CAT 4-Kids fundraiser at Andes Hotel

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Andes — Get out your dancin’ shoes, folks, and head to The Andes Hotel on Sunday, Nov. 20, from 2 to 5 p.m. for a good time and a great cause: the First Annual Ava Rose Birthday Bash Fund-raiser benefitting CAT 4 Kids.

You can boogie to the swinging grooves of the mighty Blues Maneuver band, give happy birthday wishes to seven-year-old Ava Rose McIntosh, and help raise funds for integrated and inclusive arts and recreation opportunities for children of all abilities in Delaware County.

Ava Rose, the birthday girl, has Down syndrome, and is just one of the local children who enjoys the programming offered by the Creating Art Together (CAT) Program, which offers weekly art classes and mentoring opportunities across the Catskills.

The CAT Program was developed by Jill Cline, director of the Catskill Mountain Artisan’s Guild, and Sheri Hull of The Arc of Delaware County, as a community arts resource program. CAT 4 Kids will expand on CAT’s mission by offering art classes and outdoor recreational opportunities designed specifically for children.

“Creativity is innate in people,” says Cline. “Every human being has creativity within, but whether this creativity is discovered or developed depends on whether people are exposed to the various arts and materials available.”

One CAT 4 Kids project is the revitalization of the Fleischmanns Park with the development of an inclusive playground design with inclines for access for people with disabilities.

Jeanine Pascarella has been spearheading the playground design on behalf of her three-year-old son Max, who has spina bifida and is wheelchair-bound. Pascarella and Laurie McIntosh, Ava Rose’s mother, are raising money for CAT 4 Kids to make the arts and recreation readily available to all in Delaware County.

“One of our main goals is inclusion,” says McIntosh. “We don’t want our kids to be isolated, segregated off at a program just for them. Instead, our goal is to make these activities and environments appealing to kids of all abilities.”

Admission to the November 20 event is free will donation at the door. For more information, call 676-4727.