Convention Day Two: Honors, New Projects and Reflecting on the Past and Future

The second, and final day of The Arc’s 2010 Convention wrapped up yesterday, and the highlights flowed all day.

In fact, there were so many highlights, I’m putting them into a list! Here’s the top four moments from day two at The Arc’s 2010 Convention:

Margaret-Lee Thompson Award Winner image

Margaret-Lee Thompson, of The Arc of King County, won the 2010 Advocacy Matters! Award.

2. Margaret-Lee Thompson received the Advocacy Matters! award, which was established in honor of the late Lorraine Sheehan. Margaret was chosen to receive the Advocacy Matters! Award because she exemplifies the spirit of Lorraine, who spent her life advocating for the rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

3. Ann Cameron Caldwell provided an overview on the exciting new Autism Now project, stemming from a $1.87 million grant awarded to The Arc by the Administration on Developmental Disabilities in September.

Sharon Lewis Plenary image

Sharon Lewis, Commissioner of the ADD, spoke at one of the plenary events.

4. Sharon Lewis, Commissioner of the ADD and Kathy Greenlee, Assistant Secretary for the Administration on Aging, spoke at plenary sessions. Plus, Melody Musgrove, Director of the Office of Special Education, also took the podium at a plenary session.

For more photos of yesterday’s activities, see our Facebook page and our Flickr profile. And remember, you can get breaking updates from our Twitter profile, and follow the conversation via our hash tag: #thearc10.

A Glee-ful Start to Convention 2010

Image and Inclusion Award 2010

Actresses Robin Trocki and Lauren Potter from the hit show Glee received The Arc’s Inclusion & Image Award at the 2010 Convention in recognition of their achievements in television for breaking down barriers, increasing awareness and challenging stereotypes.

Yesterday turned into one of the most memorable days in The Arc’s history. The Arc’s celebrated its 60th year with an opening day at its annual convention that included a sneak peek of our new brand and logo, to be revealed to the public in March, and a visit by Actresses Lauren Potter and Robin Trocki from the hit show Glee.

The stars received The Arc’s Inclusion & Image Award in recognition of their achievements in television for breaking down barriers, increasing awareness and challenging stereotypes. They answered questions from the audience, signed autographs for people and posed for pictures with fans. Both ladies said they love acting and being on the show Glee. They even answered the tough questions, like “Do you have boyfriends?” The answer from both? A resounding yes.

But all fun aside, both ladies, and their family members, emphasized the importance of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities embracing a life full of determination, advocating for themselves all along the way. Their example is an inspiration to many.

For more photos of yesterday’s activities, see our Facebook page and our Flickr profile. And remember, you can get breaking updates from our Twitter profile, and follow the conversation via our hash tag: #thearc10.

Four Ways to Follow the 2010 Convention

The Arc's 2010 Convention imageWhether you’re attending this year’s convention or not, there’s plenty going on that you’ll want to keep up with. Following all the happenings is easier than ever, thanks to the web and social media.

  1. Follow this blog. Seems like a no-brainer, but we just launched, so help us spread the word. We’ll fill this spot with all the news and information coming out of convention. You can find the latest headlines from the blog right on our home page, in the bottom left-hand corner.
  2. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. Each day, we’ll be posting real-time updates on our social media profiles as well, in addition to meatier updates here. On Twitter, you can use the hash tag, #thearc10 to follow the conversation centered around the convention. If you’re at convention, and tweeting, feel free to jump into discussion.
  3. Visit our Flickr page. Flickr, a place to share photos, we’ll be the first place we post photos each day from convention events. Also, if you’re taking and posting photos there, we invite you to post them to our group page.
  4. Use the Convention website. Our convention website is still the best place to go for all the convention particulars, like the schedule, list of sponsors and exhibitors and more.

Welcome to our New Blog

Blog Welcome imageYou might have noticed something new on our website in the past few days. The Arc has a new blog!

We linked to a few posts in the latest issue of Fusion, our e-newsletter for chapters. However, if you’re just stumbling across it, we wanted to welcome you.

This is the official blog of The Arc. In this space, we’ll aim to accomplish three things:

  • To provide real-time information on the issues surrounding people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and other topics The Arc cares about.
  • To create a starting place for discussion (both online and offline) centered around the issues that the intellectual and developmental disability community want to talk about.
  • To give you all the information you need to help promote and protect the human rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and actively support their full inclusion and participation in the community throughout their lifetimes.

We want to make this spot on the web the most useful for you: our chapters, advocates, people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and other folks interested in The Arc and our mission. So don’t hesitate to participate in the conversation. We welcome it, and encourage you to read our online community guidelines before posting any comments.

If you have any ideas or more lengthy comments for the blog, please drop a note to David Kennedy at kennedy@thearc.org, or call (202) 534-3709.

Again, welcome, and thanks for reading!

Bullying in Schools Could Violate Anti-Discrimination Laws

The Department of Education issued guidance last week to support educators in combating bullying in schools by clarifying when student bullying may violate federal education anti-discrimination laws. The guidance comes in the form of a “Dear Colleague” letter sent to schools, colleges and universities, explaining educators’ legal obligations to protect students from student-on-student racial and national origin harassment, sexual and gender-based harassment, and disability harassment. President Obama also recorded a message about the problem broadcast on YouTube.

The White House and Department of Education also announced next steps to address bullying and harassment in schools. Early next year, the White House will host a conference to raise awareness and equip young people, parents, educators, coaches and other community leaders with tools to prevent bullying and harassment. This conference will build upon efforts led by the U.S. Department of Education and other federal agencies to spark a dialogue on the ways in which communities can come together to prevent bullying and harassment.

“We’ve got to dispel the myth that bullying is just a normal rite of passage, or an inevitable part of growing up. It’s not,” said President Obama. “We have an obligation to ensure that our schools are safe for all of our kids. Every single young person deserves the opportunity to learn and grow and achieve their potential, without having to worry about the constant threat of harassment.”

Following the release of today’s guidance, the Department plans to hold technical assistance workshops around the country in early 2011 to help educators better understand their obligations and the resources available to take prompt and effective steps that will end harassment and bullying in schools and on college campuses.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=geyAFbSDPVk&fs=1&hl=en_US&rel=0]

The Obama administration launched a Stop the Bullying Now campaign and www.bullyinginfo.org, a national database of effective anti-bullying programs. Read the “Dear Colleague” letter here or hear the President’s message here (or view it above).

The Arc of Indiana’s John Dickerson on the “Real Problem”

On Wednesday, the Associated Press reported that some state workers in Indiana suggested leaving people with intellectual and developmental disabilities at homeless shelters if they can’t be cared for at home due to decreased funding for support services.

The Arc of Indiana’s John Dickerson on posted on his blog about the “real problem.”

He said:

No family who cares for a loved one with a developmental disability such as autism, Down syndrome, or cerebral palsy should ever be told that a homeless shelter is an option.  But, punishing state employees will not address a very real problem.

The real problem is that viable options are not being made available to families due to Indiana’s revenue short fall and changes in state policy.  Families in need are facing a crisis in receiving critical services.

What can you do to help?

  • Learn a bit more about what we do.
  • If you’re in Indiana, join The Arc and contribute to the solution.
  • Or you can make a donation, and know that it will go a long way in helping create solutions to this pressing issue.

Indiana Ends Food Aid for People with Developmental Disabilities

The Arc of Indiana’s John Dickerson, the chapter’s executive director, says:

We’ve got to have some sort of a way to cover people in the meantime because otherwise this new food policy could leave people without any food budget at all.

You can read the full story from the Washington Post here.

Top Ten Reasons to Attend The Arc’s National Convention in Florida November 3-6

Convention Speaker image10. Get an overview of the newly established Autism NOW! Center funded by a $1.87 million grant from the Administration on Developmental Disabilities.

9. Hear from Sharon Lewis, Commissioner of the ADD, and Melody Musgrove, Director of the Office of Special Education, U.S. Department of Education, who are speaking at this year’s plenary session.

8. Celebrate Paul Marchand’s 38-year career and contributions to The Arc at the Closing Dinner.

7. Take advantage of networking at the single biggest gathering of the year for self-advocates and families, members of The Arc, employees, board members, experts and professionals.

6. Celebrate the 60th anniversary of The Arc and get ready for the next 60 years.

5. Witness the unveiling of The Arc’s new brand identity.

4. Enjoy sunny Florida and dance the night away at a party hosted by The Arc of Florida and spend some time at Disney World®.

3. Tell your story and be part of The Archive as we record the oral histories of people involved in the intellectual and developmental disability movement.

2. Let Hammer Travel handle the headache of getting there with special travel arrangements personalized for people with disabilities.

1. Have your voice heard and participate in the future of The Arc through elections, forums, roundtable sessions and more.

To register, go to our Convention website.