AbilityFirst’s Harry A. Mier Center in Inglewood offers programs for children and adults with developmental disabilities, such as autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome and epilepsy. The center serves the Los Angeles region, including the communities of Inglewood, Hawthorne, Gardena, South Los Angeles, South Bay, Westchester, Torrance and Lennox.

Established in 1976, the center is named for one of AbilityFirst’s most generous contributors. Harry A. Mier and his wife Joan Mier who funded the center in Inglewood to help ensure a place for children with disabilities to learn and grow.

AbilityFirst has a number of different programs designed to help disabled individuals. For youth, there is the after-school enrichment program which places the children in a culturally sensitive environment. With staffing ratios of no more than 1:5–and, under special circumstances, as close as 1:1–the program’s well-trained staff engages children with age-appropriate activities that nurture social, physical, cognitive and creative abilities.

Adults who participate in AbilityFirst day programs are also offered a variety of activities that both suit their personal interests and cultivate their unique abilities.

The center will hold its annual fundraiser “An Afternoon of Music and Art” featuring honorary chair Danny Glover, who will participate in honoring United States Congresswoman Maxine Waters and legendary vocalist Ernie Andrews. The second annual event benefits–and is a celebration of–the children and July 17 at the center in Inglewood.

“[The Afternoon of Music and Art] is an event to raise awareness in the community. It’s a great way to bring people in beyond the walls that separate us from the community,” said Center Director Monique Watts. “This is only the second year that we have been doing this particular event, but we have been doing fundraising events like this for more than 30 years. We serve approximately 50-60 people each day. We have a warm indoor swimming pool that’s open to the community which is great for exercise and water therapy, but overall the center provides a safe place for people with disabilities ages 5 to 59, to spend their afternoons,” said Watts.

The group Seville will perform old-school favorites and ABC7 Eyewitness News reporter Leo Stallworth will emcee, and this year’s art showing is by Fredric Booker.

The ticket price includes food, refreshments and the opportunity to bid on silent auction items. And this year, in celebration of AbilityFirst’s 85th anniversary, the organization is offering VIP tickets with special benefits. Tickets can be purchased at the Harry A. Mier Center located at 8090 Crenshaw Blvd. in Inglewood and online. General admission is $45 and VIP admission is $85.
For additional information about AbilityFirst, visit the organization’s website at www.abilityfirst.org.

Editors Note: The Village Health Foundations “Healthy Choices Awards” have been moved to Aug. 6.