While Bingo at the activity center at 3560 New Hartford Rd. is fun and exciting for participants, the funds raised help benefit the facility’s owner, The Arc of Owensboro, which is a local, private nonprofit agency serving individuals with disabilities. The Arc advocates for and provides individuals with vocational experience and training that help them participate in the community and gain independence.
The agency currently serves 71 individuals, high school age to their 60s. Sally Phillips, executive director of Arc of Owensboro, said that some just don’t want to retire.
“We have one individual that’s received services, working here for 35-36 years,” Phillips said.
The Arc is open for its clients Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
“It’s completely person-centered and a flexible work environment,” Phillips said. “Some come in later, and some leave earlier.”
Individuals are paid for their jobs and need a safe working environment, so applicants are carefully screened to make sure they are a good fit for the program.
The Arc of Owensboro started in 1956 when a group of parents started a school for their children with disabilities. According to Phillips the parents basically financed the school. Years passed and “those first students became our first clients of The Arc; they grew up and received supportive services continuously.”
Services provided to The Arc’s clients enable individuals to achieve independence with adult day training, community living supports, and advocacy services. Participants undergo training in areas like daily living and work skills, socialization and community involvement.
The Arc holds a contract to clean the federal building in Owensboro and with Kentron to clean wire spools as well as other contracted jobs with local companies. Clients also clean the hall after the Bingo games are held.
“Our residents clean and prepare the concession area, which maintains an “A” rating,” Phillips said.
There is also a flea market in the same building, enabling clients to gain access to the community.
“They build relationships with vendors through experiences with the flea market,” Phillips said.
The agency also advocates for its individuals, collaborating with The Arc of Kentucky, The Arc of the United States and other organizations.
“We have the most dedicated staff. I’m just blown away by their generosity,” Phillips said. “It’s not just an 8-5 job, and our staff is willing to do whatever necessary in order to help those we serve.”
The Arc relies on some state and governmental funding, but a large part of its budget comes from fundraising. Phillips also suggested the upcoming membership drive as a way to support The Arc as well as donations, volunteering, and even providing referrals to the agency.