Aaron and RiChard play like their lives depend on it. No wonder. The quality of life does depend on bursts of fun to punctuate daily routines, and these two are superstars of play.
Not that they’re all play. By day, Aaron attends the Transitions program at Easterseals Arc, where he explores learning, employment and volunteer possibilities. RiChard is now in the Employment Readiness Academy at Parkview Hospital Randallia, where he’s taken a shine to his work in the kitchen, cleaning dishes and loading dishwashers. Aaron enjoyed a new spotlight this year in his first appearance in the “Dancing with the Arc Stars” competition, but these best friends shine brightest when they team up to have fun.
One Friday evening, they joined dozens of other people with disabilities at a dance. More than once, the crowd at the dance thinned at the center to provide a stage for these two as they showed off their dancing. Aaron, 27, has more elaborate moves. He spins, pivots, bends, and jumps. Sometimes he limbo-dances without a bar to clear. RiChard, 30, the taller of the two, brings his height into play with more expansive moves, swooping, raising his arms in the air to celebrate a song he loves, or dropping to floor to wow the other dancers.
“Aaron leads the way, but RiChard has his back all way,” said Rick Till, the supervisor at the group home where both live.
Aaron and RiChard play softball together, and both love going to Mad Ants basketball and Komets hockey. At home, they enjoy video games, particularly Wii bowling. They’ve taken boat rides on Lake Michigan and ride rollercoasters together on annual trips to Cedar Point.
The quest for fun runs strong in their home, where six of the eight residents are in their 20s, Till said. But Aaron and RiChard’s bond, developed only after they were involved with Easterseals Arc, makes them a singular pair.
“They like a lot of the same things,” Till said. “They feed off each other.”