Columbia Council to review two social programs

April 08, 1993|By Adam Sachs | Adam Sachs,Staff Writer

The Columbia Council will consider two new social programs tonight -- one that would integrate people with mental retardation into Columbia activities and another creating a forum for residents 45 and older to pursue similar cultural and intellectual interests.

The "social integration" program is being developed by the Howard County Association for Retarded Citizens and the Columbia Association. Under the proposal, groups of about six to eight ARC clients would make weekly trips to Columbia for activities at pools, athletic clubs and other facilities managed by the Columbia Association and to visit village shopping centers.

The groups, which would be supervised by ARC staff members, also could perform community service jobs either for wages or to earn credit toward memberships to CA recreational facilities.

The purpose of the program is two-fold -- to expose ARC lTC participants to experiences outside their supervised group-living situations and ARC occupational workshops, and to heighten awareness within the community, said ARC Program Manager Andrea Strassman.

The Community Services division of CA has recommended creating "salons" -- informal gatherings of people with mutual interests -- to provide a leisure-time outlet for Columbia's 45-plus age group.

Salons could take place at Columbia facilities, such as the Columbia Art Center, individual homes or other settings, and could involve lectures, discussion groups, cultural activities, trips or other events, organizers say.

CA could initiate, organize and sponsor Columbia salons in their early stages until volunteers from the organization could run it, CA says in its proposal.

Neither of the programs would effect CA's annual $30 million budget, said Ann Scherr, assistant director of community services.

In other business, the council will discuss plans for a second phase of renovations to the Columbia Ice Rink. CA's fiscal 1994 budget, which takes effect May 1, contains a contingency allowing the council to pursue full planned renovations of the rink, or to spend less next year and spread improvements over time, said Pam Mack, CA vice president of community relations.

Proposed renovations include completing improvements of the interior "warm room," where skaters put on equipment, and installing a new phone system and new --er boards and goals. The cost is estimated at $139,000, not including $60,000 saved from this year's first phase renovations.

The council also will consider approving a mission statement for a Sister City Advisory Committee and appointing committee members. CA's Sister City program is an international exchange program with students in cities in France and Spain.

The Council will meet at 8 p.m. in the Columbia Association Building at 10221 Wincopin Circle.

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