Desert Arc, established in 1959 to provide vocational training and development services to the developmentally disabled, hosted more than 260 guests at its inaugural Recognition Awards Luncheon, honoring individuals and companies who champion its cause.

“I could not be more pleased with the tremendous support and turnout we received from the community to our first Recognition Awards Luncheon,” Richard Balocco, president & CEO of Desert Arc, said in a prepared statement.

“Everyone was there for all the right reasons. There are over 700 clients currently enrolled in our various programs. Our programs are designed to help people secure employment, find homes, have a safe place to come to every day, interact with others, and most importantly, reach their highest potential to live, work, and play in their communities. Our Pathways to Employment Program enables our clients to participate in innovative employment training programs that help them obtain and retain jobs in various industries including administration, food service, landscaping, and recycling, among others. Desert Arc has placed hundreds of clients who are grateful every day for the opportunity to be productive members of a local business. This invaluable training experience assists people in becoming as self-sufficient as possible, thus benefitting them for their entire lifetime.”

Honorees included:

G. Aubrey Serfling

G. Aubrey Serfling

Business Partner of the Year – G. Aubrey Serfling, Eisenhower Health

Landscape Partner of the Year – Gary Honts, JFK Memorial Hospital

Gary Honts, CEO of JFK

Gary Honts, CEO of JFK Memorial Hospital, accepts the Landscape Partner of the Year award from Desert Arc

Recycle Partner of the Year – Chris Cunningham, Palm Springs Disposal Services

New Business Partner of the Year – Vincent Battaglia, Renova Energy

Desert Champion of the Year – Mario Del Guidice, Mario’s Italian Cafe

The Desert Arc Stars of the Year included:

Edeltraud McCarthy, Steve Beneto, Ernie Rubin, Destination PSP and SA Recycling.

“The above-mentioned companies, as well as individuals, have been there for Desert Arc every step of the way, enabling the clients to get the opportunities they deserve,” said Chair of the Desert Arc Board and Event Emcee, Brooke Beare. “On behalf of Desert Arc, we are most appreciative of their continued support.”

Since its inception, Desert Arc has created for its 700 clients a variety of options, including onsite vocational training, work teams, volunteering in the community or individual placements with job coaching services at community business sites. The Desert Arc crews provide many business services to their community business partners, thus giving Desert Arc clients a variety of work choices. Some of these services include cafeteria services, contract fulfillment, Pentel order fulfillment, janitorial, landscaping, recycling, and shredding services. Services are tailored to meet the clients’ abilities and interests, in order to enable them to strive for and achieve personal success. This allows Desert Arc’s clients to feel they are appreciated, valued, and are productive members of our society.

The organization’s licensed programs provide services to engage individuals in meaningful and fun daily activities, such as arts and crafts, motor and sensory skill development, and community supporting volunteer activities, in order to keep clients learning and growing on a daily basis.

Desert Arc’s community programs provide in-home support services to approximately 100 Clients, enabling them to remain living independently. The organization provides these opportunities and training to increase choices and achieve greater personal success. Desert Arc also provides opportunities for social skills training and peer interaction for all of its Clients.

Desert Arc’s main headquarters are located on Country Club Drive in Palm Desert, consisting of three buildings totaling 50,000 square feet of space. In addition, Desert Arc has a recycling and shredding Division in Indio, as well as a satellite facility in Yucca Valley. A robust transportation system provides their client population with the means to get to and from home to worksites and volunteer opportunities daily. Desert Arc’s transportation system logs more than 54,000 miles and averages more than 10,000 gallons of gas monthly.

Premiere Sponsors included Harold Matzner and Eisenhower Heath. Gold Sponsors included JFK Memorial and Mario’s Italian Café. Platinum Sponsors included the city of Indio, Board Member Nancy Singer, Pacific Western Bank, and the Shalhoub Family McDonald’s. Table Sponsors included Brooke Beare Stjerne, Vern Kozlen, Hot Purple Energy, Richard Balocco, Mary Hendler, Howard Levy, Lori Serfling, Steve Beneto, Destination PSP, The Ranch Recovery Center, Inc., Renova Energy, and Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians.

Luncheon Media Sponsors included Gulf California Broadcast Company and CBS Local 2.

For more information please call (760) 346-16ll or visit www.desertarc.org.