RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — The Raleigh Mayor’s Committee For Persons with Disabilities recently honored people and organizations that have made an impact on the community of people with disabilities.

Forming friendships is one goal of L’Arche North Carolina.

“They’re welcoming people of all genders, abilities, religions, non-religions, so it’s a really amazing organization,” said volunteer, Kyla Ponciano.

The nonprofit offers community events and programs designed to bring people together.

“We create communities for people with and without intellectual and developmental disabilities,” explained Laura Lorino, L’Arche North Carolina‘s executive director.

Programs take place a couple of times a week and are open to anyone. They include cooking, crafting, and other activities.

“We are also establishing our first home; it will be a residential program for folks in Durham,” Lorino noted.

The organization’s work drew the attention of the Raleigh Mayor’s Committee for Persons With Disabilities, which honored L’Arche North Carolina.

The mayor’s committee also recognized other organizations and individuals for making an impact on the community of people with disabilities.

Sherri Vernelson, who works for the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction’s Office of Exceptional Children, says it’s important to make sure even the youngest children have access to services they need — so they are included in the community.

Looking for more positive news in your day? Check out The Bright Side ☀️

“We’re working with families and helping them understand how they can educate others on including their children and then moving that into the schools as well,” she said. “Just helping people understand that everybody should be involved, whether they have a disability or not.”

Ponciano echoed that message of inclusion.

“People are people and they’re a flower in one garden,” she said. “It doesn’t matter color, race, religion. You’re a person.”