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Crowds enjoy fall fun in Milford

October 2016

Milford Daily News
October 2016
By Corin Cook

MILFORD - Locals gathered Saturday at Milford Town Park for an event designed to raise awareness of and money for Alternatives, a charitable organization dedicated to people with physical and emotional disabilities.

The fourth Annual Fall Family Fun Day event was a collaboration of Alternatives and the Milford Rotary Club.

For its first two years, the event was hosted solely by Alternatives, but for the past two years, the Rotary Club signed on to be a co-sponsor, said club president, Mike Kaplan.

Kaplan said the Rotary Club typically does not get involved in town events, but is dedicated to participating in the Fall Family Fun Day to “give back to the community.”

“It’s great that the Rotary Club can be involved,” he said. “Here we are giving back to the community that assists us.”

Several sponsors set up booths at the park where guests enjoyed live music, dancing, bounce houses, caricatures, face painting and games.

Representatives from Southwick’s Zoo also brought small animals for display.

The event was the “largest showing in four years,” Kaplan said, with about 350 attendees. Last year, he said, there were about 250.

Last year, the event raised about $6,000 with 25 percent of the money going to benefit the special education department at the Milford Public Schools and the other 75 percent to benefit Alternatives, said Dennis Rice, the organization’s executive director.

Rice said Alternatives is very connected to Milford because when it began in 1976, one of its three locations was located in Milford. With its administrative office in Whitinsville, the organization now assists more than 1,200 individuals at sites throughout Central Massachusetts.

Alternatives assists adults with physical and mental disabilities by providing day care, housing or jobs.

Nancy Heck, who receives services from Alternatives, recited on stage a 16-line poem she wrote about autumn and her recovery.

“We are fast approaching fall, and so I plan to give it my all, to be a helpful hand to others, we are all Earth’s sisters and brothers,” she read to the crowd.

“At one time in my life, I got sick - mentally ill,” Heck said. But with the help of Alternatives, she said, she now has a B.A. degree in English, her own apartment and is a motivational speaker for Alternatives.

“They really helped me out,” she said.

Whether she was having a problem physically or mentally, she said, “I always had a counselor to help me through it.”

Heck said that with the help of Alternatives, she was able to come out on top and was thankful that the event raised awareness of the organization so that it could help others in need.

“I have an illness,” she said, “But I realize that I have a purpose in life to help and inspire other people.”

Milford Daily News
October 2016
By Corin Cook