By Julie Osborne and Mary Ellen Kirby
For ordinary folks, presents don’t arrive until Dec. 25, but Christmas came a bit early this year for the ARC of Greater Boone County. As a winner on the last day of Toyota’s 100 Cars for Good Program, ARC will be the recipient of a new Toyota Sienna Mobility van. Winners were chosen based on votes from the public.
“We got the 100th vehicle in the 100 car give-away. That was pretty cool,” said Marcia Clutter, Arc of Greater Boone County community relations director.
Toyota’s 100 Cars for Good program showcased five nonprofit organizations each day from Oct. 1 through Nov. 19, with visitors to their Website casting their votes up to two votes per day for different nonprofit organizations. Arc was the featured organization on the very last day and received the second highest percentage of votes on that day. The top two organizations each day won the vehicle of their choice.
Residents, businesses, community organizations, churches, schools, and even a movie theatre in Lebanon united to vote for the Arc of Greater Boone County. Rachel Becker, a language arts teacher at Lebanon High School and teacher sponsor of Fellowship of Christian Athletes, was prompted into action after fellow special education teacher, Molly Murphy, told her about the contest. Becker encouraged students in FCA to make signs and place them around school, and the club created a Facebook group to encourage students to vote. She even obtained special permission to allow her students to vote for a few minutes in class and encouraged other teachers to follow suit.
“It was a little act that could help get a van for a group who needed it,” Becker said. “It was a great lesson for the kids to show them how sacrificing a little bit of time to do something for someone else could go a long way. They could see the strength in numbers and that they were contributors and had a positive result for Arc who many students are familiar with through service clubs.”
The Arc of Greater Boone County assists people with intellectual and developmental disabilities by providing work skills training, daily life skills, and assistance with job placement. A van was greatly needed as the current van has limited access and is in need of repair.
“The van we have now is not wheelchair accessible and one of rear sliding doors does not work. People now have to climb in through one door and over each other which is difficult for some of our disabled and elderly people,” Clutter said.
The new van will be used to transport program participants to work, volunteer organizations, and to the library and other outings.
“This new van will be wheelchair accessible,” Clutter said. “We’re the only agency located in Boone County serving people with disabilities so this will be a huge help.”
Toyota’s first van of the 100 awarded has arrived to its recipient, and Arc is anxiously awaiting the arrival of their new van, which could take several months. When it arrives, Arc staff plan to drive the new van around town to thank all who made it possible.
“We’re thrilled with the way the community came together to help spread the word to get the votes to win the final vehicle in the 100 car give-away,” Clutter said.