Walk-a-thon to benefit SCARC helps vital non-profit


The Annual Gordon Shelton Memorial SCARC Walk-a-Thon

BY LAURIE GORDON
AUGUSTA — The 2018 Gordon Shelton Memorial Walk-a-thon on Sunday, May 20, will kick off at 12:15 at the Sussex County Fair Grounds.
The SCARC Foundation Walk-a-thon was created in 2012 as a way to raise additional funds for SCARC programs and services. In 2010, the SCARC Foundation changed the name to the Gordon Shelton Memorial Walk-a-thon to commemorate his service and commitment to helping individuals with developmental disabilities. Shelton served as a member of the SCARC board of trustees from 1980 until his death in 2009 and volunteered at many functions including the annual Walk-a-thon event.
The SCARC Foundation, Inc. is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that was founded in 1985 to provide planning and funding for current and future programs for people with developmental disabilities who are currently served by SCARC, Inc. (formerly the Sussex County Association for Retarded Citizens) and SCARC Guardianship Services, Inc.
The walk's Co-Chair and the SCARC Foundation Development Manager, Alice O'Rourke, of Sparta, became the Development Manager at the SCARC Foundation a few months ago, and she said that one her responsibilities is to run the logistics and spearhead the fund-raising for the walk.
“SCARC was so essential to our settling into Sussex County and becoming aware of and obtaining services for Ryan, our son who has autism,” she said. “As a family we were coming from Morris County where both Sean and I lived for all of our lives and we were connected to people yet had trouble finding services outside of school for Ryan. Here in Sussex County it was all new. SCARC was our life-line to building a life for Ryan. Ryan started with Teen Scene where he got to hang out with individuals with developmental disabilities every Saturday night doing things like game night, going to the mall, and just hanging out listening to music. This opened up a new world for us and Ryan. He became more independent and we as his parents grew because we could allow him to experience life without us right there. We trusted the SCARC family of services to provide appropriate chaperones and support staff so they put our minds at ease.”
O'Rourke said the familyi started using SCARC's Guardianship Services when Ryan turned 18.
"Many may not know that a parent of and individual who turns 18 must petition the court to become the appointed guardian of their own child with a developmental disability," she said. "Otherwise when you are in situations involving healthcare you will not be able to make decisions for them and or sign for them when applying for any kind of legal document. SCARC Guardianship Services made the process very easy and affordable. We were very grateful to have such a resource available to us.”
SCARC Inc. now provides Ryan O'Rourke with a day program since he graduated High School where he is surrounded by his peers and caring staff as he goes out into the community to help others in the Explorer program.
“He helps set up tables at Manna House, goes to Norwescap to pick up food for the needy, helps clean up parks in the nice weather to name a few of his activities,” O'Rourke said, “He has a structure and a sense of purpose through the Explorer program which makes his life happy and he feels a sense of accomplishment.”
She said family members have immersed themselves in SCARC services, attening most activities aand the programs they offer.
"It's not all about business," O'Rourke said. "It’s also fun things like the Walk-A-Thon, fundraising dinners, golf outings, and for Ryan — dances, swimming, bowling, and track. We have created bonds with the administration and staff opening up our world to a huge group of wonderful people we now call friends who feel as dedicated to providing a good life to individuals with disabilities as we do. We are so grateful to now live in Sussex County and have such a wonderful organization, SCARC, that has enhanced our family life with Ryan.”
Day-of registration for the 2018 Gordon Shelton Memorial Walk-a-thon will open at 11 am. Anyone can sign up as an individual or a team and get started recruiting sponsors/donors for the walk by going to http://scarcwalk2018.kintera.org on the web or stop by the SCARC Foundation offices in Augusta (11 US Highway 206, Suite 100-F) to pick up a Walk-a-thon forms.
You can also raise money for the SCARC Foundation just by searching the Internet withhttp://www.goodsearch.com(powered by Yahoo), or shopping online withhttp://www.goodshop.com. Select the SCARC Foundation where it asks “Who Do You Good Search For.”