Danc­ing in the Streets ben­e­fits arc Thrift Stores

The Denver Post - - FEATURES - Joanne David­son: 303-809-1314, par­ti­writer @hot­mail.com and @joanne­david­son on Twit­ter.

If ever there was a rea­son for the folks at arc Thrift Stores to be danc­ing in the streets, it’s be­cause the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s 50th an­niver­sary gala was a record­breaker, with 750 guests and a profit that is just shy of $500,000.

Co-chairs Deana Perl­mut­ter and Terry Vi­tale picked Danc­ing in the Streets as the theme for this din­ner and auc­tion held at the Hy­att Re­gency Tech Cen­ter. Vinyl records were in­cor­po­rated into the ta­ble dé­cor and the Mo­tones pro­vided dance mu­sic from gen­res that in­cluded Mo­town, disco and clas­sic rock.

Perl­mut­ter, a se­nior vice pres­i­dent at MWW Group, Inc., is also the founder of the In­te­gral Group. Vi­tale started New West Pub­lish­ing and is the for­mer pub­lisher of Colorado Ex­pres­sion mag­a­zine.

“We’re here tonight to cel­e­brate the 50th an­niver­sary of arc Thrift Stores, which has grown to be­come one of Colorado’s largest non­profit or­ga­ni­za­tions and one of the largest em­ploy­ers of peo­ple with in­tel­lec­tual and de­vel­op­men­tal dis­abil­i­ties,” said pres­i­dent and chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Lloyd Lewis. He also noted that the 27 arc Thrift Stores in Front Range cities like Gree­ley, Brighton, Aurora, West­min­ster and Den­ver pro­vide em­ploy­ment for nearly 1,700 in­di­vid­u­als.

Lewis and his 15-year-old son, Kennedy, who has Down syn­drome, pre­sented the 2018 Dis­tin­guished Dis­abil­ity Lead­er­ship Award to Michelle Sie Whit­ten, the co-founder, pres­i­dent and CEO of the Den­ver-based Global Down Syn­drome Foun­da­tion. She is also ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Anna and John J. Sie Foun­da­tion and the mother of Sophia Whit­ten, who was born with Down syn­drome.

Her im­pact on be­half of those with Down syn­drome is “felt glob­ally,” Lewis said, and were it not for ef­forts that she has led, ad­vances in fund­ing, re­search, aware­ness and so­cial jus­tice might not be where they are to­day.

“It’s been a jour­ney,” Whit­ten ad­mit­ted, adding that she will con­tinue to give her all to bet­ter­ing the lives of peo­ple with in­tel­lec­tual and de­vel­op­men­tal dis­abil­i­ties.

The gala also was the oc­ca­sion to honor three arc He­roes: Myles King, Nora Gift and Ryan Haw­ley.

• King, a 28-year-old Den­ver na­tive, has been as­so­ci­ated with arc Thrift since 2014. He is an arc Am­bas­sador, gives fash­ion ad­vice to shop­pers in the Cen­tral Park store, and is a mem­ber of the arc Blue Birds, a band made up of arc Thrift em­ploy­ees.

• Gift, a 34-year-old Den­ver na­tive, has been an arc Am­bas­sador since 2017 and has com­peted in ice skat­ing, gym­nas­tics, bas­ket­ball and vol­ley­ball with Spe­cial Olympics. She works Satur­days in the Cen­ten­nial store, as­sist­ing in the dress­ing rooms and with hang­ing clothes.

• Haw­ley, who also works in the Cen­ten­nial store, was adopted from Seoul, South Ko­rea, when he was 6 months old. His health chal­lenges in­clude five ma­jor surg­eries be­fore he turned 10, but to­day he thrives on be­ing in­de­pen­dent and putting his com­puter smarts and graphic arts abil­i­ties to good use within the arc Thrift or­ga­ni­za­tion.

An af­ter-din­ner fash­ion show fea­tured cur­rent and for­mer arc Am­bas­sadors Juan, Mark, Emily, Jessie, Lizzy, Donna, Jen­nifer, Kin­gah­nah and Kevin, along with Den­ver7 per­son­al­i­ties Katie LaSalle, Shan­non Og­den, Con­nor Wist and Ni­cole Brady; arc Young Pro­fes­sion­als Abby Perl­mut­ter Miller, Jonny Miller, Ja­son Mar­cotte and Dana Smith; arc Thrift vol­un­teer Jim White and gala co-chair Deana Perl­mut­ter. The mod­els wore out­fits culled from arc Thrift Stores, and show co­or­di­na­tor Wendy Klomp Dun­can called on her friends at Blush Artistry and El Sa­lon to do the mod­els’ makeup and hair.

Guests in­cluded state leg­is­la­tors Rhonda Fields, Joe Mik­losi and Nancy Todd; Chuck Sather, chair­man of the arc Thrift board; Den­ver7 gen­eral man­ager Dean Lit­tle­ton; John and Anna Sie; Joaquin Espinosa, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Linda Cr­nic In­sti­tute for Down Syn­drome; CoBank exec Faye Tate; for­mer Colorado first lady Frances Owens; John Sladek, for­mer pres­i­dent of Cal­i­for­nia Lutheran Uni­ver­sity and a for­mer vice chan­cel­lor at the Uni­ver­sity of Colorado; Todd Brod­er­ick, pres­i­dent of Safe­way Colorado; Chris­tiano Sosa, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of The Arc Colorado; Miguel Lo­vato, a pro­gram of­fi­cer with the Daniels Fund; Bon­nie and David Man­darich; Edie Marks; Terry and Lori Jones; Corinne Joy Brown; auc­tion­eer Jim Berz; and Claire Lewis, who will join with her hus­band, Lloyd, and Terry Vi­tale in chair­ing the 2019 gala.

Pho­tos by Steve Peter­son, Spe­cial to The Den­ver Post

A Hero of the Year, Nora Gift (front), with fam­ily: Rachel Man­ter­nach, and Joe, Mar­sha, An­drew and Emma Gift.

Myles King, cen­ter, and a Hero of the Year, with par­ents, Tree and Larry King.

Lloyd Lewis, pres­i­dent and CEO of arc Thrift Stores, with Ja­nine, Chuck and Isak Sather.

Four of the run­way mod­els: Kevin Wing, Mark Yoakum, Juan Grado and Kin­gah­nah Grant.

Sophia Whit­ten and Michelle Sie Whit­ten, re­cip­i­ents of the Dis­tin­guished Dis­abil­ity Lead­er­ship Award, with Pa­trick and Tom Whit­ten.

Missy Dubois with Heather Pyle, a pre­vi­ous Hero of the Year, and her mother, Becky Pyle.

Joan, Ryan (a Hero of the Year, work­ing at the Cen­ten­nial arc Thrift Store) and Walt Haw­ley.

Event chairs Deana Perl­mut­ter and Terry Vi­tale.

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