By Madeline Zuckerman

The generosity of this community never ceases to amaze!  There was a tremendous outpouring of community support as Desert Arc celebrated its 65th Anniversary with an Italian Festival & Car Show hosted by Southwest Church.  Mario Del Guidice, Owner of Mario’s Italian Café, who has championed Desert Arc’s mission for over 40 years, generously underwrote all food for this event, with 100% of proceeds being donated back to Desert Arc.

(left to right) Lori Serfling, long time Desert Arc Board Member and past Board Chair, and Aubrey Serfling.

“This event was a resounding and all-encompassing success in celebration of the launch of our 65th Anniversary year!” said Richard Balocco, President/CEO of Desert Arc. “Mario Del Guidice is a GREAT friend of our nonprofit organization. He single-handedly engaged a tremendous collaborative of new community partners for Desert Arc, including Southwest Church, three premier car clubs, entertainers from local high schools, a professional magician, a snow cone vendor, among many others, who generously donated their support for this special event.

(left to right) Damian Jenkins, Desert Arc Board Chair, Mario Del Guidice, Owner of Mario’s Italian Cafés, and Richard Balocco, President/CEO of Desert Arc.

100% of the proceeds from the Italian menu offerings contributed by Mario’s Italian Café along with the car show registration fees and donations received from the attendees raised $15,000 for Desert Arc.”


There was something for everyone in attendance, including an elegant Car Show presented by the Palm Springs Corvette Club, the Scorpions Car Club, and the Palm Springs Cruisin’ Association. Festivities kicked off with Xavier College Preparatory High School’s Dance Team performing three precision dance routines. “Our goal as a Dance Team, and one of the things I try to teach my dancers is how important it is to give back to the community by participating in these events,” said Reggie Rover, Head Coach of Xavier’s Dance Team.  “And, when Mario asks us to participate, we always say yes.”

Photo of La Quinta High School’s Movement Dance Team.

High Hopes Dance Troupe took to the stage next, comprised of young people and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. These dancers were truly inspirational, strutting their stuff to overwhelming applause. High Hopes has been performing for 11 years in our Valley for The Autism Society, Old Town Artisan Studios’ Ginger Bread Lane, and United Cerebral Palsy. “These dancers delight audiences with their heart-warming performances, and bring people to their feet and smiles to their faces,” said Renee Griffin, Managing Director.

Photo of Xavier College Preparatory High School Dance Team.

The entertainment continued as Jimmy Bentley performed his fun Magic Show, followed by the highly-talented Lion’s Pride Chamber Singers from Cathedral City High School.  As the official choir of Cathedral City, this group has performed at Carnegie Hall in New York and at McCallum Theatre’s Open Call.  La Quinta High School’s Movement Dance Team was next on stage performing their superb dance routines, and guests were captivated by the beautiful voice of Gia singing memorable tunes.

Photo of Lion’s Pride Chamber Singers from Cathedral City.

“I do whatever I can always to help Desert Arc because the programs and services they provide for people with disabilities are awe inspiring,” said Mario Del Guidice, Owner of Mario’s Italian Cafés.  “I just want to be known as a loyal friend to Desert Arc.”

About Desert Arc

Desert Arc is a leading nonprofit, providing comprehensive services for over 700 adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities within the Coachella Valley, the Morongo Basin, and outlying desert communities.  Since its founding in 1959, Desert Arc has been enhancing the quality of life and creating opportunities for people with disabilities. The vision is to increase the choices, capabilities, and independence of adults with disabilities. The comprehensive programs such as its Adult Day Program, are designed to give each individual, the most vulnerable members of our society, a safe and supportive, persons-centric resource base to reach their highest potential to live, work, and socialize in the community.

For more information on Desert Arc please call 760.346.1611 or visit