AbilityFirst, a Pasadena non-profit that offers programs to help people with disabilities achieve their full potential, is hosting its 48th annual Food and Wine Festival on Sunday, June 5, at the historic Laurabelle A. Robinson House, at 195 South Grand Ave. in Pasadena.
The enjoyable event is a major fundraiser for the nonprofit.
Lawrence Moore, spokesperson for AbilityFirst, said guests can sample food and drinks from some 20 restaurants, cocktail bars, wineries and breweries who will be at the Festival. They’re expecting nearly 400 guests, Moore told Pasadena Weekly.
Participants in AbilityFirst programs will also be telling stories about their experience.
Attendees may explore the grounds of the L.A. Robinson House’s gardens as well during the event, Moore said.
The event – which includes live and silent auctions – intends to raise money for AbilityFirst programs. Prizes will include trips to New York and other locations around the world.
A group of businessmen from the Los Angeles Rotary Club started AbilityFirst in 1926 as originally the Crippled Children’s Society of Southern California, reaching out to help children affected by the pre-vaccine polio epidemic. These visionary men looked beyond the children’s crippling physical disabilities and saw their capabilities first.
With its founders actively advocating for disability rights, AbilityFirst went on to pioneer some of the very first community services in California for children with disabilities. The non-profit set a model standard in accessibility with the design and construction of one of the first fully accessible camps in the nation, opened one of the first vocational training programs in the country for adults with disabilities, and supported employment for adults with developmental disabilities to succeed in community jobs.
The group also sponsored and helped secure passage of state Senate Bill 309 so young adults with developmental disabilities can attend after-school programs throughout high school.
The name AbilityFirst was adopted in 2000 to better reflect our mission, vision, and commitment to celebrating the unique abilities of every individual.
Last year, AbilityFirst staff and community leaders led a reopening of the non-profit’s newly renovated Lawrence L. Frank Center in Pasadena, adding a wider space for the organization to continue their programs in support of individuals with disabilities: after-school enrichment programs, job training, community employment, accessible camping, and affordable and accessible housing.
For the Food and Wine Festival, AbilityFirst is also looking for volunteers who would like to help “from setup to tear-down and lots of fun roles in between.” To sign up to help, visit this link.
To purchase tickets for the Festival, visit www.abilityfirst.org/events/