Walking for independence

On Sat., Mar. 22, the Stonewood Center hosts the annual Arc Walk for Independence to raise money for people with disabilities. The Arc Walk has helped over 400 children and adults.

On Sat., Mar. 22, the Downey community gathered together at Stonewood Center to participate in the Arc Walk for Independence supporting people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Before the participants started their trek, the hosts welcomed Downey Mayor Fernando Vasquez who spoke a few words to and about the community. Vasquez thanked the community for helping out and supporting the Arc Center.

“This community is one who always bands together to support great causes,” Vasquez said. “For this, we are all thankful.”

The participants of the three-mile walk started off as the hosts read off their team names. These teams included the Downey Kiwins, the Downey Key Club, and the DHS Amigos. Junior Brittany Lorenzana participated in the walk for the second time since she joined Kiwins.  Lorenzana, having been to the Arc Center, knew she was supporting a worthy cause, so she, along with other Kiwins members, participated in the three-mile walk.

“I walked because I like what they do,” Lorenzana said. “I’ve visited the Arc Center where they actually take their time to teach their students with disabilities.”

As participants reached the finish line they were cheered on by the Warren High School marching band, clowns, and the Los Angeles Clippers Fan Patrol. Key Club member junior Tatiana Morales joined these participants hoping to inspire bystanders to join them next year.

“It was fun walking for a cause,” Morales said. “Three miles is nothing compared to what they go through, and if someone drives by and sees me walking, they might want to do it next year.”

The Arc Walk ended with Mayfair High School’s jazz band playing as participants were given free food from sponsors, such as Acapulco Mexican Restaurant and Cantina, and enjoyed each others company. The hosts thanked everyone for coming out to support the cause as the clubs and teams made their way out.

The Arc of Los Angeles and Orange Counties, founded in 1956, is an organization that provides people with intellectual and other developmental disabilities with the tools they need to work towards an education.

The 16th annual Arc Walk for Independence ended by raising money for research and support for people with disabilities with the help of the Downey community and the participants from the Los Angeles region.