15th annual After d’Arc Gala to raise funds to expand accessible housing options
The Arc Northern Chesapeake Region (The Arc NCR) is proud to announce its 15th annual After d’Arc Gala, “Seas the Day: An Under the Sea Themed Gala” taking place on Saturday, April 6, 2019 from 7–11:30 p.m. at Maryland Golf & Country Clubs, located at 1335 E Macphail Road in Bel Air. The organization’s largest fundraiser of the year, “Seas the Day” raises funds to support the nonprofit’s mission to empower people with differing abilities to live, work and thrive in Harford and Cecil Counties.
The event’s largest fundraising push, its “Fund the Need” campaign, will focus on raising money to purchase new homes and renovate The Arc NCR’s existing community living homes to make them more accessible for the adults supported by the organization. The need for accessible housing within Harford and Cecil Counties is dire, as the organization has to turn five individuals away annually, forcing them to move out of their community and away from friends and family.
One such individual is Rachael Vass, who, due to a devastating automobile accident at sixteen-years-old, suffered a traumatic brain injury that left her reliant on a wheelchair for mobility and dependent on others for most of her basic needs. After her accident, Vass was eligible for help through the Harford County School System – support that lasted for four years. After she graduated, Vass began receiving support via The Arc NCR’s Community Partners and Personal Supports programs. The Arc NCR helped Vass maintain an active lifestyle complete with trips to the nail salon and Starbucks.
Determined to help their daughter further experience independence as an adult, Vass’ parents, Tammy and Dennis, began researching accessible housing options with a provider agency in their community. But, to their despair, no options were available within Harford County at the time. Even though it meant moving away from those she loved most, Vass and her entire family chose to foster her independence by relocating her to a house more than three hours away in Salisbury, Maryland.
“It was a great house and Rachael was provided exceptional care while living in Salisbury,” says Dennis Vass. “But it wasn’t a ‘home’ for Rachael – that void could only be filled by moving back to Harford County where her friends and family members were.”
After two years of desperately waiting, Vass and her parents’ dreams are finally coming true. She will soon move back to Harford County into an accessible home in Aberdeen. Her family toured the property in late February 2019, a ranch-style home built in 1962. Renovations are currently under way and are expected to be completed by April 2019. Updates to the property include the addition of wheelchair ramps, accessible showers, raised floors and automatic doors.
“It’s a godsend this house became available and our daughter will be where she belongs,” says Tammy Vass, Rachael’s mother. “We can now see Rachael more than every other weekend – she’ll be just 20 minutes away from us!”
Once complete, the home will accommodate up to four people. The Arc NCR’s goal is to raise $33,000 during the gala to help more individuals, like Vass, live comfortably and independently while remaining close to their loved ones.
The evening of April 6, “Seas the Day” will begin with an exclusive VIP reception for top sponsors, followed by an elegant dinner, silent and live auction and dancing to live music by The Real Geniuses and the MSE Reggae Band. Special guests are mermaids from The Magic Continues, a Forest Hill-based character company who will bring the event’s under-the-sea theme to life. This year’s Grand Raffle prize presented by Saxon’s Diamond Centers is an 18-karat London blue topaz and diamond ring – a treasure valued at more than $3,500.
Event tickets can be purchased for $150 at afterdarc.org. Jewelry and raffle tickets can also be purchased online. Evening attire is requested. For more information, contact The Arc NCR’s development office at 410-836-7177 or email [email protected].
The Arc NCR thanks this year’s title sponsor M&T Bank; jewelry sponsor Saxon’s Diamond Centers; presenting sponsors Aberdeen Rotary Club, Harford Mutual Insurance Companies and Wais, Vogelstein, Forman & Offutt; fund the need sponsor, APGFCU; premier sponsors SIG, an Alera Group Company, Plaza Ford and Point Breeze Credit Union; web sponsor WEBIXI; and ambassador sponsors Dimensional Health Care Associates, Inc., Harford County Government, Increditek, Jarrettsville Federal Savings & Loan, Schaffer, McLaughlin & Stover, LLC, The Steedman Law Group, Jones Junction, Wegmans, Thompson Automotive, PNC Bank, BB&T Bank and Morris & Ritchie Associates.
About The Arc Northern Chesapeake Region
For sixty-six years, The Arc Northern Chesapeake Region has empowered people with differing abilities to live, work and thrive in the community by providing support services and advocacy to adults and children and their families in Harford and Cecil Counties. For more information, call 410-836-7177 or visit www.arcncr.org.