Local nonprofit Aim to Be3, Inc., which provides a variety of services for the special needs community, will host its inaugural barn dance tomorrow night at Redwine United Methodist Church in Gainesville.
The event is open to members of the special needs community and their family, friends and caregivers. It is free to attend and will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. outside in a barn on the campus of the church.
Marianne Thomas, founder and director of Aim to Be3, said event organizers were aiming to have between 25 and 50 people attend the dance. However, more than 100 tickets have been given out.
“We wanted to create a special event for Hall County families and we just wanted to design something specifically for the special needs community,” said Thomas. “We wanted to create something where there would be a sense of belonging and a reminder that no one in the special needs community walks alone.”
In addition to food and a professional photographer, a professional dance teacher will be at the event to lead attendees in several dances.
“Hopefully [participants] are ready to eat, they’re ready to dance…the dance instructor will lead us in line dances, different dances through the decade so it’s just going to be an evening of fun,” said Thomas.
Aim to Be3 offers a variety of outreach programs and fellowship opportunities to benefit members of the community with special needs. According to Thomas, one of the nonprofit’s most recent programs is a yard card micro business; Aim to Be3 partners with Celebrations by the Yard Georgia to install large yard signs at local homes and businesses.
Thomas said the barn dance is another opportunity for Aim to Be3 to reach special needs community members, as well as bring together current members of the nonprofit.
This fellowship is especially needed right now because of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Thomas.
“Social isolation has occurred with this population leaps and bounds…I was just reading a study the other day and their rates of depression is three times that of their peers without disabilities,” said Thomas. “A lot of times those in the special needs community, with COVID, they don’t have those social outlets, they don’t have access to technology…we feel like it’s a good time, a good environment to just bring everybody together.”
In order to observe pandemic protocols, Thomas said the entire event will be held outdoors. Tables will be spaced out and masks and hand sanitizer will be available for those who want them.
Tickets are still free for those interested in attending the barn dance. Email Thomas at [email protected] or reach out to the organization through social media for more information.