By Andy Furman
It was March 15th – the beginning of the end.
In other words – it was the beginning of the pandemic – the coronavirus was sprouting its ugly head.
And Regina Watts, the Activities Director for The Point/Arc was ready to attend – and hopefully participate on the TV show, The Price Is Right.
“It was one of our biggest trips of the year,” said the 60-year-old native of Covington. “We were set for a group trip to Los Angeles, to see The Price Is Right TV show; and it was cancelled due to the virus.”
Trips are something Watts has been doing during her 13 years at The Point/Arc.
The Point/Arc began in 1972 as a support group for parents of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD).
“We’ve grown to a holistic agency with a wide range of around-the-clock programs for more than 1,400 individuals with a variety of disabilities, from autism to down syndrome to many one-of-a-kind diagnoses,” Watts said.
And her job – even through a pandemic- is to keep the clients active.
“We have movie nights, bingo, karaoke and game nights,” she said. “Also, there are bi-monthly dances.”
From May through early August there’s softball to be played; bowling from September through the end of April; and basketball from mid-October from the first of the year, she rattled away.
“John G. Carlisle Elementary School in Covington is our home court,” she said, “and we scrimmage Covington Latin and Blessed Sacrament School.”
There’s more on Regina Watts’ plate – vacations.
“We have three-to-four a year,” she said. “They’re week-long. Some camping, and we’ve had a three-day trip with our clients to the Bahamas.”
Typically, Watts says about six clients and one volunteer make the trip with her.
“When we have a group trip – like to Canada, Myrtle Beach or Virginia Beach – with 10 clients, we’ll go with three volunteers and myself,” she said.
But with COVID, trips are on hold – but Watts has gone virtual.
“We’ve got our movie night on a link, bingo is on-line as well as our scavenger hunt,” she said. “The hardest part,” she moaned, “is not seeing the individuals. The social aspect, which is so important, is missing.”
Watts says she works with individuals from 20-25 years of age and up. “Our oldest is 82,” she said.
“I send out a weekly meeting request,” she said, “and we can hold close to 300 in a room. I love the first few minutes of our on-line meetings – that’s when we can actually see one another.”
The annual Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners were Covid-scrapped, Watts said, “but I’m proud of them. They all can now go on-line for a Zoom call without much support. Every meeting,” she added, “is a teachable moment.”
Challenging and rewarding is the way Watts describes her role during the pandemic. “I suffered more than they did, by not seeing them,” said the grad of Northern Kentucky University. “I’m blessed to be part of their lives – they’ve included me in theirs.”
And maybe – just maybe – that’s better than winning The Price is Right.