Twenty Five years ago when Wilmington’s former “good guy” Judy DiPalma founded Angels in Motion she knew from personal experience how important it was for handicapped individuals as well as their caregivers to have a strong support system.
Suffering from Multiple Sclerosis herself, DiPalma started A.I.M. because, as she explained, “I wanted people to be able to drop off a loved one at A.I.M. so that they could both spend time meeting new people.”
Today, as A.I.M. prepares to celebrate its silver anniversary it is clear that DiPalma succeeded in reaching her goal and, at the same time, far exceeded many of her own expectations. The organization that she has long referred to as “her baby” has grown, evolved and, in many ways, become yet another representation of just how much the Wilmington Community cares.
“I completely understand why Judy founded A.I.M.," Noreen Curdo, member of Women of Wilmington and longtime volunteer at A.I.M. said. "It was to create a group where people could lean on and support each other. It truly is a testament to what this town is all about.”
Recently, Panera Bread began supporting A.I.M. by donating bakery products for the meetings. Members are often able to take a loaf of bread home as well.
A.I.M.’s meetings are held each Tuesday from 9:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. at Wilmington’s Knights of Columbus. Along with another member of W.O.W., Pam Almeida, Curdo spends every other Tuesday volunteering and hosting a variety of W.O.W. sponsored activities and events at the meetings.
These often include events such as performances by The Wild Irish Rovers, a slide show of historic Wilmington homes hosted by Theresa McDermott, curator of Wilmington’s town museum, demonstrations by The Dance Academy Performance Teams and even a show by the Salisbury Bell Ringers scheduled for the December 11 Holiday Party.
Perhaps the most exciting event in the near future, however, is the 25th anniversary party scheduled for the weekly A.I.M. meeting on Tuesday, October 23. The celebration will center on the group, its success and, of course, the people who have been involved over the years.
“There are so many people involved in A.I.M that make it such a success,” explained Curdo. “The people who attend the meetings, the kitchen crew, and the volunteers who have been here over the years truly are the ‘angels’ that keep A.I.M. going.”
One of the most important parts of A.I.M. is quite simply been involvement and participation and, in many ways, that’s what anniversary celebration will be about also. There will be a Fall Basket to be raffled off but, at the upcoming A.I.M. celebration raffle tickets will not be available for purchase.
Instead, raffle tickets will be earned by participating in games like “Name that Tune” and “Show that Dance Move.” In addition members who bring a new friend along to the meeting will also earn an extra chance at the basket.
Along with games, lunch and of course, friendship attendees can also look forward to a chance to look at a little of A.I.M.’s history over the years. DiPalma has promised to bring her photo albums so that everyone has a chance to see the old photos and reminisce a bit.
The A.I.M. Silver Anniversary Celebration is scheduled for Tuesday, October 23, from 9 a.m.–2 p.m. at the Wilmington Knights of Columbus. In true A.I.M. form Curdo reminds everyone that, “All are welcome to attend.”