The Arc mixed in all the essential ingredients for a perfect Thanksgiving celebration on Tuesday. Family, friends, puppets, and a tasty buffet of food filled every flat surface.
The Kids on the Block puppet show drew a crowd that arranged itself in a semi-circle around a small stage. Forty or fifty of children in wheelchairs and customized walkers, along with their care givers and parents clapped and cheered as performers entertained. The life-sized puppets portray characters just like the children in the audience; they have one-of-a-kind personalities and unique life stories. Some are handicapped, others affected by divorce, and some victims of abuse. And they know how to have fun and get the people around them involved. The excitement was contagious. Children weren't the only ones sporting huge grins. Grown-ups laughed out loud and beamed as they watched their kids join in the fun.
Moms and dads, uncles and grandmas sat together with their kids, connected with old friends and made new ones around a feast of deviled eggs, cranberry sauce, stuffing, and turkey. Gravy pooled in mashed potatoes and green bean casserole was devoured by children who never imagined veggies tasting so good. Blessings were counted and thanks given as care givers and generous benefactors circulated among children and parents extending a warm welcome.
After the meal, children were allowed to pick a gift from a table piled high with toys. The Arc's mission is to improve life for special needs children and adults through education and advocacy. The Thanksgiving event fulfilled the mission with style and pizzazz.