Make a Big Difference! Apply to be on one of The Arc’s National Committees

National Committees image

Do you want to make a big difference?

Then why not apply to be on one of The Arc’s national committees!

The Arc is seeking enthusiastic candidates to fill several roles. Community leaders, corporate executives and others willing to volunteer their time and service are encouraged to apply. We’re seeking individuals who are passionate about advocating for the betterment of the lives of children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Committee positions are for 1 year terms and recruitment is open until February 10, 2011.

If you wish to be considered, please complete the online Committee Application.

You can learn more about what The Arc does here and read about our 60 years of advocacy for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities here.

What Happens When Care Runs Out?

Thousands of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities have their names sitting on waiting lists across the country, hoping they can gain access to the services and support they need to live normal lives. Family members wonder what will happen when funding for services for their school-aged children runs out.

It’s a grim picture.

Watching this segment from PBS’ Need to Know will give you just a glimpse into the world of a person with an intellectual or developmental disability and their family. It’s families and individuals like those highlighted in the story that The Arc, and in this case, The Arc of Indiana helps every day.

This is why The Arc does what it does. Our more than 700 chapters across the country provide unique services and supports to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. We create national initiatives – like the Walmart Foundation: School-to-Community Transition Project, which funds programs that help young adults transition from schools to community settings – to foster solutions to complicated problems.

And, as one father says in the story, “to uplift those who are not as uplifted as we are.”

Celebrate Paul Marchand

Paul Marchand

Paul Marchand

For 38 years, Paul Marchand was one of the most ardent and successful disability policy advocates working on behalf of The Arc, United Cerebral Palsy and the entire intellectual and developmental disability community. Upon his retirement in January, it was obvious that our organizations would suffer if we did not immediately cultivate advocates of his caliber to eventually fill his shoes. We also couldn’t imagine letting someone like Paul walk away without doing something significant to celebrate his storied career.

With Paul’s blessing, we created The Paul Marchand Internship Fund to establish a policy fellowship supporting young people pursuing careers in public policy advocacy for people with I/DD. The Fund will help enable future professionals to work at an approved site in Washington, D.C. by offsetting travel expenses, helping with cost-of-living expenses or other means of assistance.

The goal is to raise $50,000 for one or two fellows in 2011. To kick off a campaign for the fellowship fund and to honor Paul in person in the company of his colleagues and friends, there will be a special reception during the annual Disability Policy Seminar in D.C. in which Paul has always played a large role. We invite you to join us Tuesday evening, February 15 in support of The Paul Marchand Internship Fund. Find out more about the Fund and The Disability Policy Seminar at www.disabilitypolicyseminar.org or www.thearc.org.

The Arc and UCP to Create New Policy Operations

Since 2003, the Disability Policy Collaboration (DPC) has been the shared public policy arm of UCP and The Arc. The DPC focuses on federal legislative and regulatory efforts to improve the lives of individuals with disabilities and their families.

Since its inception, the DPC has been a vital force in shaping federal legislation to advance the lives of people with disabilities and, most recently, played a significant role in the passage of Health Care Reform as well as Rosa’s Law.

With the announced retirement of Staff Director Paul Marchand in December 2010, the two organizations began a reassessment of the collaboration to determine the most effective way to engage in advocacy and policy efforts in the future.

Effective April 1, 2011, the DPC will cease and each organization will resume its own public policy program while continuing to join together on select projects as well as actively participate as members of the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD).

“We are proud of all that the DPC has accomplished over its eight years, pushing for civil rights protections and public policies that provide support to ensure fair and full citizenship for people with disabilities,” said Stephen Bennett, President and Chief Executive Officer of United Cerebral Palsy. “We look forward to continuing our partnership with The Arc, both as a member of CCD and through shared, targeted projects. We believe that our new approach will only expand the number and strength of advocates striving to create a life without limits for people with disabilities.”

“The efforts of the DPC have had an immeasurable impact on federal legislation and regulatory efforts that improve the lives of people with disabilities and their families,” said Peter V. Berns, CEO of The Arc.  “As we move forward, The Arc and UCP will continue to be vigorous advocates for people with disabilities and to create opportunity in every aspect of their lives.”

How to Send Ron Barber Good Wishes

One of The Arc’s own was hurt in the tragic shooting that took place in Arizona Saturday. Thankfully, Ron Barber, U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords’ district director and an advocate for The Arc of Tucson is recovering.

The Arc of Tuscon sent an email Monday to the local press, giving the public and disability community a way to send Ron good wishes and stay up to date on his condition:

Dear Arc Members and Friends:

As many of you know, our longtime friend and highly respected advocate for persons with disabilities, Ron Barber , was shot in Saturday’s tragic event. Many of you have asked for some information on his medical condition and now there is way for you to keep updated. And, best of all, you can send him your personal messages, which I encourage you to do.

Go to www.CaringBridge.org and register your name and email. There are no fees or hidden tricks with registering with CaringBridge. You will receive a return email confirming your email address, and then you can go to the site anytime and click on “Visit”. A box comes up and you will type in ronbarber – this will take you to his personal page where you can read about him and post personal messages.

All of us at The Arc of Tucson are keeping Ron and his family, as well as Gabrielle Giffords and others involved, in our prayers and I encourage you all to do the same.

More State Budget Cuts Mean Fewer Civil Rights for People with I/DD

Scissors imageNYSARC’s latest “News & Alerts/Legislative Advocacy Network” spotlights services to people with I/DD being cut by state governments across the nation to balance budgets and stem acute fiscal crises.

Budget cuts would be devastating to service providers and to those who receive services, like Maryland resident Ken Capone, who has cerebral palsy. Capone, a self-advocate and public policy coordinator for People on the Go said, “I just got approved for in-home services. I live with my mother. She’s in her 70s and is still my primary caregiver. I don’t want to lose the services that I just received because of the cuts. It’s scary what would happen if I did lose my services.”

From coast to coast – from Washington to Massachusetts – funding for basic services is at risk and thousands will be hit hard. The Maryland Secretary of the State’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene says “we’re beyond the point where painless cuts can be made.”

Recently we shared advocacy efforts by The Arc of Texas on behalf of more than 4,500 people with I/DD in Texas “trapped” in nursing homes providing inadequate care. The Arc and the Coalition of Texans with Disabilities joined to file a class-action lawsuit against Texas along with six individuals with I/DD.

The Arc knows that most people receive better care in a community-based facility or in their own homes and in this instance, “Many are denied the opportunity to live where they choose.” said Mike Bright, executive director of The Arc of Texas.

Advocates know more budget cuts undermine the ability of an individual to make choices about where they live, work and enjoy the freedom to live independently. As one disability advocate in Boston said, “the bottom line is that the more budget cuts we endure, the more our civil rights are reduced.”

Image by Brokenarts.