PHOTO GALLERY: Santa arrives early in Orange

Published 7:46 am Wednesday, December 8, 2021

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By Dawn Burleigh

Ole Saint Nick was spotted in Orange on Thursday as staff and employees of Lamar State College Orange helped with a party for the clients at OCARC.

While some clients asked for specific items such as a guitar, a couple said they wanted everything. One even said she would prefer shirts and pants to toys.

One thing they all had in common was the smiles on their faces as Santa Claus himself handed each one a stocking full of goodies and a tote bag of gifts.

They showed further appreciation by all thanking the staff members for thinking of them.

OCARC was founded in 1956, as a workshop-based business, by parents who saw a need to teach life skills to their adult children with special needs.  By the late 60’s the organization grew  and now serves approximately 50 adults.

The “employees” who make the signs and trophies are actually OCARC’s clients, developmentally disabled adults numbering now around 44, who receive vocational training by making these items, with special focus on social and cognitive skills.

As a non-profit, OCARC relies on sales of their items and help from United Way in order to provide these services, and an annual fundraiser in the form of their annual fishing tournament, known as the OCARC Annual Fishing Tournament, always held the first weekend in August.

OCARC reopened after the pandemic in December of 2020.