Arc Baltimore bestows local honors
Tuesday, 02 July 2013 14:40


Carder honored for volunteer service to group

by John G. Bailey

    Steve Carder is a believer in human potential.
    As a member of Free State Clown Alley — a chapter of Clowns of America familiar to Dundalkians from its members’ frequent participation in local parades — the Dundalk native is working with students at The Arc of Baltimore’s Dundalk center on North Point Road to form a clown troupe.
    “They can do it,” he said confidently of the 12 clowns-in-training. “They can do a lot more than people give them credit for.”
    In recognition for his ongoing efforts at the center, Carder received Arc of Baltimore’s Volunteer Service Award in May.
    Dressed with a large red nose, painted face and huge, bubble-toed shoes, he took time away from entertaining students and staff at a center picnic during a recent Friday to talk with The Eagle  about his career as a professional clown.
    Carder, who has a mild learning disability, first got interested in becoming a clown when he was 15.
    “I got sick and tired of being made fun of by other kids,” he recalled. “I wanted to show them what I could do.”
    A high point in his development as a clown was his membership in Free State Clown Alley. “I had a lot of support and encouragement from my family,” Carder said.
    Made up of clowns with a diverse group of talents, Free State Clown Alley entertains at fairs and other public events. They are regulars at the Dundalk Independence Day parade and the St. Patrick’s Day parade.
    “We performed with  Cole Brothers Circus once,” Carder said, “but not as part of an act. We entertained between shows and  were part of the grand finale.”
    His goal for the Arc of Baltimore troop is membership as a new alley in Clowns of America. There are currently 103 alleys in the United States, two Canadian alleys and five alleys from Latin American countries in the organization.  
    In the meantime, the troupe is scheduled to perform at nursing homes and camps this summer.
    Along with his involvement with Arc of Baltimore, Carder has also been active with the Sky is the Limit Theatre Company for 10 years. He played Det. Brannigan in the theatre’s recent production of Guys and Dolls.


Vendor recognized for support of Dundalk center

 by Nicole Rodman

    For years, Nick Athanasis, owner of Baltimore’s Classic Food Service and CFS Medical Supply, has been a vendor for The Arc of Baltimore.
    Athanasis and his companies provide food and occupational safety and first aid equipment to the many Arc Baltimore centers across the region.
    To The Arc Baltimore, however, Athanasis is much more than just a vendor.
    Founded in 1949, The Arc Baltimore is an organization dedicated to enriching the lives of people with developmental disabilities.
    With centers across the region, including one on North Point Road in Dundalk, the organization provides programs and services for adults and children with a variety of disabilities, including Down syndrome, autism and cerebral palsy.
    Each year, The Arc Baltimore holds an annual meeting and awards ceremony during which the organization honors those who have contributed to  The Arc’s mission.
    “These awards are given to individuals or groups who render truly outstanding assistance to The Arc Baltimore and the people with developmental disabilities The Arc supports,” Ray Weiss of Weiss PR Associates explained in an email to The Eagle.
    During this year’s ceremony, held at the Crowne Plaza Baltimore hotel in Timonium on May 1, Nick Athanasis received a Special Recognition Award for his work with The Arc.
    Though he provides a valuable service as a food and medical supply vendor, Athanasis was honored for consistently going above and beyond to support The Arc, especially at the Dundalk center.
    As The Arc noted in a program distributed at the  awards ceremony, Athanasis has provided aid and emergency assistance to the Dundalk center many times in the past.
    Once, when the Dundalk center was threatened by power outages during a hurricane, Athanasis sent a refrigerated truck and several employees to relocate the center’s perishable foods until power was restored.
    In another show of support for the Dundalk center, Athanasis once brought five pallets of food to the center and then stored much of it himself when the center ran out of space for the goods.
    All of this support was offered freely by Athanasis at no charge.
    Athanasis also supports The Arc in a variety of financial ways.
    Last year, he was able to secure a donation to The Arc from a Frederick-based camp he had been supplying.
    He also serves as a sponsor of The Arc’s annual golf tournament and Art in the Round fundraising events.
    His desire to assist The Arc was born of a deep respect for the organization’s mission.
    “I admired what they did,” Athanasis told The Eagle last week. “Any time there was an opportunity to get involved, I offered my services to them.”
    While he does not support The Arc for the purpose of winning awards, Athanasis was nonetheless delighted to learn he was being honored.
    “Quite frankly, I was surprised and very honored. I never expected any type of recognition,” he explained.
    For its part, The Arc is just as delighted to be associated with Athanasis.
    “We are fortunate to know Nick’s professionalism and generosity,” the group noted in the award ceremony program.
    While Athanasis is pleased to have received The Arc’s Special Recognition Award, he is not content to rest on his laurels, instead saying he will continue to support The Arc and its mission as the need arises.