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Dream Come True: 80 Years in the Making

Irvin attends first-ever Philadelphia Eagles Game on New Year's Eve.

As we move into the new year with many hopes and dreams, Irvin W., a participant in SpArc Services’ Cultural Arts program, began his year with a dream come true.

Irvin W. is not only an artist in heart and mind but is also a devout Philadelphia Eagles fan through and through. When he's not making vibrant, multicolored art and beaded jewelry or starring in SpArc’s independent film, Tom & Tina: A Love Story, you can bet that Irvin is watching, rooting for, or talking about the Eagles.

Irvin remarks, “I watch the Eagles all the time, even if they’re winning or losing.” The day after a game, it’s tradition for Irvin to arrive at SpArc’s program rocking his Eagles gear, ready to discuss the game.

After 80 years of being a loyal and passionate Philadelphia Eagles fan, Irvin attended his first-ever Eagles game on December 31st with the generous support of the Pennhurst Memorial and Preservation Alliance.

In 2023, PMPA received a generous contribution to support original members of the Pennhurst class by helping them purchase items, experiences, or anything the class members want that would enhance their lives. The contribution is one of the many ways the Pennhurst Memorial and Preservation Alliance has supported the lives and history of the individuals who resided at Pennhurst before its closure by the federal court in 1987.

This past December marked Irvin’s fifth anniversary in the Cultural Arts program at SpArc. So, when Heather Robb, Director of Program Administration, received news of the PMPA opportunity, she leaped at the chance to nominate Irvin, who was a resident at Pennhurst for 16 years. While Irvin doesn’t remember much from his time there, we are delighted to assist him in establishing new, joyous memories.

After receiving word that he could attend the game, Irvin was filled with glee and excitement. Robb, who relayed the news, recounts, "He was so happy, he smiled and said, 'Yippee!'”

Aniya Rogers, Irvin’s Program Specialist, recited her account, “Irvin had the biggest excitement on his face that I've ever seen on him… He's mentioned the game to everyone in the program area every single day and continues to mention how excited he is about going.”

When asked about the Eagles game, Irvin exclaimed that he was ready to have a blast and was most excited “to see the cheerleaders, the players, and the coach at the game.” Irvin wishes to share his love of art and filmmaking with the Philadelphia Eagles team and cheerleaders and hopes they will join him in SpArc’s upcoming film with the Philadelphia Film Society!

We are overjoyed that after 80 years, Irvin’s dream of going to an Eagles game has come true by the very first day of the new year. He thanks SpArc, Pennhurst Memorial and Preservation Alliance, and everyone else involved for the opportunity of a lifetime.

Irvin’s story is just the beginning of the many exciting opportunities, events, and stories we have in store for 2024! 

About Pennhurst Memorial and Preservation Alliance

The Pennhurst Memorial and Preservation Alliance uses the harrowing history of Pennhurst " promote an understanding of the struggle for dignity and full civil rights for persons with disabilities,” and whose vision is “ be part of an effort to create a world-class museum to honor and memorialize the ongoing civil and human rights struggle of Americans with disabilities at a location of national significance, to assure that we never go back.” Additional information can be found here: 

Neurodiversity in the Workplace Partner Organizations