Family movie night celebrates disability awareness

HANCOCK COUNTY — A local organization serving people with developmental disabilities is funding a night out for special needs families in recognition of disability awareness month.

The Arc of Hancock County, a Greenfield-based advocacy nonprofit organization, is hosting an inaugural free movie night at Legacy Cinema in Greenfield in an effort to help adults with developmental disabilities feel included in the community — and to raise awareness among county residents that there are people with differing abilities living and working in Hancock County.

The event, which promotes The Arc’s goal of facilitating leisure opportunities for adults with developmental disabilities, was introduced in celebration of Indiana’s Disability Awareness month, a yearly effort by the Governor’s Council for People with Disabilities to promote independence, integration and inclusion.

A screening of the newly released live-action “Beauty and the Beast,” free for adults with developmental disabilities and their caregivers, will be at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Legacy Cinema, 2347 W. Main St., Greenfield. Organization officials will be stationed at a table in the theater lobby, where families may pick up their tickets, said executive director Dennis Porter.

Those participating don’t have to be from Hancock County; the program welcomes all, Porter said.

Having an event for individuals with disabilities in a public space is important, said president Janice Castle, because they often live in group homes and work in facilities specialized to employ people with disabilities, leading them to feel isolated from the general public.

“We’re trying to provide opportunities where they can be seen in the community more,” Castle said. “Individuals with disabilities do the same things everyone else does.”

The Arc organizes a variety of activities especially for and comprised of individuals with disabilities, from informal meetings to summer camps, said board member Susan Geesa. However, the organization’s board has for some time been interested in creating events like movie nights that get its members out and about to help them feel encompassed by the community, Porter said.

The Arc serves individuals and families with developmental disabilities in Hancock County but also has members hailing from Shelby and Marion counties, Porter said, adding that he hopes members from all of The Arc’s service areas will attend.

The special movie night is a first not only for The Arc but for Legacy Cinema, said theater owner Alan Strahl.

Organization leaders approached the theater with the idea, and Strahl was pleased to set something up to help people with disabilities feel included in community activities, he said.

“This seemed like a good idea,” he said. “I thought we’d see what happens. It’s a first for us and Arc, but we plan on doing it a couple times a year.”

Disability Awareness Month

The Arc of Hancock County is celebrating Disability Awareness Month with a free movie night for local families.

Led by the Indiana Governor’s Council for People with Disabilities, the goal of Disability Awareness Month is to increase awareness and promote independence, integration and inclusion of all people with disabilities.

The 2017 Disability Awareness month campaign theme is “I’m Not Your Inspiration.” Often, people with disabilities who are successful, athletic, employed or simply good neighbors are put in the spotlight as inspiration to others. This year’s campaign theme emphasizes that people with disabilities are people first — people who want to be fully included in their communities, just like everyone else.

In the spirit of that theme, Greenfield’s local Arc chapter has invited families of those with developmental disabilities to a free screening of “Beauty and the Beauty” at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Legacy Cinema, 2347 W. Main St., Greenfield.

Source: Governor’s Council for People with Disabilities, indianadisabilityawareness.org. 

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Rorye Hatcher is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at ​317-477-3211 or rhatcher@greenfieldreporter.com.