By Shelley A. Sackett
On Thursday, May 3, the Seaport Hotel in Boston will be transformed into a local star-studded runway as the Northeast Arc hosts its signature fundraising event, “An Evening of Changing Lives.” Emceed by Kim Carrigan, longtime Northeast Arc advocate and host of “The Boston Morning Show” on WRKO-AM, the evening also honors Larry Zabar of Swampscott, Executive Vice President for The New England Council and longtime Northeast Arc supporter.
“We are honoring Larry to shine a spotlight on all the remarkable work he has done throughout New England, especially in creating opportunities for people with disabilities,” said Jo Ann Simons, CEO, NE-Arc. She expects over 450 people to attend the event.
Zabar serves as a NE-Arc board member, chair of the development committee and vice chair of the advisory board. He is also the longest serving member of The New England Council, the nation’s oldest regional business organization.
“Receiving this award allows me to shine a spotlight on, and hopefully raise funds to support, an organization and a group of employees who really deserve this recognition. No one works at the NE-Arc because it’s easy and no one works there to get rich. They work there because of the importance of the mission, the value of giving back, and the difference they can and do make every day in the lives of people with disabilities,” Zabar said.
The NE-Arc is a not-for-profit organization that helps children and adults with, or at risk for developing, disabilities become full participants in the community.
The evening also features a fashion show spotlighting local celebrities, dignitaries, and business leaders who will be paired with individuals whose lives are changed as a result of the community’s support of the NE-Arc’s services.
“This is not a typical fashion show,” Simons explained. “It’s about our mission, and the fashion show and clothes are the vehicle to demonstrate how we change lives.”
The show will feature 12 models that represent the entire range of NE-Arc services, including early intervention, family support, employment and residential services. These families who receive NE-Arc services will be paired with local notables, such as Boston Globe Journal Editor Doug Banks and Dan Cahill, Representative for the 10th Essex district.
Among those walking on the runway will be the Heller family, whose son Luke has been diagnosed with a rare genetic mutation.
“NE-Arc has done so much for Luke and our family. The runway event is an opportunity to say thank you and to raise money and awareness in the community, because NE-Arc is so important to many families like ours,” said Jody Heller, Luke’s mom. Luke started with NE-Arc’s specialty early intervention program, Building Blocks, and now receives services through its Applied Behavioral Analysis program.
“The Arc has been life-changing for us,” Heller said.
“The Hellers are a remarkable extended family who represent part of the village that it takes to raise a child who has additional needs,” Simons said.
Shirley Leung of the Boston Globe, who served as a judge for last fall’s ArcTank competition, will model with her 5-year-old son. who has autism.
“Each pair has a story that is inspiring and helps represent the 10,000 lives we change every day,” Simons said.
Honoree Zabar humbly added, “This award is not about me. So many businesses in the New England Council support organizations like NE-Arc. The common thread is we all see value in what they and other groups do to make lives better.”
For more information or to buy tickets, visit https://ne-arc.ejoinme.org/MyEvents/AnEveningofChangingLives2018/tabid/940603/Default.aspx or contact Paula Vrattos at (978) 624-3080 or firstname.lastname@example.org.