OXNARD, Calif. -- A special group is getting help during the pandemic. The Arc of Ventura County serves the disabled community, now at a distance.
Virtual drum class is a new program at the Arc in Oxnard.
Juan Garcia is the Program Manager at The Arc of Ventura County. He said when the pandemic started the organization was trying to find things to do for participants virtually.
“They asked, 'Hey Juan, can we do a drum class?'” said Garcia. “And the rest is history. It just kicked off and it is a big hit during the week. We have a lot of people participating.”
The Arc of Ventura County serves over 700 adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. When COVID-19 struck, all in-person programs shut down.
“Our day programs are congregant settings and 90 people attend this program in Oxnard and so obviously we couldn’t have those kinds of gatherings,” said Patricia Schulz, CEO at The Arc of Ventura County.
Schulz and her staff had to get creative in finding ways to serve their members. Just recently the class allowed two people to be in person for the drumming instruction while everyone else followed along on Zoom.
“Drum is one of them, bingo is a big hit, we also added the Mexican Loteria, and another one that is big is Karaoke,” said Garcia.
Zoom has become essential to continue daily programs. Even though many of the members miss their friends and the live interaction, good things are still coming out of the virtual experience.
“I don’t know what our next 'normal' will be like, because people have gained some really great skills,” said Schulz. “We have all learned about Zoom. I didn’t do much Zoom before a year ago, but so have the people we have served and they have learned some really valuable digital literacy skills. Just because you have a disability doesn’t mean you can’t use a computer, and we have learned that from them."
The Arc partially supports itself through its thrift store, where more donations are welcomed so more can be done for this special group of people.
For more information on the Arc of Ventura County, including membership information and donation opportunities, click here.