New signage, a redesigned website and printed materials are some recent changes that can be seen at The Arc (pronounced “ark”) of Schuyler, a nonprofit organization that has been providing supports to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families for 37 years.
The Arc of Schuyler is headquartered in Watkins Glen, NY, but services are provided throughout the county. The changes are both practical and philosophical.
“We want people to understand our affiliation with The Arc of the US, a nationally recognized organization that is made up of a network of nearly 700 state and local chapters across the country”, said Jeannette Frank, Executive Director of The Arc of Schuyler. "Marketing for nonprofits is no different than marketing for any other organization. Brands are important and help people identify with products and organizations. Nationally, The Arc worked with all of its affiliates to come up with one recognizable logo and message and Schuyler is updating all of our public presence to recognize that brand,” said Frank.
The reference to The Arc vs ARC has some more important philosophical reasons that go beyond ''political correctness”. The Arc of the US website explains why the name change from “ARC” to “The Arc” matters.
“We as an organization have been sensitive to the impact of terminology on our constituency and have adapted accordingly. As the words 'retardation' and 'retarded' became pejorative, derogatory and demeaning in usage, the organization changed its name to 'The Arc.' Today, the term 'mental retardation' remains the terminology used in the medical field and referenced in many state and federal laws. However, 'intellectual disability' and 'developmental disability' are making their presence known, and we are doing everything in our power to make sure they're adopted more broadly. We strongly believe the only 'r-word' that should be used when referring to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities is “Respect”.”
A broad range of resources is available to the general public through The Arc’s website. The Autism NOW Center (autismnow.org) contains up to date information for people with autism and their families. Information for educators, siblings, self-advocates, the legal and medical community and others is available through The Arc covering topics such as public policy, future planning, heath, research and resources.”
The Arc of Schuyler provides supports to over 200 people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. The organization also operates Glen Industries, Seneca Shine Auto Detailing, Franklin Street Gallery, and Schuyler County Transit. For more information about The Arc of Schuyler, visit the new website at www.arcofschuyler.org or you can find The Arc of Schuyler on Facebook and Twitter.
Throughout the month of April, The Arc of Schuyler coordinated an agency wide pet supply drive to benefit the Humane Society of Schuyler County in support of the NYSARC Gives Back Project 2015.
The Arc collected pet food and treats, blankets, pet toys, collars, dog clothing, and other supplies. Members of the community also generously contributed to the collection. Mike (left) and Connor (right) (pictured with support staff Janet Osborn) are animal lovers who were eager to represent The Arc by delivering the donations to the Humane Society.
Mike and Connor took a tour of the new Humane Society bulding with Director, Georgie Taylor and met a number of pets available for adoption.
People receiving supports through The Arc volunteer at local non profit organizations such as Office for the Aging, local food pantries and community gardens, Watkins Glen Library, Seneca View Skilled Nursing, and others througout the year. If you are a non profit seeking volunteers, contact us at 607.535.6934.
This story is one of many examples of how chapters of NYSARC, Inc and the people they support give back to their local communties. For more examples, click here.
Click the image above to read our Annual Membership and Fund Drive 2015 Appeal
Families, advocates, and people with intellectual and developmental across New York State are urging State legislators and Gov. Cuomo to include adequate funding in the New York State Budget to meet the critical need for supports and services for people with developmental disabilities.
Chapters of NYSARC, Inc., a statewide organization supporting people with intellectual and developmental disabilities are working to bring to the public’s attention the difficulties families already encounter when trying to access services.
“Changes in government policy will only make the situation worse for families,” says Mike Doherty, executive director of the Chemung County Chapter of NYSARC. “In November 2014 bills that were approved by the State Senate and Assembly were sent to the Governor’s Office and seen as essential to address the growing waiting list of people living at home who need residential services and other supports. Unfortunately, the Governor vetoed those bills.”
Jeannette Frank, executive director of the Schuyler County Chapter of NYSARC reiterated disappointment in the Governor’s vetoes.
“Many people with intellectual and developmental disabilities live at home with their families and their parents are their primary caretaker,” Frank said. “As children age out of school the whole family loses support networks the school once provided. In order to receive support that continues into adulthood, the family needs to have their child with special needs qualify through the NYS Office for People with Developmental Disabilities’ “Front Door”. Once qualified, the options being offered to families are being limited. Families are understandably under a lot of stress because of the speed at which the State is trying to transform the system.”
NYSARC officials are calling for more attention and resources for appropriate housing options, training and maintaining professional direct support staff, and expanded opportunities for people with developmental disabilities to lead a fulfilling life.
Tom and Nancy Ruda are parents who think outside the box and with two adult daughters who have intellectual and developmental disabilities, they have to.
Tom and Nancy’s oldest daughter Katie is 35 and lives with them at their home in Watkins Glen, NY. In addition to an intellectual disability, Katie has significant medical needs and relies on her parents for support. “She used to be able to cook for herself, but now she gets confused and I have to give her instructions on simple steps and tasks like how to boil potatoes,” Nancy said.
“I have to fill her medications and if we don’t help her, she’ll take the wrong one,” Tom added. Katie had been self-sufficient for years, but her parents recognize that her body is aging rapidly and her memory is fading.
The Arc of Schuyler is utilizing a $10,000 NYSARC Trust grant to support innovative recreational programs related to technology and the arts for the people it supports.
The Arc offers daily technology classes where people learn how to use iPads and apps for both education and recreation. People also attend WiFi Wednesday technology workshops to access the internet and learn how to use agency or personal tablets, laptops, and other devices. The purchase of additional iPads, apps, and adaptive equipment has created fun learning opportunities and allowed more people to be involved. Read More about this.
The Arc also offers arts programs through the Franklin Street Gallery in Watkins Glen. New equipment and supplies have expanded opportunities for participants to experiment with diverse art mediums, interact with new artist instructors, and share learning experiences in inclusive classes and workshops with members of the community.
NYSARC Trust Services Board approved a remainder fund grant of $10,000 per chapter to provide recreational opportunities for people they support. Remainder fund grants totaling $1,660,500 were awarded to support NYSARC guardianship programs statewide. A total of $2,207,880 in remainder grants were awarded in 2014 to support recreation and guardianship statewide.
The Arc of Schuyler was featured in the Winter 2014-15 issue of Apostrophe Magazine a nationally distributed publication that promotes inclusion of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The photos and stories in Apostrophe Magazine show people achieving independence, contributing to their communities, enjoying life. The article is below; you can also find it on pages 54-55 of the magazine.
New York Chapter of The Arc Helps Narrow Digital Divide
Computer technology and the Internet are critical tools to access information, employment, educational, social, and civic opportunities. Unfortunately, people with disabilities are too often left behind when it comes to access and education about advancing technology. The Arc of Schuyler in Watkins Glen and rural upstate New York recognized that for the people it supports to be wholly included in their communities, it needed to provide opportunities and appropriate supports and access for people to use technology.