Adults from the Communities of Don Guanella and Divine Providence (DGDP) enjoyed several turns on the floor during a June 19 formal. Through DGDP, archdiocesan Catholic Social Services provides a broad range of support to adults with intellectual disabilities. (Photo courtesy of Barbara Jenkins)

Adults with intellectual disabilities recently donned their finest evening wear for a dance that has become a beloved Delaware County tradition.

Men and women from the Communities of Don Guanella and Divine Providence (DGDP) celebrated their annual spring formal at the Drexelbrook Special Event Center on June 19.

An agency of archdiocesan Catholic Social Services (CSS), the DGDP communities provide a broad range of support that includes community and campus-based living arrangements, life sharing through family living, in-home supports, respite care and day programs.


DGDP is licensed by Pennsylvania’s Department of Human Services as intermediate care facilities (ICFs) for individuals with intellectual disabilities.

Approximately 435 individuals — including clients, families and caregivers — attended this year’s formal, a beach-inspired bash entitled “Sea of Dreams.”

“It was a fun summer theme,” said Barbara Jenkins, DGDP’s director of admissions and communications, adding that DGDP clients had selected the title by vote. “Everyone has dreams, and some even come true at a special evening such as this.”

Jenkins summed up the formal as a “magical and enchanted” gathering for participants, who filled the dance floor throughout the event.

While many adults nowadays are glued to their cell phones, the dance “was full of tactile happenings that could never be replaced with a text or a social media post,” said Jenkins.

The formal also offered clients the opportunity to socialize, while promoting the concepts of independence and personal choice, which are integral to the services provided by DGDP.