Thunder Makes Noise at Gompers Habilitation Center

Thunder dispensed hugs, high-fives and fist bumps on Friday, June 11, in a first-ever visit to the Gompers Habilitation Center on North 27th Avenue in Phoenix, not far from the GCU campus.

Dozens of developmentally disabled participants in the Gompers day program gave the Antelopes’ mascot a reception befitting a rock star. The hour-long visit was arranged by Mack Sloan, an instructor in the University’s College of Health Sciences, and Gompers’ executive director, Mark Jacoby.

Jacoby said the facility puts on a Thanksgiving dinner and invites The Gorilla (Phoenix Suns), Big Red (Arizona Cardinals) and D. Baxter (Arizona Diamondbacks). He said Thunder is welcome to join the party.

“Talk about a cyclone of chaos!” Jacoby said of the annual event. “They really enjoy the mascots coming in. They have a blast.”
The Gompers program has almost 200 participants, ranging in age from 7 to 70. The range of disabilities is just as wide, Jacoby said. The three primary functions of the site are a private school, an adult program and a dental center. An additional 130 are based at the Gompers Vocational Center near 53rd Avenue and Bethany Home Road.

Sloan, who has had a long-running relationship with the Arizona Recreation Center for the Handicapped (ARCH), said he will look for more outreach opportunities with Gompers.

Gideon Goldstein would be all for it. Thunder’s visit made his day.

“The mascot from Grand Canyon University came to see us!” Goldstein exclaimed as Thunder entered the Gompers cafeteria. “That’s awesome! Oh man, this is great! Excellent!”

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