I like to help out wherever I am needed.
Point Pleasant, NJ resident Mariaellen Varelis is part of The Arc, Ocean County Chapter team. For the past nineteen years, she has been making an impact on her community by helping individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities through a number of programs, events and fundraisers.
“I like to help out wherever I am needed,” says Mariaellen. “I can typically be found working with the team for the annual Step Up for The Arc Walk-a-Thon. I also like to assist in the recreation activities we hold in the community, including miniature golf, trips to the Camden Aquarium, ceramic classes and so much more.”
The Arc (Association Representing Citizens with special needs) is an organization that provides supports and services to individuals with developmental and mental disabilities. The Arc offers the opportunity for them to live, work and play in the community as citizens. The programs and events The Arc prepares allows the participants the opportunity to be introduced to people with similar interests and challenges and get out of the house and enjoy life and the world around them. The Arc also offers an employment center to teach the participants the logistics of a work day, arriving on time, learning a skill, creating relationships with teammates and earning a paycheck. When the participant is successful at the tasks and are ready to move on, they are teamed up with a job coach who guides them in securing a job within the community.
“I got involved with The Arc in 2000,” says Mariaellen. “My friend introduced me to the organization, and after spending one day with all of the other volunteers and the people we were helping, I knew I found something that gave me great joy.”
When Mariaellen isn’t volunteering, she likes to garden and spend time with her family and friends. Her favorite Cabot cheese is Vermont Extra Sharp Cheddar. Mariaellen will be joined on the cruise by her friend Margaret Reynolds.