On Saturday, Transitions for the Developmentally Disabled, will be hosting a fashion and talent show from 1 to 4 p.m., along with a silent auction to raise funds for a trip to Universal Studios Hollywood.
Last year, Transitions, an agency whose mission is to help intelligently disabled individuals become as self-efficient and independent as possible while being in a safe environment, put on three plays and a silent auction, along with other fundraisers, which raised enough money for them to take clients to Disneyland, an opportunity that most of them wouldn't have, according to Transitions co-founder Pam Karp.
They were able to raise about $8,000, and hope to do as well in order to rent a tour bus and hotel for a trip to Universal Studios Hollywood in April.
"Because we had such a good turnout and support from the families, we've decided to do another on-the-go weekend activity," Karp said.
Transitions began after Karp, a single mother, felt that there weren't many opportunities for her disabled daughter, Jennifer, when she graduated from high school. Jennifer, now 30, has Down syndrome and Karp was disappointed after the experiences she had with different services and agencies, and felt something was missing.
"I wanted to help other family members find out what was available for their kids when they're transitioning from one level of life to the next," Karp said. "One of the things I found out that was not available for my daughter was activities."
Since 2004, Transitions made sure to have activities that their clients could enjoy, and also learn from. Once a month, they host jam sessions, movie nights, cooking classes, and arts and crafts, community outings, and more. They also offer residential services, but have plenty of day treatment, after-school, vocational and summer programs.
"Our kids do not feel ‘special;' they feel like they can conquer the world, and we're here to help them do that," Karp said.
The majority of the clients have been with Transitions for at least a year, some for even eight.
"We really consider ourselves as just a big, extended family," said co-founder Dennis Karp. "All of our clients are growing up knowing each other, and we see them blossom and go through all the things mainstream adults go through, too."
The fashion and talent show, which resulted as an idea between Pam Karp and Robyn Travisano, activities director. They were inspired by their clients' enjoyment of performing in front of each other and wanted to give them an opportunity to share that with the community.
The fashion show portion will feature clothing supplied by a local JCPenney, and will give Transitions' clients a chance to strut their stuff in clothing "mainstream adults" get to wear, Dennis said.
In the silent auction, guests can bid for a variety of items, ranging from salon gift cards to a signed football from the Arizona Cardinals. Travisano said they were fortunate enough to have a lot of support, especially from local businesses around Ahwatukee Foothills.
"There's so much more to this than just raising money," Dennis said. "We just want some moral support."
He said that it's more about teaching life skills to their clients, things from following directions to being able to go out and perform in front of people, and warned that there'd be "very few dry eyes in the house."
Tickets to the show and auction are on sale now for $8, or can be purchased at the door on Oct. 22 for $10.
For more information on how to get involved, donate, or purchase tickets, call Travisano at (602) 565-8056 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ashley Haines is interning this semester for the Ahwatukee Foothills News. She is a sophomore at Arizona State University.