A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Point/Arc to celebrate its amazing 50-years, starting with birthday party June 6, events for 4 more months

By Andy Furman
The Point/Arc

It’s been 50 years.

And the party will last five months.

The Point/Arc will celebrate its 50th birthday, Monday, June 6 – and Paul Gerwe promises the party will be one to remember.

“We’ll be celebrating the Point’s anniversary five months,” said Gerwe, a Board Vice-Chair for the Point, and serving as Chairperson for the 50th Anniversary Committee.

Paul Gerwe

“A major event a month for five, celebrating our 50,” he said, “we’ll be hosting a dinner for all our past Presidents of The Point/Arc, a Pickleball Tournament, a major raffle, a Covington Block Party and our Boots ‘n Brews fundraiser in October.”

The 50-years of service will be celebrated not only with The Point, its staff and alums, but with the entire city of Covington, Gerwe said.

And one person has been there from the very start – Judi Gerding.

In fact, for Gerding, the President and Founder of The Point/Arc it has been a personal journey to foster a better life for her son Steve, and other individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities known as  (I/DD).

At a young age, Steve was diagnosed with Rubinstein-Taybi Syndrome.

In 1972, three parent groups united to form an advocacy group to assist their loved 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 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 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, they added the Point Commercial Cleaning Company and Employment Program to provide job training, placement and lifelong follow-up. The Point Commercial Laundry was established in 1996. In 2012, The Point/Arc opened the doors to The Point Apparel Company. 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 see the mission in action, Gerding said.

Judi Gerding

The Point/Arc established its first group home in 1995. The Point currently owns and operates 16 well-maintained homes in beautiful neighborhoods that house nearly 60 residents. “We pride ourselves in building Point families,” Gerding said.

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 born. The Point/Arc hosts 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.

And in November, 2021 Point Proud TV made its debut. The show is produced and directed by Point/Arc staff in conjunction with the Telecommunications Board of Northern Kentucky. The half-hour show highlights community development such as new restaurants, new stores and upcoming community events.

The goal of the show is to demonstrate the capabilities of those with I/DD, and, at the same time build awareness of The Point/Arc and Zembrodt Education Center.

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.

The Point/Arc now serves more than 1,400 people annually through its programs and services. The Point/Arc is 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.

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