Event highlights include games and short documentaries featuring people with intellectual and developmental disabilities
LUDLOW— As part of a three-hour fundraising event called “Pathlight to Making Dreams Come True,” Pathlight will offer short documentaries highlighting relationships in people with intellectual and developmental disabilities on Sunday, March 26 from 2 to 3 p.m. at the Paul R. Baird Middle School.
The event, which will run from 1 to 4 p.m. and also feature a host of carnival activities, will raise money for the Darren FUNd in memory of Darren Harrington, a man who lived in Wilbraham with Anne Marie Corrieri and John Perrin through Pathlight’s Shared Living program. Darren, who had Down syndrome, had a perennially upbeat attitude and was dedicated to “fun.” He died in 2014 from early onset Alzheimer’s.
“We wanted to show films that focus on a broad range of relationships and highlight how important relationships are within the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities,” said Valle Dwight, Pathlight’s director of development and communications.
“We want the films to inspire meaningful conversation and to promote greater inclusion and greater understanding of people with developmental disabilities,” Dwight added. “The films help to show that people of all abilities are looking for the same types of meaningful relationships in life.”
Pathlight is a nonprofit organization headquartered in Springfield, and it has served people with developmental and intellectual disabilities throughout western Massachusetts since 1952.
Films that will be shown at the event from 2 to 3 p.m. are produced by Sprout, a nonprofit in New York City that helps people with developmental disabilities enhance socialization opportunities through various events, including its annual touring video offerings.
The “Pathlight to Making Dreams Come True” fundraiser will also feature carnival games for all ages and interests. In the school auditorium, activities from face painting to origami to storytelling and ping pong will be offered.
Sheryl Stanton, a vocal artist, will perform live, and Bax from ROCK 102 will be on site. There is a suggested donation of $5 per person.
The Darren Fund provides money to people living in Pathlight’s Shared Living program for whatever makes them happy. In the past, funds have allowed people to take vacations, go camping, purchase an iPad and take singing lessons.
For those who are unable to attend, donations can be made to the Darren FUNd at pathlightgroup.org/give or by mailing a check payable to Pathlight, 220 Brookdale Drive, Springfield, MA 01104, with Darren FUNd in the memo line.
The following are the names and descriptions of the films, which range between three and 12 minutes in duration:
- “Wayne.” A man with limited communication skills learns the harsh reality of love and romance.
- “What Would You Change?” People with intellectual and developmental disabilities answer the same question, “If you could change one thing about yourself, what would you change?”
- “The Best Thing We Ever Done.” Two couples from New Zealand share their personal stories of how they met and the challenges they faced.
- “Can I Call You?” Ben is a young man looking for the perfect relationship but wonders if the fact that he has autism changes the way girls relate to him.
- “I Love Grilled Cheese.” Libby provides some insight about the joys of living with her best friend, and big brother, Max, who has Down syndrome.
- “Fixing Luka.” Lucy thinks her brother, Luka, is broken; inspired from the filmmaker’s experiences of growing up with a younger brother with autism.
- “Family Life 8 mins.” A profile of Clement and Karen Lefebvre and their two children.
- “3:15 to Brunswick.” A romantic connection between two people waiting for a train that never arrives.
- “Brooklyn Love Tales.” A personal look into the lives of three couples with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
- “Be My Brother.” A young man’s charm and charisma challenges the prejudices of a stranger at a bus stop.
- “Bumblebee.” Despite being told as a child he would never speak or walk, Vance accomplished what doctors thought was impossible. But now he has a new challenge: dating.
For more information about the films, visit Sprout Film Festival, at http://gosprout.org/sprout-touring-film-festival/.
Pathlight was founded in 1952 by five mothers of young children with developmental disabilities. It was the first organization in Hampden County dedicated to serving individuals with an intellectual disability. Pathlight currently serves children, teens and adults throughout western Massachusetts with residential and employment supports, recreation classes, autism services, social skills training and performing arts programs.
Pathlight programs include Residential Supports, Shared Living, Adult Family Care, Autism Connections, Whole Children, Milestones, Valley Tees and Family Empowerment.