GREENVILLE — A group that was developed to support adults with disabilities is celebrating its five-year anniversary.
Parents with disabled adult children who wanted to provide social activities for the adults to help develop social skills and promote independence developed the Adults with Disabilities Association and Bowling League.
The group originally was called the 18 Years and Older Special Needs Club.
The association has about 40 members from across the area and meets about once a month to do different activities, said director Debra Thornton.
“It gets them out where they can socialize and develop skills,” she said.
The association is open to anyone 18 years or older with special needs.
One of the group’s main activities is a bowling league, which includes the opportunity to go to state finals.
Jason Flachs has been apart of the association for all five years.
“I like being able to bowl,” he said. “I only got to do it part of the time before.”
Flachs said he has made more friends since becoming a member.
Derek Lyons agreed with Flachs about liking to bowl. Lyons has been a member for three years and said his scores have improved over the years.
Other events include trips to Michigan’s Adventure and Craig’s Cruisers, game nights, dinners and swimming
“We would love to be able to go to NASCAR someday,” Thornton said.
Most recently, the Adults with Disabilities Association received its 501c3 status to become a nonprofit organization.
The organization does not have a regular funding source so it must have fundraisers to pay for activities. Its fundraisers include garage, crafts and candy sales.
The organization plans to hold a fundraiser at Big Boy in Greenville on March 17, when 15 percent of each customer’s bill will be donated to the organization.
Someday, the group hopes to raise enough money for a bus to take the members to different places and a building to hold its activities, Thornton said.
Many of the parents help and volunteer with the association. Thornton said they have to pay their own way when participating with the members.
Thornton became the director after a teacher approached her about the group and told her she would be good for the job.
“There just isn’t anything for adults with disabilities to do around here,” she said. “I really enjoy it.”
Thornton said she enjoys watching the members having fun, growing and learning skills the association hoped to teach them. She added it is very easy for her to get attached to them.
After one of the members who participated on the bowling league figured out how to calculate his bowling average, Thornton said she was so excited to see that some of the association’s efforts paid off for him.
The association is having a meet and greet from 6 to 9 p.m. Jan. 21 at Friendship House, 308 and 320 E. Oak St. in Greenville. The event is open to anyone who wants to learn about the association, Thornton said.
People who attend are welcome to bring snacks, movies and games.
For more information regarding the Adults with Disabilities Association and Bowling League, call Thornton at (989) 248-3479.