VALDOSTA -- Lowndes County Options, a supported living community for young adults with disabilities, will hold A Vineyard Event at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Valdosta Country Club. Tickets are $50.

Participants will spend the evening tasting a selection of wines and heavy hors d'oeuvres and bidding on a wine cabinet for their home. Dress is semi-formal or black tie optional.

Kendall Waller, local board member, described A Vineyard Event as "a great time, complete with great food, wine and people." She said organizers would like to sell at least 200 tickets, if not more.

Wine vendors include Georgia Crown Distributing Company, United Distributors Inc., Empire Distributors Inc. and National Distributing Company.

In September 2004, Easter Seals of Southern Georgia celebrated the opening of Lowndes County's first supported living apartment complex. Known as Lowndes County Options, the six-unit facility is located on East Park Avenue.

Elaine Robinson was among the first to put her daughter Lisa, 30, on the waiting list for an apartment and described moving day as both a joyous and sad occasion. She knew her daughter needed to learn how to be an independent person, to deal with life and living on her own.

Lisa Robinson, who suffered a head injury during a 1988 automobile accident, described independent living as "good in a way." She spends her days and nights in her new apartment thinking about her future, which she hopes includes employment.

The Lowndes County Options apartment complex was built using grant monies from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, state funds, and proceeds from fund-raisers like the Chocolate Classic. Similar supported living facilities have been constructed by Easter Seals in Tifton, Albany and Cordele.

An Easter Seals of Southern Georgia staff member lives on site, providing assistance and transportation for the residents. Rent is set on an individual basis.

Easter Seals of Southern Georgia Executive Director Beth English said there are so many physically and developmentally disabled adults eager to live independently that Easter Seals could construct supported living facilities each year and fill them all.

Proceeds from A Vineyard Event will be used to help finish paying off the cost of constructing Lowndes County Options, Waller said.

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