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8th Annual Disability Ball - Wilmington, Delaware

  • Synopsis: Published: 2011-11-06 (Revised/Updated 2011-11-08) - Eighth Annual Disability Ball from 6 to 11 pm on Friday November 11 at the Chase Center on the Riverfront, 815 Justison St. in Wilmington, Del. - Darryl D. McEwen.

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Nearly 450 guests will be attending the Eighth Annual Disability Ball from 6 to 11 p.m. on Friday, November 11, at the Chase Center on the Riverfront, 815 Justison St. in Wilmington, Del.

The Ball is an opportunity for those with physical and mental disabilities to enjoy an evening of dining, dancing, door prizes and more.

This is the largest attendance ever for the event - the only one of its kind in the country.

Partially underwritten by a grant from ING DIRECT, the Ball is organized each year by Independent Resources, Inc. (IRI). To help those with disabilities live independently, IRI offers job training, and teaches daily living skills.

The Disability Ball brings together many different disabled communities, not only to have a good time, but, perhaps, to create a once-in-a-lifetime experience, according to IRI Executive Director Larry Henderson. "Because many disabled people never had the opportunity to attend a high school prom or other formal event, the Disability Ball was created," he said.

At the Ball, guests enjoy a social hour, seated-served dinner and dancing to music provided by Just Kidding Around, featuring DJ Mike Warren.

There also will be a 50-50 cash drawing, door prizes, the crowning of a King and Queen, and a photographer to record the event.

Honorary Chair of the Ball is Secretary of Delaware Health and Social Services Rita Landgraf.

Ms. Landgraf spent much of her career at the Arc of Delaware, serving as executive director for 12 years. In that role, she developed new program initiatives, including an employment program, self-determination training, development of real estate for people with mental retardation and created a spin-off trust known as the Delaware CarePlan. Since 2003 she has served as co-chair of the Governor's Commission on Community-Based Alternatives for Persons with Disabilities.

Independent Resources was established in 1994 to provide services and support to persons with disabilities living in Delaware. IRI is a Center for Independent Living, as defined by the Federal government. The center is a private, non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that provide services to persons with disabilities.

Specific services provided are Advocacy, Information and Referral, Peer Counseling/Peer Support, and Independent Living Skills Training. In addition to these mandated programs, IRI offers the Community Works Partnership, a nursing home transition program, a computer-training program for the blind, and services geared for the deaf and hard of hearing.

All services provided by Independent Resources are designed to help individuals acquire the necessary skills to enable them to obtain the independent lifestyle of their choosing. More than 50 percent of IRI's employees, as well as the Board of Directors, are themselves persons with disabilities who live independently in the community.

"The counsel and support of the staff, based on their own life experiences, is a unique benefit for disabled individuals," Henderson added.

For additional information and to see a video of last year's Ball, visit

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