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Point/Arc’s JOY celebration returns for 50th anniversary with long list of successes to be proud of

By Andy Furman
The Point/Arc

The Point/Arc’s JOY-50 celebration with nearly 500 sponsors, family, board members and friends of the nonprofit, held after missing last year due to the pandemic, was a big success.

“It was awesome,” said Judi Gerding, Founder and President of The Point/Arc, “especially since we didn’t celebrate JOY a year ago because of the pandemic.”

The Covington-based organization celebrated 50 years of operation.

EnJOYing the celebration.

For Founder and President Judi Gerding, those 50 years have been a personal journey to foster a better life for her son Steve, as well as other individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities – known as I/DD. Steve was diagnosed with Rubinstein-Taybu Syndrome at a young age.

In 1972, three parent groups united to assist their love ones diagnosed with intellectual/developmental disabilities (I/DD). Today, that group has evolved into a holistic agency with a wide-range of around-the-clock programs.

“Our history of filling in the gaps by creating integrated programs gives individuals with I/DD the opportunity to become contributing and inclusive members of our community and provides the self-esteem and pride that we all seek,” Gerding said.

In 1982, The Point/Arc opened its first social enterprise – The Point Restaurant – to provide vocational training to individuals with I/DD. In 1985, The Point Commercial Cleaning Company and Employment Program to provide job training, placement, and life-long follow-up was created.

The Point Commercial Laundry was established in 1996. In 2012, The Point/Arc opened the doors to The Point Apparel Company and The Point Perk coffee shop opened in 2015, “as a way for the community to come in for a feel-good cup of coffee, and to see our mission in action,” Gerding said.

The Point/Arc established its first group home in 1995. Currently, The Point owns and operates 15 well-maintained homes in neighborhoods that house nearly 60 residents. The group homes are located in Campbell, Kenton, and Boone Counties.

In 1999, to fill a social void in the lives of those The Point/Arc serves, The Point Activities Program was launched with weekly social events, seasonal sports, monthly dances and vacations. In 2004, to provide community awareness and education for individuals with I/DD, The Point Outreach and Educational programs were established.

Today, The Point/Arc has educational programs, which include social communication, transition programs and career development. In 2013, The Point/Arc added case management as a way to assist individuals and families with finding resources and services through person-centered planning that will support them in achieving their dreams and aspirations.

Point Proud TV debuted November 3rd of this year in conjunction with the Telecommunications Board of Northern Kentucky (TBNK). The show airs on Spectrum Channel 185 and Cincinnati Bell Channel 821, Wednesdays at 7 p.m. and Saturdays at 11 a.m. – in Kenton County.

“The half-hour show highlights community development such as new restaurants, new stores and upcoming community events. It will also promote Point programs,” said Shannon Chalfant-Jones, Executive Director for the show. “Viewers get a behind-the-scenes look at the preparations and the show production. The students conduct interviews like a real newscast.”

The cast includes students with various intellectual disabilities.

Point Proud TV may be viewed on Public Access Channels, YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, and The Zembrodt Education Center (ZEC) blog.

“This is yet just another vehicle for The Point/Arc to reach into the community, and at the same time letting people know what The Point/Arc is all about,” Gerding said.

The Point/Arc now serves more than 1,400 people annually through its programs and services. “We’re always looking for new ways to fill in the service gaps and to integrate individuals with I/DD in the community to reach their fullest potential,” Gerding said.

And, The Point/Arc has been doing it for 50 years.

The celebration was JOY.

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