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The Arc of Southeast Mississippi receives multiple grants from The Greater Pinebelt Community Founda

This is a press release from The Greater Pinebelt Community Foundation

HATTIESBURG, Miss. - The Greater Pinebelt Community Foundation’s Ann Morris Memorial Fund recently awarded two $23,000 grants to The ARC of Southeast Mississippi to support their “Rise and Shine” and “Sunsetters not Sunsitters” programs. These grants will provide funding to help adults with disabilities enjoy access to recreational and social activities.

Recreation is any activity of leisure that refreshes one’s mind and body. Individuals with disabilities tend to be more restricted in their participation than their peers and the gap widens as children become adults.

“To help adults with intellectual disabilities enjoy recreational activities, ARC began the Rise and Shine program in early 2013,” stated Cindy Pennington, Executive Director of ARC. “Our initial goal was to give ten adults - two days per week - the opportunity to participate in recreation and social activities. The program was so successful that it rapidly grew to five days with 30 participants. Program activites include going to the movies, bowling, gardening, family fun night, skating, horseback riding, etc. These coordinated activities are held during the day.”

“The “Sunsetters not Sunsitters” program began in late 2013 and offers activities such as putting on musical shows, camping, boating, water park play, organized team sports, dancing, running / walking, yoga, skating, golfing fishing, etc.,” added Pennington. “These activities are available in the afternoon, evenings, and weekends which are consistent with the time frame that most adults enjoy recreational activities. Also, the time frame allows the adults to schedule around their work sites and other daily scheduled activities.”

Participation in these activities help people form friendships, develop skills and competencies, express creativity, achieve mental and physical health, and determine meaning and purpose in life. The Ann Morris grant will help continue the program.

The Arc Southeast MS, established in the 1950s, is a non-profit agency devoted to providing community-based services to all individuals with developmental disabilities and their families.

“Individuals with disabilities dream of places they’d like to visit and of having opportunities to spend recreational time with their peers.” added Pennington. “It is rewarding to hear them say ‘I am finally seeing my dream come true and that I am visiting places I’d never seen.’”

The funding came from the Ann Morris Memorial Fund, a Fund held at The Greater Pinebelt Community Foundation. “The Ann Morris Memorial Fund was set up to assist area organizations who work to enrich the quality of life of intellectually challenged adults,” said Theresa Erickson, executive director of the Community Foundation. “Our grant review process helps us to invest in nonprofit organizations in our local communities, as intended by the donor.”

The Greater PineBelt Community Foundation serves the Pine Belt region by managing endowments for nonprofit agencies, churches or schools. Funds can be set up to honor an individual or in memory of a loved one. The PineBelt Community Foundation currently manages more than 150 Funds all for the purpose of creating better communities.



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