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Falmouth Fund at Work: Plan It Network

Falmouth Enterprise

Elaine Sinni and Lola Packard, former providers in the state’s developmental disabilities program, had seen firsthand the isolation of people with intellectual disabilities. “We saw that they became very socially isolated,” she said. “They wanted friends, but they had difficulty finding friends.”

So six years ago, Ms. Sinni, a Falmouth resident, and Ms. Packard, of Plymouth, founded Plan It Network. The Upper Cape nonprofit group, with an all-volunteer staff and board, provides social and recreational outlets for people who are developmentally delayed.

The group meets once a month at the Gus Canty Community Center on East Main Street in Falmouth, usually hosting 30 or 40 people. “This is a safe place for them,” Ms. Sinni said. The meetings that feature singing and dancing are especially popular, she added.

The two women recently branched further into the creative arts with the introduction of a program run by Ms. Packard called Network Players. The Falmouth Fund of the Cape Cod Foundation has granted Network Players $500 for program support.

“The Plan It Network program is exactly what The Falmouth Fund was created to support: grassroots organizations serving people in Falmouth with transformation results,” said Eileen Miskell, Falmouth Fund chairman. “Elaine Sinni and Lola Packard are the kind of heroes we need to enrich our community for everyone.”

Network Players features an array of creative expression arts, including theater, music, art, dance, and poetry, allowing clients to sharpen their craft and provide a personal venue for creative exploration and expression. “With budgets being cut in the creative arts, it gives our population little opportunity to be involved in the arts,” Ms. Packard says. “It’s a safe, comforting setting for creative expression.”

Network Players meets regularly in office space in Homeport on Gifford Street, Falmouth. “We try to emphasize people’s gifts,” Ms. Sinni said.

She and Ms. Packard want to build public awareness of people with intellectual disabilities and ultimately, to have their own space.

One of the group’s latest projects is a rap song, composed of information Ms. Sinni is gathering about her clients’ lives. “It’s a lot of fun,” she said. Only partially completed, the song so far is a creative testament to the value of inclusion, community, and acceptance:

Look at me, I know I’m not like you.
‘Cause my hair is red and my eyes are blue.
I may not know all the things you know,
But I know some things that I’m proud to show.

For more information about Plan It Network or to make a donation, visit www.planitnetwork.org or call 508-648-2026. For more information on The Falmouth Fund, call 508-790-3040.

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