For over 10 years, Larry Ray, Owner and President of the Big Vanilla Athletic Club, has been offering health club memberships to 70 Bello Machre direct care staff who live and work in the homes. There are currently 17 staff members who are taking advantage of Big Vanilla’s generous gift which totals over $12,000. Larry Ray commented, “Bello Machre is a wonderful organization, and I have a special place in my heart for the folks they serve.” In addition, Big Vanilla provides their Rock Climbing Wall and free publicity for the Bello Machre annual Every Step Counts fundraising event held in June. Dr. Robert T. Ireland, President and CEO, commented, “Larry Ray and the Big Vanilla Athletic Club have been strong supporters of Bello Machre for many years. We are especially grateful for Larry’s friendship and ongoing commitment to our mission and our employees.”
Larry Ray, President and owner of Big Vanilla, is a long-term Anne Arundel County resident. In the late 1970s, Larry enrolled at Anne Arundel Community College with the goal of owning and operating a fitness club. After graduating Larry went on to own and co-own three clubs in the Baltimore metropolitan area, before buying the fitness portion of the Big Vanilla in 1988. In 1998 he purchased the real estate and tennis portion of the club, bringing the vision and management of all facets of the club under one person. Under his leadership the club has expanded wellness, senior wellness, personal training, sports training, martial arts, children’s programming and aquatics.
The Big Vanilla Athletic Club’s focus is family, fun and fitness. The staff is dedicated to servicing its members with a variety of programs to keep them having fun while getting fit. Big Vanilla is a fitness, wellness and recreation center with the expertise, inspiration and amenities to assist in the pursuit of a healthier lifestyle. The Big Vanilla Athletic Club has two locations – Severna Park and Pasadena, Maryland. The Pasadena club opened its new 100,000 sq. ft. facility April 2007.
The Arnold club is an 80,000 square foot enclosed area located on 7 acres.
Bello Machre means Home of My Heart in Gaelic. We provide homes and support to children, teens, adults, and seniors with developmental disabilities. More importantly, we enrich the lives of those we serve through loving care, guidance, and opportunity so that they can live life to its fullest. Many of the people we serve live in our 54 community homes located throughout Anne Arundel County, Maryland. Bello Machre also provides help and support to hundreds of children and adults in their own homes. The Ray of Hope Program offers assistance with expenses such as specialized summer camp, physical therapy, and adaptive equipment. Trained and caring staff also provides residential respite care, in your home or ours, during family hospitalizations, emergencies, and vacations—24-hours a day – seven days a week. Bello Machre is there to help with whatever is needed, empowering people with developmental disabilities to live life to its fullest.