ARLINGTON — Attendees of Village Community Services' sixth annual Friendship Walk & Car Wash on Saturday, Sept. 28, can walk or volunteer at the Legion Park Gazebo, located at 114 N. Olympic Ave. in Arlington.
Registration opens at 11 a.m. and the walk starts at 1 p.m., with suggested donations of $25 per walker or $10 per car wash, although gifts of larger amounts will be accepted and appreciated. The car wash runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. that same Saturday at the Co-Op Supply parking lot, located at 101 S. Olympic Ave. in Arlington.
"This started as a fundraiser for our band, Voices of the Village, and our music and arts programs," said Michelle Dietz, director of development for Village Community Services. "It was just two parents who volunteered to get things started, and it went from there."
The Friendship Walk & Car Wash will include a mini-resource fair for those with developmental disabilities and their caregivers, as well as a performance by Sabrina the Reptile Lady, a white dove release by Highland Lofts, music by Voices of the Village, face-painting, prizes, snacks and a $5 hot dog lunch.
Volunteers are still needed to help with the setup, registration and cleanup for the Friendship Walk & Car Wash, whose proceeds will again go to benefit Village Community Services and its Village Music & Arts program, including the Voices of the Village musical performance ensemble, for people who have developmental disabilities. Village Community Services supports adults with disabilities in achieving their personal potential at home, at work and in the surrounding community.
"The goal of this event is to raise awareness about people who have disabilities in our community, and to celebrate their abilities," Dietz said. "Our band is an example of talent and joy for life."
Jon Dalgarn first organized the band, close to a decade years ago, and he remains the leader of its current roster of nearly two dozen members.
Voices of the Village includes vocal and instrumental positions for adults with a wide range of disabilities, who have played instruments as diverse as drums, keyboards, accordions, banjos, saxophones and even an Australian didgeridoo.
Dalgarn had already worked with adults with disabilities through Village Community Services' residential and vocational assistance programs, but with Voices of the Village, he believes that he's been able to address another area of their development.
"It really changes their lives," Dalgarn said. "By being able to express themselves in this way, they learn a bit more about how to deal with the world, and the world learns how to deal with them. This is the best gig in the world, because there is so much unmitigated joy in their performances. We hand microphones to people who, in many ways, didn't have a voice, so that they can sing and hear other people clapping for them. It's about way more than music. They have a real passion for it."
Last year's Friendship Walk & Car Wash drew dozens of attendees and raised more than $2,500 for Village Community Services and its Village Music & Arts Program.
For more information, or to volunteer, contact Dietz by phone at 360-653-7752, ext. 14, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. To register online, log onto https://friendshipwalk2013.eventbrite.com/?ref=estw.