Lydia Valenti
The Redmond Spokesman

If you go

What: Sweetheart Dance

When: 6-8 p.m. Feb. 15

Where: VFW Post 4108, 491 Veterans Way.

Cost: A donation of $5-$10 is suggested to support the Opportunity Foundation.

For more information, contact 541-548-2611 or visit https://www.opportunityfound.org/ and https://thearcoregon.org/about/

The Opportunity Foundation of Central Oregon recently took over leadership of The Arc of Central Oregon, a group that has been supporting people with disabilities in the tri-county area since 1958, said Seth Johnson, executive director of the Opportunity Foundation.

The Opportunity Foundation provides support for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities — they have a eight residential homes in Central Oregon, serving 38 people, as well as providing families with behavioral support plans and training individuals for employment. One of the ways they train is through employing individuals with disabilities at the their three thrift stores, in Redmond, Bend and Madras.

The Opportunity Foundation applied to The Arc state organization to continue the work and the name in Central Oregon when the regional group was considering closure.

“It was important to the current members that the name and the activities be carried on. We are honored to help with that,” Johnson said.

Both organizations will continue under their own names, with The Arc logo being added to the Opportunity Foundation’s materials as an affiliate, and The Arc of Central Oregon being a secondary business name of the Opportunity Foundation.

The Arc of Central Oregon supported the Opportunity Foundation in its early years — helping them build a school in 1965 — and this brings it “full circle,” Johnson said.

The Arc of Central Oregon keeps a database of resources as well as offering trainings for families in behavioral support and issues like guardianship and alternatives for adults with disabilities.

The group also supports disabled people in the workplace, and recently hired several adults with disabilities to be mentors to peers — helping them with getting and keeping jobs, Johnson said.

The Arc also sponsored several dances each year for people with developmental and intellectual disabilities, said Johnson.

This Valentine’s Day, the Opportunity Foundation is sponsoring its first dance with The Arc, carrying on the name and tradition — the difference is this year it is an inclusive event for everyone in the Redmond community.

The dance, to be held at VFW Post 4108, will feature live music from Geezer Rock, light appetizers and sweets.

— Reporter: 541-548-2185, lvalenti@redmondspokesman.com

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