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Avita centers host fall festival
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Jessie Parson dances with Bill at the Avita fall festival at Rock Creek Park Oct. 18. - photo by Jessica Taylor

The Dawsonville-Dahlonega Avita center for adults with developmental disabilities hosted a fall festival at Rock Creek Park Oct. 18 where several centers from northeast Georgia came together for a day of fun and games.

Avita Community Partners is a resource for individuals and families in northeast Georgia experiencing the effects of mental illness, developmental disabilities and addictive diseases with the goal of assisting in the development of safe, stable and meaningful lives for all.

Last week’s fall festival was an opportunity for several Avita centers to come together to socialize, play a competitive game of kickball, dance to classic rock tunes and eat treats from food trucks in what was the biggest festival Avita has ever planned.

Clients came from Avita centers serving the Dawsonville, Dahlonega, Gainesville, Toccoa, Demorest and Blairsville communities.

“We’ve never done something like this before and the clients seem to really enjoy it,” said Residential Coordinator Michelle Brown. “They love stuff like this. I mean we’ve never had it this big but we always have like parties with music and food and they love it.”

Avita’s Intellectual and Developmental Disability department typically has outings every day with their clients who volunteer in the community to help get them involved with their local and regional communities.

“We’re real big on community interactions and just getting those day-to-day interactions that people don’t really think about,” said Jessie Parson, program coordinator in Dawsonville and Dahlonega. “They go out every day in the community. They volunteer a lot. We just help them with those daily living skills that we all take for granted.”

Takoz, Kona Ice and Samples Farm were there to provide delicious food and treats for all as Eddy Collis rocked the house with his electric guitar.

“We love to do stuff like this,” said Collis’ wife, Janice.

Certified Rehabilitation Counselor Felicita Herrington organized the festival and happened to spot Collis playing his guitar in his store in Cumming and asked the couple if they would play at the fall festival. They happily volunteered their time.

“All these people together, supporting each other is incredible,” Herrington said. “To participate in the community, to interact in the society – it’s very important and it’s what Avita is based on it. We’re trying to give the clients the opportunity to participate, to be active.”