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Friday Nite Funtime keeps community in touch

Monthly dances usually get around 100 attendees and include people with developmental disabilities from all over the county and beyond.

December 26, 2012|By Andrew Shortall

It was tough for Yvonne Bantoft to show up to the Friday Nite Funtime Dance at Edison Community Center last Friday.

Bantoft had taken her husband to the emergency room that morning, which made it hard for the event director to go to the two-hour dance, but by the end of the night, she was happy she attended.

"There's just a lot of things going on right now," Bantoft said. "It's been a day, but being here and seeing all the happy faces is what does it. … All the smiles and making my brother happy, that's what's most important to me."

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Bantoft's parents, Joe and Dolores Segura, started Friday Nite Funtime Dances, which take place the third Friday of each month for adults with developmental disabilities, at the Edison Community Center 26 years ago and are still involved, despite health issues.

Friday Nite Funtime was born out of necessity, Joe said, when their son Martin Segura graduated from college.

"I'd see kids finishing school at the age of 22 and they're gone," said Joe, whose son was born with brain damage. "While they're in school, they have dances for them and activities, but once they leave the school there's nothing for them — no activities at all. We started thinking about what would happen when our son graduated."

Friday Nite Funtime is a Segura family tradition. Joe and Dolores gave up running the event a few years ago when Dolores was diagnosed with breast cancer. It ran for about a year under someone outside the Segura family and was going downhill fast, Dolores said, so Bantoft volunteered to take over.

"We think, 'We should give it up, no, we can't give it up,'" said Dolores, who had surgery to remove the cancer. "It's just amazing how they come and they get so excited. We're happy for them because they don't see each other otherwise."

It's not just a family event, but a community one. Local Kiwanis and Knights of Columbus chapters donate money to the event, which is given insurance and the location by the city. Adams Avenue Donuts has been donating donuts for Friday Nite Funtime Dances for the past 15 years, Joe said.

"It's hard to get going before every third week of the month and you get tired after awhile, but once you're there the evening goes by and the kids just have a ball," said Joe, 74. "We have to keep doing it."

Since 1986, Martin has had something to look forward to every month, thanks to his parents and sister.

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