BCR “A Place To Grow” celebrated the holiday season with its annual holiday show on Thursday, December 5, at St. Francis Xavier’s Holy Cross Hall. BCR, which has served children and adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities since 1963, also held its annual holiday dance for clients on Friday, December 13, at McCambridge Park Recreation Center.
“The annual holiday program is a highly-anticipated event for both the consumers, their families and friends,” explained Sherre Nakamura, who recently joined BCR’s Board of Directors. “BCR staff encourages the consumers to create and develop scenes of their choice for their group to perform, which requires weeks of dance practices and singing.”
“I remember the anxiety of performing on stage with band ensembles throughout high school, but unlike me, the consumers do not express inhibitions or anxieties and are eager to perform before the enthusiastic members of the audience.,” Nakamura continued. “One can feel the sense of pride and joy by the family members as each watches the jubilant performances of their loved ones.”
The nonprofit organization’s program is free for its clients, but does raise money to fund projects and programs through a variety of means. The annual holiday show raised funds for the organization with a silent auction, bake sale and raffle.
The only organization in Burbank to offer “programmatic services for children and adults with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities,” BCR is located on Amherst Drive across from McCambridge Park.
BCR’s clients learn “essential independent living skills and enjoy a variety of music, yoga, recreational activities (bowling, tennis, swimming, monthly evening dance) and travel and mobility training to become self-reliant and well-integrated into the community,” said Nakamura.
Nakamura works as the Executive Assistant for the Office of the Chief of Police in Burbank. Her brother Mark, who has Down Syndrome, has been a consumer at BCR for nearly twenty years.
“I am constantly amazed at the development of his character and confidence since participating in BCR’s programs,” she said. “Our family was always so cautious, and frankly, limiting in our belief of what his capabilities were.”
“He now bowls, plays tennis, enjoys karaoke, goes to yoga classes and participates in the monthly dances, among other activities, and has become a well-adjusted, social being, with the potential for greater contentment and fulfillment with each new endeavor.”
BCR’s new Executive Director, Edward Parker, has a “vision is to develop the quality of life by supporting a diverse group of individuals who have an intellectual/developmental disability,” Nakamura also said.
“Edward strives to meet our consumers’ needs through continuous improvement, competence, creativity and quality teamwork.”
“His mission is to inspire hope, promote meaningful life choices, and ensure the individual’s well-being. Through training, each participant of the program will enhance self-determining skills, strengthen awareness of healthy life choices and self-advocacy.”
In addition to the holiday show and the dance, BCR “A Place To Grow” also celebrated the holiday season in late November with a program supported by members of Noon Rotary and Sunshine Rotary.
The Rotary members served dinner to all the participants and their family members at Emmanuel Church. Santa Claus arrived and handed out gifts to all the BCR clients, from a wish list provided in advance by the consumers, while Christmas music played in the background.
More information on BCR “A Place To Grow” can be found online here.