off with a realization that individuals with disabilities have far excelled past the expectations of the previous stigmatism. 

Community members from all walks of the Mid-South came together to congratulate, and to celebrate the abilities of individuals with disabilities through special endorsements made on behalf of The Arc Mid-South…Carla Brouwer, The Hershey Company; Gary Smith, DIDD, West, TN; and Carolyn Cowans, Advocate gave astounding revelations as they expressed congratulatory remarks. 

Flo Roach, a woman of ‘many hats’, actress, playwright, director, producer, singer, poet, and songwriter, served as Moderator for the evening’s festivities.  Flo Roach’s pleasantries couldn’t have made the event livelier. 

As guests enjoyed the evening, and the ambiance of ‘Live Memphis Jazz’ featured by the Bill Hurd trio, silent auction items were displayed, ranging from jewelry, to an array of gift certificates from area restaurants, hotels, museums, day spas, and a 6 month household membership from the YMCA.

The evening didn’t stop there!  P. A. Bomani, provided laughter, as he coerced the guests with his charm during a live auction that included 2 Roundtrip Airline Tickets, compliments of Southwest Airlines, and a 50" Vizio E-Series LED HDTV from Sam’s Club, just to name a few.

The highlight of the evening consisted of a community recognition awards ceremony, recognizing individuals that have made outstanding contributions toward Creating Independence…Supporting Literacy.  Honorees of the “Empowerment Award” were Christina R. and LaToya B., students in The Arc Mid-South’s Life, Education, Training, and Skills Program, recognized for their persistence in taking control of shaping their lives in a purposeful manner, despite having a disability. 

Other honorees of the prestigious community awards recognized for their outstanding community service, partnerships, and extraordinary leadership in the lives of individuals with disabilities included Gary Smith, DIDD; The Hershey Company; and Representative Johnnie Turner. 

Harriet Tubman wrote, “Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”  The Arc Mid-South recognized a dream that began in 1950 with a group of parents and civic leaders that saw a need.   That dream has far exceeded as students with disabilities gain their independence through attaining their first High School Diploma, and their first means of employment.

“Creating Independence…Supporting Literacy” is all about witnessing a student’s excitement as their dream comes into fruition, says Carlene Leaper, Executive Director.  “An achievement that many individuals may take for granted.” 

Gala 2013 Highlights 

 

 

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