SCARC: A Community Organization in More Ways than One

July 17, 2019

Working With Adults With Developmental Disabilities

Though SCARC is primarily involved in working with adults with developmental disabilities as well as with children with developmental disabilities, we believe wholeheartedly in supporting other individuals and organizations in our community as much as possible. That’s why our reach extends far beyond our direct work with the individuals we serve. As a true community organization, we work continuously to deepen our impact in the county by supporting our neighbors, offering our assistance and expertise, and, whenever possible, developing programs that benefit both the individuals we serve and our community.

Retired SCARC Vehicles Becomes Rescue Units

Our most recent contribution to the community was the donation of a retired vehicle to Blue Ridge Rescue Squad. The Squad is a non-profit, all-volunteer outfit located in Branchville that serves five municipalities in the area. The keys to the vehicle were handed over in a brief key-exchange ceremony held on June 28, 2019.

Blue Ridge Captain Craig Fary of the Rescue Squad accepted the keys from Tony Barile, SCARC’s director of facilities, transportation, and risk management, and Barry Woodruff, SCARC’s senior transportation coordinator. The Squad, which serves Frankford Township, Branchville Borough, Sandyston Township, Montague Township, and Walpack Township, was thrilled to receive the vehicle, which was the third such donation that SCARC made this year. In January, Blue Ridge Rescue Squad graciously accepted two retired wheelchair-lift vehicles from SCARC, which were then converted into emergency-support vehicles that are used to provide medical assistance to our local community.

People Helping People

The vehicle donated last month is a minibus that had been used for years to transport individuals with developmental disabilities to and from SCARC locations throughout Sussex County. Now, the 2004 Ford Econoline E-450 commercial shuttle will get a second lease on life by serving as a mobile fire-department-rehab unit. Offering fire and other emergency personnel an immediate source of climate-controlled shelter, the new fire-rehab vehicle will enable the Rescue Squad to attend to firefighters as they rest and rehydrate. They’ll be able to escape harsh weather and be monitored and treated for burns, smoke inhalation, dehydration, and other medical conditions that can often result from fighting fires and responding to other types of emergency scenes.

Positive Peer Influence

By providing Blue Ridge Rescue Squad a specific vehicle for this purpose, all responding ambulances can be kept free for the treatment and transport of fire victims, and our old vehicle gets a second life serving our Sussex County community. And because the Rescue Squad plans to share the outcomes of this new initiative with neighboring squads to help them implement a wider range of support services as well, the impact of this donation will reverberate within many other municipalities.

Building Bridges in Business

For more than 60 years, SCARC has sought out new and creative ways to deepen its reach into Sussex County. By developing comprehensive job-training and job-placement programs, SCARC has provided many businesses throughout the county with access to a host of qualified, well-prepared, enthusiastic employees. Organizations like Thorlabs have been working with adults with developmental disabilities through our supported-employment program for years, and today, Thorlabs’ optics-manufacturing department is flourishing with our workers’ help. And countless other organizations have directly hired individuals with development disabilities who have utilized our career-planning and prevocational services to prepare for entering the workforce.

Food for the Soul

Last month, we shared that Harvest Home Foods, our community food pantry, is celebrating its 20th year of operation. This program, too, benefits our community by giving disadvantaged local residents access to much-needed nutritious food. The pantry helps to stabilize these individuals and families while reducing their stress and improving their overall health. Today, this program serves over 400 households per year!

Creating Synergy

But it’s not just area organizations and local families who benefit. Our supported-work, prevocational, and food-pantry programs also provide the individuals we serve with enjoyable work opportunities that help them feel valued. Thanks to these and other initiatives we’ve developed at SCARC, individuals with developmental disabilities are able to feel productive and to contribute to society in a way that is meaningful to them.

Education for All

In addition to directly supporting children with developmental disabilities and working with adults with developmental disabilities, we have always looked to develop new programs and supports that help our community while also benefiting the individuals we serve. A great example of this is SCARC’s involvement with public schools shortly after laws were passed in the mid-70s mandating that the schools allow individuals with physical and developmental disabilities to attend. Largely unprepared to handle the influx of these new students, public schools needed help. SCARC stepped up and helped our local schools develop appropriate programming to meet the children’s varying needs. We also launched an Early Intervention Program to assist very young children with disabilities in preparing for entrance into public school.

Community Acts

These are just a few of the ways our organization works to support individuals, families, businesses, and nonprofit organizations throughout Sussex County. Please visit www.scarc.org to learn more about SCARC’s efforts on behalf of individuals with developmental disabilities and the various ways we contribute to our community.