Donation home run for Arc of Greater Beaumont

Donation home run for Arc of Greater Beaumont

Beaumont native Jay Bruce, right fielder for the Cincinnati Reds, presented The Arc of Greater Beaumont with a check for $81,000 on Tuesday, Jan. 19, at the Foundation for Southeast Texas. 

The funds were raised at the sixth annual Jay Bruce Golf Benefit, which took place Saturday, Nov. 15, 2015, at Bayou Din Golf Club. Proceeds from the tournament were donated to The Arc of Greater Beaumont to help with programs and services for individuals with developmental disabilities, and to help fund The Arc of Greater Beaumont’s new multi-purpose facility, which is projected to open May 19, 2016, according to Gary Hidalgo, executive director of the Arc of Greater Beaumont.

“This tournament has helped in two ways,” Hidalgo said. “It has helped fund our programs each year. It has also helped in that we’ve been able to take some of the money from our golf tournament and put it toward our building that is being built right now.”

The 4,000-square-foot, pre-fabricated metal building will be at 4330 Westridge Lane in Beaumont behind Conn’s on Dowlen Road. The building was donated by sheet metal company Mueller Inc. and Texas Country Reporter, who choose Helping Hands grant recipients every year.

The grant does not include the foundation, slab, plumbing, electrical, HVAC or interior for the building, Hidalgo said. This is phase one of two phases. The building will be a multi-purpose facility for The Arc’s activities requiring aThe Arc will need to secure additional funding to build offices, classrooms, training kitchen, meeting rooms and an outdoor pavilion. The Arc has had over 5 acres donated on which to build these facilities. Making the new home for The Arc of Greater Beaumont a reality has been part of a capital campaign that has included fundraisers like the Jay Bruce Golf Benefit.

“We could not be more excited,” Hidalgo said. “This building is the first step in making our dream of ‘A Home of Our Own’ a reality.”

The Jay Bruce Golf Benefit has been a big part of realizing that dream.

“To have the ability to give back and make an impact on people’s lives is something I’ve always wanted to do,” Bruce said. “It’s something that I always told myself I would do if I had the opportunity.”

Bruce said he became acquainted with The Arc of Greater Beaumont through the nonprofit’s involvement with his sister, Kellan, who suffered complications during her birth that left her with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). Kellan, now in her 30s, was actively involved with the Arc of Greater Beaumont for almost a decade, taking part in the nonprofit’s annual Stars of the Arc Celebrity Style Show, where participants get a chance to model popular spring fashions and be in the spotlight for a night. The show is one of many events that funds from the Jay Bruce benefit make possible.

“Seeing her being involved with the Arc and having a sense of individuality, and being able to be happy and enjoy the things like the equestrian leagues, basketball leagues, the fashion shows — that stuff really made her happy and I think changed her life,” Bruce said.

Hidalgo said Bruce’s continuedinvolvement with The Arc of Greater Beaumont speaks to the MLB player’s character.

“Jay’s just a really good guy. He’s down to earth. He’s not pretentious at all about who he is. … Jay feels strongly about what we do. He knows … we’re making a lot of great strides. We’ve made a lot of progress, and I think he wanted to be a part of that,” Hidalgo said.

Bruce is quick to give the credit back to Southeast Texans, however.

“To me the community and the city of Beaumont, in a lot of ways, helped me create the opportunity to get where I am today,” Bruce said. “Giving back, I feel is the least I can do because the people here in Beaumont care about their people and really get behind events like the Jay Bruce Golf Tournament and organizations like The Arc of Greater Beaumont, and it’s shown in the numbers and the turnout at the tournaments.”

There are an estimated 7.2 million Americans living with IDD. Organizations like The Arc of Greater Beaumont have the services and support these individuals need to grow, develop and live in the community, the nonprofit’s website states. Services include early intervention, health care, free appropriate public education and support for their families.

For adults, services and support may include preparation for employment, help in finding a job, independent living skill training, leisure and recreation activities, and more. The Arc also helps ensure that the rights of individuals with IDD are protected, and they live as they choose. Finally, The Arc advocates for research and prevention of both the causes and the effects of intellectual and developmental disabilities.

This is also the last week of The Arc of Greater Beaumont’s “Buy A Brick Campaign.” Purchasing a brick helps cover costs associated with building The Arc of Greater Beaumont multi-purpose building and is a great way to show your support of The Arc, advertise your business, or honor a loved one. Bricks start at $100 and will be placed in a prominent location on The Arc’s new property. The last day to buy a brick is Sunday, Jan. 31.

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