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Advocate Winter 2017

Governor’s budget includes landmark Turning 22 proposal By Leo V. Sarkissian

Governor Charlie Baker’s proposed budget – released on January 25 -- places the Commonwealth in a position to address a 15-year-old policy dilemma in the DDS Turning 22 program. Since the inception of Turning 22 (T22) in the 1980s, the Department of Developmental Services has struggled to keep up with the influx of young adults. Only once since the 1980s has the Commonwealth fully adjusted the

T22 formula for rising adult needs, and this action was initiated by House and Senate Ways and Means members. In reviewing the Governor’s proposal, HHS Secretary Marylou Sudders said it will address the needs of over 900 young adults in the 2018 graduating class and provide full-year funding for 2017 graduates into next fiscal year. This continued on page 14

The Arc of Massachusetts celebrates Passion As Pathway…

Executive Director Leo Sarkissian, Board President Tracy Atkinson, and honoree Ron Suskind

On Wednesday, November 16 The Arc of Massachusetts honored Pulitzer-prize winner and best-selling author Ron Suskind at our 2016 Gala, Passion As Pathway... Hundreds of The Arc’s supporters and friends joined us at the Boston Park Plaza Hotel to celebrate Ron and his family’s contributions to helping us better understand and connect with people with autism. The highlights of the evening were continued on page 6

Achieve with us.

Keeping up with DC Medicaid, the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Social Security, Medicare, and civil rights laws like the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) are lifelines for people with I/DD and their families, providing benefits, supports, and civil rights protections that help make community living possible. As the new Congress takes office, there are fears that significant changes in these programs will destabilize some or all of community services. This article provides a quick review of the continued on page 17

Inside this issue... Article

Page

Operation House Call..................5 Spotlight on: HMEA...................11 Education and Training..............13 Government Affairs ...................14 The Friendship Corner................15 News from the Chapters............18


Published by

Celebrating a life and family

217 South Street, Waltham, MA 02453 (781) 891-6270 • www.arcmass.org Leo V. Sarkissian Editor Judy Zacek Associate Editor Beth Rutledge Production Coordinator Carol Daly Layout and Design

The Arc of Massachusetts Board of Directors OFFICERS Tracy Atkinson President

Deborah Norton Vice President

Peter H. Tallas Treasurer Daniel Sullivan Secretary and Immediate Past President

DIRECTORS Subhadeep Basu Susan Lodemore Scott Borchardt John Mallin Martin Courage Geoffrey Misilo Katherine Craven Sean Morrissey Kristin M. Hilf John Nadworny Joe Andrade, Director Emeritus

STEERING COMMITTEE Janet Sweeney Rico, Chair Justin Bernard Renald Raphael Jim Buss Frank Sally Seth P. Lopes Mary Valachovic Barbara Pilarcik

The Arc of Massachusetts Staff Leo V. Sarkissian Executive Director Maura Sullivan Director of Government Affairs Kerry Mahoney Director of Education and Outreach Charlie Fiske Director of Public Policy Katrin Aback Director of Development Jim Ross Director, Widening the Circle Rich Fagan Finance Director Christopher Jenkins Financial Officer Amelia Cordischi Development & Digital Media Associate

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We celebrate the life and mourn the passing of Angela S. Becker, who died on November 12, after a long illness. Angela and her husband, Dan, supported The Arc for decades. The Arc houses the Daniel, Angela and Michael Becker Center for Advocacy in the family’s name. Angela was born in Italy but arrived with her parents to live on Baker Court in Dorchester while still a baby. She was the oldest of seven children, with family still residing in southeast Massachusetts and Las Vegas. They spoke Italian at home so Angela served Angela Becker as a kind of ambassador for her parents. She also was the one who spoke for the family in any official dealings, such as when a sibling was sent to the principal’s office. After graduating from college, Angela immersed herself in the business world. She rose to become the New England editor of TV Guide. As such, her name was on the masthead. For years Angela volunteered to transcribe books to be read to the blind. Angela survived both her husband, Dan, and son, Michael, so her death means the last member of the Becker family has passed away. Michael (Mike) was the focal point of Dan and Angela’s lives. After Mike’s passing, Dan would say, “Mike, who happened to be born with Down syndrome, lived a full life. And he never stopped smiling.” At The Arc of Massachusetts’s 50th anniversary gala in 2005, Dan was recognized as one of the top 10 leaders over the previous five decades. A marketing professional, he played a crucial role at The Arc, working on fact sheets, letters and campaign strategies for nearly two decades. This included coordinating an advocacy telephone tree in Greater Boston during pre-email days. An advocate and parent from Central Massachusetts commented after Dan’s death: “He inspired so many of us families to work and teach others to advocate and be proud to use our voices to support our sons and daughters.” As parents, Angela and Dan served as role models and they were ahead of the times. They made sure their son Mike was involved in the community: volunteering at a food shelter and the “Walk for Hunger” as well as attending social events that were in the mainstream. They believed that no one should be left behind. Editor’s Note: We wish to thank Suzanne Modigliani for assisting with background information.

TheArc ArcofofMassachusetts Massachusetts The


Help The Arc of Massachusetts meet the challenge! By Katrin Aback

Like the 200,000 individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities living in Massachusetts, The Arc of Massachusetts is no stranger to challenges. So when three long-time supporters of The Arc of Massachusetts issued a fundraising challenge recently, we were excited to accept it. If The Arc of Massachusetts raises at least $200,000 in new gifts and commitments for the Home for the Future Capital Campaign, we will receive an additional gift of $100,000! All commitments must be received by June 30, 2017 in order to count toward the challenge. The donors, who want to remain anonymous until the challenge has been met, are eager to help The Arc complete the $1.6 million campaign. “Donors essentially can increase their gift by 50%,” said one of the challengers. “Where else could you get such a tremendous return on your investment and have a huge impact on an organi-

And the windows are in!

zation that has continually fought for the rights of people who have I/DD since 1954.” As this issue of Advocate goes to print, we have raised $105,500 toward our $200,000 challenge goal.

Executive Director Leo Sarkissian said The Arc is very grateful for this opportunity and will work hard to make sure we meet our goal by the deadline. “These supporters recognize that the next several years are going to be very difficult for Judy Zacek and Leo Sarkissian check out the new building on a recent visit advancing Photos by Amelia Cordischi

Achieve with us.

Photos by Amelia Cordischi

disability policy and having the capacity to meet those challenges will be very important. Completing the campaign and being able to ramp up our work is of highest importance. I think that people who have been thinking about giving to the campaign will be encouraged to do so, and quickly!” Great progress continues to be made on the building itself, too. In the past few weeks, the windows have been put in, the wallboard put up, and the driveway and parking lot paved. “We’ve been fortunate that through early January we have not had a harsh winter. This has allowed the construction crew to work steadily outside the building and to complete site work,” said Sarkissian. “After spending the past year in temporary quarters, I – and all of the other staff, too – am really looking forward to being continued on page 4

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Help The Arc of Massachusetts meet the challenge! continued from p. 3

back in our own space, having the ability to host meetings, and welcoming friends, supporters, and other visitors.” We are pleased to be able to offer prominent recognition of campaign donors. Naming opportunities include a conference room, offices, outdoor patio, and win-

dows. All gifts of $1,000 or more will be acknowledged on a plaque to be located in the new building’s reception area. In addition, The Arc will recognize donors in print publications such as the campaign honor roll, 2016-2017 annual report, and an issue of Advocate to be published later this year.

You can help The Arc of Massachusetts meet the challenge by making a gift to the Home for the Future Campaign. Please visit arcmass.org/ campaign to learn more. You can also contact Katrin Aback, Director of Development at aback@arcmass. org or 781-891-6270 x6105 to discuss giving opportunities.

Lighting up the town orange! The memories of The Arc’s participation in this unique experience were captured by our takeover of Only in Boston’s Snapchat, coverage on WMEX, and Leo Sarkissian’s conversation on WSBK-TV with Paula Ebben and Liam Martin. Visit www.arcmass.org to watch the interview and to see additional photos.

SHARED LIVING

Sharing memories and experiences together!

The Minute Man Arc Chorus performs

On Friday, December 16, The Arc of Massachusetts lit up the Prudential Tower in our signature orange as part of The Shops at Prudential Center 31 Nights of Light celebration. The Prudential Center selects a nonprofit partner for each night in December and lights the Prudential Tower in the organization’s color. The annual event has been taking place since 2009 and helps to raise awareness of important causes. The Arc of Massachusetts was delighted to be chosen a lighting partner this year! Executive Director Leo Sarkissian was joined by members of the Minute Man Arc Chorus for the ceremonial “flipping of switch” to light up the tower. The chorus also made the event particularly festive, performing several classic holiday carols. Shoppers and people who work in the Prudential Tower stopped by to sing along and join in the cheer.

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For adults 22 and up who are eligible for DDS residential supports Quality care from one consistent and qualified care provider Enhances individual’s skills through powerful role models within the home Caregivers are given case management, training and support Matches are available for individuals of all abilities and challenges with caregivers who share common interests and lifestyles

Contact: Tara Jordan, Associate V.P. for Adult Services 405 Washington Street Hanover MA 02339 781-829-1240 www.CushingCenters.org tjordan@cushingcenters.org

The Arc of Massachusetts


Operation House Call

Operation House Call: Illuminating Bias At a recent OHC class at Boston University School of Medicine, students had an opportunity to understand how bias affects care for people with disabilities. They heard from families about health disparities and access to treatment. They learned from an individual with a developmental disability that regardless of his struggles, he has the resilience and the fortitude to make his life the best it can be and that he deserves medical care that is commensurate with that standard. Students spent time understanding the concept of diagnostic overshadowing -- where assumptions about an individual’s diagnosis leads to overlooking co-occurring conditions.  It is the tendency to assess individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities less accurately due to their diagnosis. Throughout the class, the students began to uncover their own bias. They recognized the shifts in themselves and how this is a lifelong process. These future doctors began to see past stereotypes, some of which will get in the way of proper assessment and treatment.

Through meeting families and individuals, they develop a new perspective. They gain in interest and respect for the individual and his or her family as well as the ability to look beyond behaviors or long-standing ideas about the capabilities of a person with disabilities. Students see the bigger picture, The Arc’s OHC Instructors with Leo Sarkissian which includes caregiving and sibling issues for ing difficult news, the importance the family, as well as the of siblings and caregivers, monitorcritical importance of community ing bias, communication and resupports and services. sponsiveness as well as person-first How does OHC accomplish all of this? The program uses foundational learning, experiences with families and individuals, as well as thoughtful self-reflection writings. The program also provides collective learning experiences in an on-line forum and access to rich resources for their entire academic year. Specifically, the foundation component of the OHC model focuses on learning objectives such as deliver-

thinking, assessment and language. Operation House Call brings awareness to these areas so that people with disabilities will have access to improved care. The individuals that the students meet may be vulnerable in many ways but also may be some of the strongest people they will encounter in their lives. These future doctors become the models, taking this experience beyond their schooling into their practice for years to come.

Save These Dates!

Achieve with us.

March 20-22

Disability Policy Seminar in Washington, DC

Monday, March 27

The Arc/MDDC Legislative Reception, State House

Monday, April 10

Autism Awareness and Acceptance Day, State House

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The Arc of Massachusetts celebrates Passion As Pathway… continued from p. 1

Jill and Eric Amaral with Board member John Mallin Michael Richards, Denise DeAmore, Jim Farmer, Craig Lange, and Tracy Atkinson

Ron and Cornelia Suskind sharing their personal story as parents struggling to help their son Owen, as well as Owen performing voices from The Lion King. “The Arc community, sponsors, our donors, and local leaders have been supportive, generous, and enthusiastic,” said Executive Director Leo Sarkissian. “The Gala raised more than $310,000 in support of The Arc’s programs and advocacy from individuals, corporate supporters, human service agencies, and our chapters.” The proceeds of the Gala support the work of The Arc of Massachusetts and our advocacy efforts on behalf of individuals with disabilities. President Tracy Atkinson and the Board of Directors provided tremendous leadership for the Gala,

Board member Scott Borchardt and his wife, Julie

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and as a result we had very strong support from the corporate community again this year. The Arc is very grateful to State Street Corpo-

Board member Sean Morrissey with his wife, Catherine

ration for their support as the Presenting Sponsor and to PwC, which was a Platinum Sponsor. Organizations in our field showed their appreciation for The Arc’s work; 32 agencies, including 14 of our chapters, were represented, many of which participated as sponsors. In addition, many families attended the event.

Ballroom for the cocktail reception and silent auction. Master of Ceremonies Chris McKinnon, Anchor of WBZ-TV News’ weekday morning and noon newscasts, welcomed guests and spoke about the importance of The Arc’s advocacy over the past 60 years and in the future. A lively auction with Tom Weitbrecht closed out the evening. Atkinson, an executive vice president and treasurer of State Street Corporation, told Gala attendees that while together much has been accomplished, “there is still so much more that needs to be done. With your support here tonight and throughout the year, you are helping bring our vision for the

The evening started with a screening of Ron Suskind’s documentary Life, Animated. AfterJohn and Tracy Atkinson with Christine and Jay Curran ward, Ron, Cornelia, and Owen answered questions. continued on page 7 Guests then moved to the Grand

The Arc of Massachusetts


The Arc of Massachusetts celebrates Passion As Pathway… continued from p. 6

Cornelia, Ron, and Owen Suskind

Christine and Ken Singer, Berkshire County Arc CEO

Ron Suskind, John Moynahan, and Board Vice President Deborah Norton

future – one in which all people will be respected and will be able to participate fully in society – closer to reality!” Thank you to everyone who joined us in honoring Ron Suskind and to our generous sponsors and supporters!

Alan and Kristin Pisano Dr. Carolyn Langer, Mitch Appelbaum, Board member Subhadeep Basu, and Ritu Chaterjee

continued on page 8

Providing services since 1954…

On stage (L-R) Susan Linehan, Cornelia Suskind, Patrick Linehan, Tracy Atkinson, Owen Suskind, Ron Suskind, Chris McKinnon, and Leo Sarkissian

Tammi Ling, Gokce Ozcan, James Morgan, and Patrick Hogan

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Adult Day Habilitation Services Family Support Program Family Autism Center ALEC First Responder Training Adult Social/Recreational Programs Harbor Counseling Center Adult Family Care Residential Programs Employment and Training Programs www.arcsouthnorfolk.org www.lifeworksma.org

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The Arc of Massachusetts celebrates Passion As Pathway… continued from p. 7

Susan Ready, Deb and Kevin Thomas

The Arc of Massachusetts would like to acknowledge the following top sponsors of the Passion As Pathway… Gala. We invite you to visit www.arcmass.org/gala to see the full list of Gala Sponsors. Thank you very much for your generosity and commitment to The Arc’s mission! Presenting Sponsor

Platinum Sponsor

Anne Thomae, Ann Grady, and Claire Govatsos

Gold Sponsors

Silver Sponsors Tracy and John Atkinson

Fred Mott, Aileen Honka, Board member Kristin Hilf, and Amy Weinstock

Specialized Housing, Inc. Working with families to create innovative

Advocates Subhadeep Basu Scott and Julie Borchardt

independent living opportunities since 1983 – home ownership and supported apartments.

Specialized Housing, Inc. 45 Bartlett Crescent Brookline, MA 02446-2220

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tel (617) 277-1805 fax (617) 277-0106 www.specializedhousing.org

The Arc of Massachusetts


Honor a Special Person or Occasion with a Gift A gift to The Arc of Massachusetts is a wonderful way to honor a friend’s birthday, holiday, the birth of a child, or a new marriage. It can also be a meaningful way to mark the passing of a friend or family member. The Arc will notify the person honored or their family of your heartfelt gift.

Please print I am enclosing a special gift in the amount of $_____________________________________________________________ In Memory of__________________________________________________________________________________________ In Honor of____________________________________________________________________________________________ To celebrate his/her/their________________________________________________________________________________

Send announcement of gift to: Name _______________________________________________________________________________________________ Address _________________________________________City, State, Zip ________________________________________

Indicate on acknowledgement that gift is being made by: Your Name(s) __________________________________________________________________________________________ Address _________________________________________City, State, Zip ________________________________________ Your email or phone (in case of questions)_________________________________________________________________

In Memoriam: Susan M. Spilka We celebrate the life and mourn the passing of Susan M. Spilka, who passed away on January 7th. In addition to her parents, Dorothy and Sydney Spilka, she is survived by her siblings, State Senator Karen Spilka, Gerri Spilka, and Richard Spilka and their spouses. Susie, who was born with Down Syndrome, lived a full and extraordinary life. A strong, independent, and loving woman, she was an inspiration to those who had the opportunity to know her. She was a great example of focusing on and developing one’s abilities. She was employed for many years at the Food Emporium in New Rochelle,NY. She loved to travel and was independent and spunky and also had many talents. She loved to play “hoops” and was also an excellent swimmer and piano player. Susie had an incredible sense of humor and sharp wit. She gave so much to all who knew her and will be remembered, and greatly missed, for her kindness and constant smile. The Arc acknowledges the many donations we have received in Susie’s memory.

Achieve with us.

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SupportBrokers

Welcome Dianne Huggon!

Dianne Huggon

Dianne joined The Arc of Massachusetts in 2015 as a Family Outreach Coordinator for the Massachusetts Alliance for 21st Century Disability Policy (MA21) grant project. Dianne’s strong conviction is that supports and services for individuals with disabilities must

open doors of opportunity for them to build a meaningful life in their own community and be surrounded by people they love and are loved by. Her personal mission is to bring hope to other families, using her real life experiences as a parent of a child with multiple disabilities. Dianne’s passion is to help families recognize their loved one’s natural gifts and talents to create a vision for their future, which can be a powerful tool in their advocacy. The vision she and her husband created twenty years ago for their oldest son, who has cerebral palsy, was a seed planted. Today her son has his own vision.

& nars ur ing ck o or spr s Semi e h f C ite d s Nee web pecial S fall

Dianne was the Statewide Coordinator for Massachusetts Families Organizing for Change (MFOFC) for thirteen years and continues to assist the MFOFC Southeast Family Leadership Network with their Family Leadership Series (FLS). A graduate of the 1995-96 FLS, she credits this amazing training for helping her to “imagine better” in her advocacy for person-centered supports and services that enabled her son’s vision to become reality. Dianne Huggon resides in Taunton, MA, with her husband and their three talented and beautiful young adult children.

We’re Here to Help Our commitment lasts a lifetime. Whether your loved one with special needs is an adult or a child, we can help with: • Special Needs Planning • Transition Planning & Adult Services • Guardianship & Alternatives • Advocacy

Frederick M. Misilo, Jr. 508.459.8059 | fmisilo@fletchertilton.com

Attorneys at law WORCESTER | FRAMINGHAM | CAPE COD Art by Dominic Killiany, an artist living with autism

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508.459.8000 | www.fletchertilton.com

The Arc of Massachusetts


HMEA Celebrates and Collaborates By Michael Moloney, President and CEO

This past year has been “The Year of Anniversaries” at HMEA: founded 55 years ago; serving children and operating the Autism Resource Center of Central Massachusetts for 20 years; 15th Annual IncredABLE Day held at Dell/EMC (raising several million dollars over that span); and the 10th year of the Darnell School for Educational and Behavioral Services. The agency now serves 4,000 individuals and families, and employs 740 staff. Services include early intervention, school aged ABA, transition, 24 hour residential, shared living, employment, day habilitation, and family supports. Hosted programs include Central Mass Families Organizing for Change and the Mass Lifespan Respite Coalition. Given HMEA’s history of supporting families, we were especially pleased last year to contribute $50,000 to The Arc of Massachusetts’ Capital Campaign. With a lean state budget picture and uncertain leadership outlook in Washington, we believe that a strong Arc is essential for smart and sustained advocacy. In addition, in the past year, TechACCESS of Rhode Island, a longstanding assistive technology provider, has merged with HMEA and is expanding into Massachusetts. Another signature accomplishment is the growth of Cloud4causes, HMEA’s technology arm that now provides IT support to 22 non-profits, including The Arc of Massachusetts. Starting up with

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(R-L) Kris Biagotti-Bridges, HMEA Board member, and daughter Kayla; State Representative Jeffrey Roy; Michael Moloney; and two other 5K participants

corporate donations, the business offers hosting, networking, and help desk services -- “the best equipment, for the best prices, brought to you by professionals who speak in language that you can understand.” Looking ahead in 2017, HMEA is proud to present the 3rd Annual Autism Summit on April 11th at Holy Cross, called:” Hire and Higher: Leveraging the Autism Advantage to Meet the Region’s Workforce Demands.” John Elder Robison, NY Times best-selling author of Look Me in the Eye and Switched On, will be the keynote speaker. The day will include national employment trends presented by Autism Speaks, as well

as local success stories. Focus will include HMEA’s emerging relationship with Specialisterne, the Danish non-profit that has worked with companies like SAP, Microsoft, HP, and others to hire autistic talent. SAP, for example, is well on its way to hiring a goal of 650 people on the spectrum for at least 20 different job roles in 7 countries. HMEA staff expects to replicate those efforts with corporations in our state, in concert with Specialisterne. Another partner in 2017 will be CLO, a Kansas-based provider that has been employing remote support for people with intellectual disabilities for the past 15 years. Twenty-four hour audio and continued on page 12

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HMEA Celebrates and Collaborates continued from p. 11

visual connection with people and staff living in group homes and individual support models happens via their technology called “Homelink.” Support is self-directed and its use is approved by CMS. Outcomes, as measured by the University of Kansas, include higher quality and reduced staffing costs. In the pilot phase of “Students for Higher,” 65 students from Assumption College have worked as paid part-time ABA therapists in the homes of more than 100 families. HMEA is currently collaborating with Worcester State University and Quinsigamond Community College to expand the project

-- imagined as an “AmeriCorps for Autism” -- and deliver respite services in Central Massachusetts. Finally, given that MassHealth Reform and the managed care movement will serve to disrupt the service system as we have known it for over 30 years, trusted partnerships that ensure scale and some degree of leverage are necessary. While the goals of integrated care, efficiency, and cost containment make intellectual sense, strong allies are required and relationships are developing to walk together down what promise to be very rocky and perhaps precarious roads on behalf of people with disabilities and their families.

Save the Date! It’s Time for Transition! “Transition from School to Adulthood” Saturday, November 4, 2017 College of the Holy Cross, Worcester A full day of information, resources and lessons on best practices for transition from school to adult life for families Keynote Speaker: Dr. Michael Wehmeyer Director of the Beach Center on Disability at the University of Kansas

Enriching the mind and body through education, fitness and the arts.

Your Health is our Mission Staffed by specialists expertly trained to support the I/DD community, the Sollar Wellness Center (SWC) is the perfect place to explore a new interest, meet new friends or just have some fun! With a swimming pool and Jacuzzi for therapy-based or aqua fitness classes, an exercise equipment room, walking track, fitness studio, art room with a pottery kiln, and a massage therapy room, the SWC is the ideal destination for individuals with a variety of interests and abilities. Follow us on Facebook to stay up-to-date on all our current offerings. Contact Ginger Comeau at gcomeau@newenglandvillage.org with any questions.

The Sollar Wellness Center at New England Village, 664 School Street, Pembroke, MA 02359

(781)293-5461 • www.newenglandvillage.org

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The Arc of Massachusetts


Education and Training

Upcoming Webinars Thursday, February 16 • 7:00-8:00 PM • $25 In 2017 ABLE (Achieving a Better Life Experience) accounts will be available in Massachusetts! In 2014 President Obama signed the Achieving a Better Life Experience, or ABLE Act, into law. The ABLE Act provides a vehicle for families to save for the future care of their child with special needs through an account made available by similar legislation for 529 college savings plans. People with disabilities and family members can open special savings accounts in which they can save money without jeopardizing their government benefits. Ohio, Florida, Nebraska and Tennessee have all launched ABLE accounts, based on the 2014 ABLE Act and Massachusetts will join them in 2017. Funds can be used to pay for education, health care, transportation, housing and other expenses. Learn how the ABLE account can help support your loved ones. Presenters: Frederick M. Misilo, Jr., Esq. (FletcherTilton PC) and John Nadworny, CFP (Special Needs Financial Planning, a practice of Shepherd Financial Partners)

Wednesday, February 22 • 7:00-8:00 PM • $25 Advanced Legislative Advocacy Training Advocate to Improve Changes for those with I/DD The Advanced Training will focus on: • Building and strengthening relationships with your elected officials • Critical strategic planning and the budget • Measuring your effectiveness and success • Identifying and understanding obstacles Presented by The Arc of Massachusetts: Maura Sullivan, Director of Government Affairs and Program Director of Operation House Call; and Charlie Fiske, Director of Public Policy

Thursday, March 2 • 7:00-8:00 PM • $25 Friends at School Young people spend much of their awake lives in school. This is the place that they begin to learn and practice social skills. This is the place that they establish relationships and friendships that sometimes last a lifetime. If you believe that young people with disabilities should form friendships with their peers without disabilities, then you MUST pay attention to opportunities that arise from school.

Please join Dr. Zachary Rossetti of Boston University and Jim Ross and Mary Ann Brennen from The Arc of Massachusetts’ Widening the Circle Project to explore why such friendships are important and how they can be supported. We’ll discuss strategies that can be used in elementary-, middle-, and high-school as well as in college. Whether you’re a teacher, a parent or an advocate, this information may be helpful to you.

Tuesday, April 11 • 7:00-8:00 PM • $25 Autonomy, Decision Making Supports, and Guardianship What options are available to help protect your sons and daughters in adulthood? Attorney Misilo will walk you through the types of protection; benefits and processes. You will learn about the court proceedings and requirements for guardianship, as well as, the new benefits of supported decision making.   Presented by Frederick M. Misilo, Jr., Esq. (Group Chairperson, Special Needs Practice, FletcherTilton PC)  

Thursday, May 4 • 7:00- 8:00 PM • $25 What’s Out There? Many services and supports are available to families that include a child or children with developmental disabilities and special health care needs. This presentation will review publicly funded services and supports that your family can utilize, regardless of income. We’ll review eligibility criteria, application processes, and points of contact for programs through the Department of Developmental Services, MassHealth, the Department of Public Health, and more. The information provided will be relevant to families with children of all ages, from immediately after diagnosis up through age 22. Presented by: O. Sophia Johansson serves as the Chair of the Board of Directors for Massachusetts Organizing for Change and works directly with families to develop their leadership skills in her role as Northeast Regional Coordinator. She is both a child and parent to an individual with disabilities and is passionate about empowering families to navigate the system while also “imagining better” for their loved ones.

Miss a webinar? Check out our On Demand Sessions Older webinars can also be viewed on The arc of Massachusetts YouTube channel

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Government Affairs Governor’s budget continued from p. 1 requires significant investments in four DDS line items. A supplemental budget for Turning 22 for this year will be filed. The number of T22 graduates has increased by 53% since 2010. As we head into the House and Senate, this initiative must remain a top priority of The Arc. The House and Senate need to include this proposal to ensure a positive outcome not only for this year but the acceptance of the new T22 formula. Legislators historically have supported funding, increasing it by $500,000 last year. Ways and Means Committees chaired by Rep. Brian Dempsey and Sen. Karen Spilka will craft their budgets in the coming months. Funding recap on Community Services, including areas still requiring funding. All increases are relative to 2017 projected spending: • Transportation -- also impacted by T22 initiative is up $2 Million. • Community Residential (10,000 served) is up $46.6 Million which also addresses changing needs and T22; while State Operated homes is up $2 Million (1,100 served) • Day/Employment -- also tied into T22 for 2017 graduates, is up $12.3 Million • Adult Omnibus -- up nearly $1,000,000 • Turning 22 for year 1 -- up $16.7 Million

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• F amily Support/Respite -- level •A  utism Children -- level •D  ESE–DDS -- level

on these costs will be available to consumers across health settings and health plans. The administration will also call for caps on price growth, given the continued rising health care costs.

MassHealth funding is difficult to track, given classifications around types of delivery systems We need you to contact your legis(Managed care, Fee for service, lators (representative and senator) SCO, etc.) but Secretary Sudon Beacon Hill. The budget is a ders announced $155 Million five- and sometimes six-step progrowth anticipated in community cess, so please stay connected and long-term supports and services active! You can see the budget (CLTSS). Some of this, of course, is chart on our website (thearcmass. related to the impact of overtime org – state budget page under the for PCAs. MassHealth will be servAdvocacy tab). We will also post ing 2 million people by June 2018, a Fact Sheet soon, with guidance nearly 30% of our state populaabout actions you can take. tion. Enrollment growth allows for the largest portion of the increased budget at $600 Million. As a result, to protect the sustainability of MassHealth (a The mission of the SUPPORTbrokers core program program is to assist individuals with disabilities and the elderly to for us), HHS achieve community has proposed membership based upon a “Health Care their personal vision Market Reform Plan” to address transparency and accessibility. What persons 217 South Street pay providers Waltham, MA 02453 for diagnostic Phone: 781.891.6270 EXT109 tests can vary E-mail: info@supportbrokers.org greatly -- more www.supportbrokers.org

MAKE YOUR PLAN BECOME A REALITY

The Arc of Massachusetts


The Friendship Corner

Widening the Circle’s efforts to support friends at school The opportunities for friendships between people with and without disabilities are everywhere! For young people, that increasingly includes schools. Most children and youth with disabilities are now taught in schools that they share with their peers without disabilities. And more and more students with disabilities who are 18 and older now have the opportunity to attend college. Dr. Zachary Rossetti, Assistant Professor at Boston University, is working with The Arc of Massachusetts to draft the “Friends at School Toolkit” (available from The Arc of Massachusetts early in 2017). This Toolkit will be a resource for both teachers and parents and will be arranged in chapters for elementary school, middle school, high school, and college. Strategies that encourage the development of friendships between students with and without disabilities will be shared. In his work, Dr. Rossetti touts the myriad benefits of friendships: “All students can and should have friends. For many students, friendships are what they look forward to most--and later remember-- about school. Friendships are valuable social relationships that result in personal benefit, and also provide a vehicle for developmental gains (Berndt, 2002). Having a friend leads to emotional well-being, a sense of belonging, and opportunities for social integration and communication (Bukowski et al., 1996; Thompson & Grace, 2001). Friendships facilitate the acquisition of interpersonal skills, and they create opportunities for healthy social, emotional, and cognitive development (Bukowski & Sippola, 2005).” Other research bolsters the importance of “inclusive” friendships: “Research indicates that peer acceptance during school years is an indicator for quality of life in continued on page 16

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The Friendship Corner Widening the Circle’s efforts to support friends at school continued from p. 15

adulthood. Therefore, while we recognize that improving the social skills of those with special needs is important, we also are aware that typically-developing students benefit from socialemotional lessons as well. Lessons that help in creating a culture of acceptance in a school will both reduce bullying behavior and increase acceptance of peers, regardless of differing ability.” (https://expertbeacon.com/ encouraging-friendships-betweenkids-disabilities-and-peers#. WB-JrPkrKM8) Widening the Circle strongly recommends that schools’ anti-bullying programs include activities that support the development of strong relationships and friendships between students who are vulnerable and students who have high social status in the schools. These vulnerable students include kids with disabilities. Dr. Rossetti has also been working with the Bourne Public Schools/ Joining Together in Kindness Project, the MA Department of Developmental Disabilities, and The Arc of Massachusetts/Widening the Circle to prepare a proposal to the Tower Foundation, titled “Friends Matter!” Boston University was recently informed that a 3-year grant would be funded, beginning January 1, 2017. The primary goal of this project is to: “…increase and improve social interaction opportunities between students with and without ID in

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Bourne PS. By experiencing consistent social interaction opportunities based on shared interests and common experiences in inclusive settings, students with and without ID will be more likely to develop reciprocal and mutual friendships that extend beyond the school walls. Key outcomes include increased quantity and improved quality of social interactions between students with and without ID and stronger classroom social networks.” Outcomes of this project may be very helpful in other school districts. To find out more about this exciting project please contact Dr. Rossetti at zsr@bu.edu. For a parent’s perspective on this project, you may contact Maureen King at Maureen.king@ state.ma.us. Widening the Circle has been impressed with the possibilities of friendships at the college level. “Funded by the Commonwealth since 2007, the Inclusive Concurrent Enrollment Initiative (ICEI) offers grants to college-school partnerships to support eligible public high school students with intellectual disabilities, ages 18-22, to increase their academic and career success by being included in a college or university community of learners.” Students with disabilities attend classes (and other activities) at the school with their fellow students without disabilities. It is offered in various 4-year and community colleges around the state.

For more information go to http://www.mass.gov/edu/ birth-grade-12/higher-education/ initiatives-and-special-programs/ inclusive-concurrent-enrollment/. For the first time the ICEI program is piloting a residence life model at Bridgewater State University. Instead of attending BSU as day students, two ICEI students moved into a dorm for the Fall 2016 semester! Widening the Circle provided training to all involved, including BSU Peer Mentors and Residence Assistants, to both help them better understand the importance of friendships between/among all students as well as devise strategies to better include students in all aspects of campus life. The experiences of these 2 ICEI students may pave the way for more students with intellectual and developmental disabilities to fully participate in the college experience alongside their peers without disabilities. You can find out more about this pilot at: http://www.mass.gov/edu/ birth-grade-12/higher-education/ initiatives-and-special-programs/ inclusive-concurrent-enrollment/ bridgewater-state-university-iceiresidence-life-pilot.html. You can also contact Tina Raeke, BSU’s ICEI Program Coordinator, for more information at Christina.raeke@ bridgew.edu. Additional information about college opportunities can be found at http://www.thinkcollege.net/. Think continued on page 17

The Arc of Massachusetts


The Friendship Corner Widening the Circle’s efforts to support friends at school continued from p. 16

College is a national organization dedicated to developing, expanding, and improving inclusive higher education options for people with intellectual disability. Think College is a project of the Institute for Community Inclusion at the University of Massachusetts Boston. In Massachusetts, students with disabilities up to age 22 typically have an Individual Education Plan (IEP). The IEP is not solely for academic purposes. Judy Bouffard and Nancy Lucier of The Northeast Arc advise that “The IEP document should

be utilized to facilitate all aspects of an individual’s needs, not just educational requirements. Social emotional activities that enhance friendships and community activities are imperative for developing leisure and vocational skills as well as social emotional growth!” Their article, “How to Use Your IEP to Promote Connections and Friendships”, appeared in the Spring 2016 issue of The Arc of Massachusetts’s newsletter, Advocate. (See page 12 at http://thearcofmass.org/ wp-content/uploads/2014/09/ Advocate04.16.pdf.)

Widening the Circle is planning on conducting a “Friends at School” webinar. Hosted by Kerry Mahoney, Program Director at The Arc of Massachusetts, this webinar is scheduled for the evening of Thursday, March 2, 2017. Check out the training/ webinar schedule at http://thearcofmass.org/programs/webinars/ or contact Kerry directly at mahoney@ arcmass.org. Connecting kids with and without disabilities together, throughout their school years, is a positive action for everyone. Good luck!

Keeping up with DC continued from p. 1 programs and the present situation. You can read the full impact by going to thearc.org website and choosing the “what we do/public policy” tab. Medicaid -- in addition to paying for health care, prescriptions and other types of health related care or goods, funds approximately 70% of all long-term disability support services. In other words, if a person with a disability is assisted in residential, day, employment, personal care, home health or any other related service, Medicaid is underwriting it if they are not paying privately. Nearly all the people with disabilities served by the Department of Developmental Services qualify for Medicaid due to income. Proposals from Congressman Ryan and Senate leadership recommend block granting or capping Medicaid

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reimbursement to states. If this becomes policy, then the federal underwriting will be limited for any growth for home- and community-based services. States will have to pick up most of the share of the services. Affordable Care Act – we review three positive elements of the ACA here. The ACA included additional funding to complete the transition to community care from institutions. The Act also provides for childless adults at 138% of poverty level to receive Medicaid and as a result, working adults with disabilities can obtain health insurance. Thirdly, nondiscrimination regulations for health care insurance policies mean that families don’t have to purchase additional coverage or separate insurance when a child with a disability is born. If the ACA is repealed, these positive changes won’t remain.

Social Security is a financial benefit for many people with disabilities. For others with disabilities, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is what allows them to help pay rent or buy many necessities. Many with intellectual and developmental disabilities are living at or below the poverty level. Cutbacks in these programs will translate into homelessness and lack of food security. Today -- even with the benefits which exist -- it’s hard to keep up with daily expenses without additional help. Cutting these two programs is included in the majority’s recommendations. Your participation in the months ahead will make a difference in the final outcomes for these programs. Stay tuned for action alerts, and please sign on to our action center if you’re not on already. Read more at TheArc.org’s public policy section.

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News from the chapters of The Arc

Bailey’s Team funds Education Advocacy for The Arc of Bristol County The Arc of Bristol County is proud to share information with other providers of Autism-related services. Our Autism Now Center is already having an impact on families from the greater Attleboro area. Bailey’s Team for Autism -- a regional funding source for organizations that support individuals living with autism and their families by focusing on education and training, services and programming, recreation, research, awareness and family support -- has awarded a

A bright new year Sunny classrooms Double the space Caring staff New home Now in Concord

grant to The Arc of Bristol County to establish Education Advocacy services in Greater Attleboro schools. The Arc’s Education Advocacy consists of two components: an advocate to assist families in the IEP process, and a series of parent workshops to teach families to advocate for their child’s needs on their own. The Education Advocacy program is part of The Arc’s Autism Now Center.

better understanding the processes and procedures, and to educate and empower families to advocate for the services and supports necessary to ensure their child’s educational success. Education Advocates provide critical assistance to ensure that these children access and retain essential services for adaptive and therapeutic needs. Studies show IEP compliance rate improvement of 75-90% due to advocacy.

Navigating the special education process is challenging. Most families do not know their child’s rights under IDEA (The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act), or have the knowledge and skills to negotiate with school authorities. The Arc’s Education Advocacy is designed to assist families in

The Arc has been providing Education Advocacy through our Fall River and New Bedford divisions since the 1970’s. Having the history of providing Education Advocacy in southern Bristol County means we have a tested model to easily adapt to schools in northern Bristol County. This service is not funded by any state or government contracts, so organizations that provide it must acquire grants, fundraise, or ask families for payment (which is not affordable for the majority of families we serve). Thanks to the generosity of Bailey’s Team, these services will be available for students from the Greater Attleboro region.

THE GUILD

FOR HUMAN SERVICES

A Day & Residential Special Needs School 521 Virginia Road, Concord, MA 01742 781.893.6000 www.GuildHumanServices.org admissions@GuildHumanServices.org

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The Arc of Massachusetts


News from the chapters of The Arc

Northeast Arc Opens Café Breaking Grounds – Changing lives, one cup at a time The City of Peabody has been searching for a vendor to operate a downtown coffee shop as part of their planning in revitalizing the welltraveled corridor. The Northeast Arc answered the call with a groundbreaking concept – a coffee shop opened in October that serves the needs of the City of Peabody while also providing a valuable paid training opportunity for people wanting to work in the food and hospitality industries. Serving the community has been an essential element to the opening of the café. Breaking Grounds offers a fully operational coffee bar, serving light breakfasts, lunches, and snacks throughout the day. The café features a rotating schedule of art by local artists and hosts a popular Friday Night Music Series. Breaking Grounds has partnered with Peabody Main Streets in co-hosting their annual Pop-Up Pub and the kick-off to the Holiday Stroll. The music series has partnered with the Peabody Institute Library’s music series and the Peabody Cultural Collaborative. Breaking Grounds employs 1 fulltime Manager, 3 part-time Baristas and 6 part-time Hosts. The Host positions are designed to offer people supported by the Northeast Arc an opportunity to train in a

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variety of areas in the coffee shop, including food preparation, cooking, waiting on tables, cleaning, and operating the espresso machine and the cash register. Hosts work 7 days a week on a variety of shifts, and are supported in travel training by Job Coaches. The goal of Breaking Grounds is to develop skills over a three- to four-month period, assist the hosts in finding employment in other restaurants/hospitality businesses, and hire new individuals into the Host positions.

Breaking Grounds Host Chris Stark ladles some hot cider for a customer at the café.

ing tables. Chris, another Host, has already secured a position in a local restaurant based upon his training at Breaking Grounds. Breaking Grounds is located at 67 Main Street, Peabody.

Community support has been outstanding. Breaking Grounds is used More information can be found at: by local businesses for meetings and www.ne-arc.org and www.facemany work-from home people take book.com/NortheastArcCafe full advantage of the relaxed Tailored Financial Services for atmosphere and Families with Special Needs free WiFi during the day. Most If you are responsible for a family member with a disability or other loved one, you face unique challenges involving complex notable has financial situations. We understand. been the supFor the last 15 years we have provided caring, experienced port for Hosts financial guidance to special needs families, helping them pursue long-term financial security for their loved ones through and the purpose informed estate and tax planning, investment and insurance behind the planning and special needs trust management strategies. café. Recently, Please contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation. It would be our privilege to serve you and your family and help you Gabby brought pursue the long-term financial independence you deserve. a sandwich to a customer, letspecial needs ting them know financial planning A Division of Shepherd Financial Partners this was the first sandwich Cynthia R. Haddad, CFP® & John W. Nadworny, CFP® she made. She 1004 Main Street received highWinchester, Massachusetts 01890 (781) 756-1804 fives from the info@specialneedsplanning.com www.specialneedsplanning.com customer and congratulations Securities and advisory services offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC from adjoin-

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News from the chapters of The Arc

LifeLinks launches inclusive Memory Café in Chelmsford to support families caring for loved ones with Alzheimer’s/dementia LifeLinks, Inc. (an affiliated chapter of The Arc of Massachusetts) was awarded an innovation mini-grant funded by the Massachusetts Lifespan Respite Coalition and the Federal Administration on Community Living to launch a Memory Café for families dealing with memory impairment in the Greater Lowell area. This fully inclusive program is open to all members of the community. LifeLinks also hopes to attract members of the LGBTQ community who can feel especially isolated when supporting loved ones with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. The first Memory Café session was held on Tuesday, January 31st at

PLAN

LifeLinks’ accessible corporate headquarters in Chelmsford. Caregiving Without Regret expert A. Michael Bloom, who serves as Director of Strategy and Innovation for LifeLinks, coordinates this new, community respite program. Over 5 million Americans (120,000+ from Massachusetts) are currently living with Alzheimer’s disease. The number of families supporting a loved one with dementia will continue to grow exponentially over the coming years. LifeLinks has personally witnessed the increasing prevalence of Alzheimer’s/dementia as families receiving support and members of the workforce are facing the challenges of the disease head on.

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Founded in 1954, LifeLinks, Inc. has a long history of providing exemplary support to families caring for loved ones with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Given its commitment to being a trusted and valued resource in the community, LifeLinks is energized to develop and provide inclusive and innovative Memory Café programming to benefit families affected by memory impairment. Memory Cafés are free, informal, social settings that bring together people living with Alzheimer’s/dementia, their family caregivers and professionals for connection, food and fun. A Memory Café is a safe space where you can openly talk with like-situated people, without the stigma of the dementia label, with the goal of creating new, positive memories. For more information, please contact Michael Bloom at mbloom@ lifelinksinc.net or 978-349-3019.

Space for Sale! It makes sense to concentrate your advertising where it does the most good – where your potential clients are! Your ad in Advocate reaches more than 8,000 people who have a strong interest in your services. For ad rates and deadlines, call us at 781-891-6270.

The Arc of Massachusetts


News from the chapters of The Arc

GWArc celebrates 60 years! As the band Flame sang “You Make Me Want to Shout!,” attendees of GWArc’s 60th Anniversary Community Dance Party got on their feet and began dancing the afternoon away. GWArc turned 60 in December 2016 and celebrated this milestone with a sparkling Diamond Anniversary Gala on December 8, followed by a Community Dance Party that was open to all on December 10. GWArc participants love music and dancing, and our Community Dance Party was a free, inclusive celebration and dance event for GWArc participants, families, staff, volunteers and community members. The Community Dance Party was held on a Saturday afternoon at the Hassenfeld Conference Center at Brandeis University. The space was generously donated by Brandeis University through their Community Service Department. Lucas Malo, Brandeis University Director of Community Service, said “The partnership between Brandeis and Greater Waltham Arc has spanned over two decades and is founded on true reciprocal investment and shared goals. Being able to host GWArc’s Community Dance Party is a prime example of our partnership at its best.” Flame, an inspirational group of musicians with disabilities, provided entertainment for the two-hour dance party. Flame band members are from the Lexington Center,

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an New York State Arc-affiliated agency for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Fulton County, NY. The energetic band members and their crew travelled 4 hours each way on their tour bus for their engagement at GWArc’s dance party. The band’s rousing music immediately had attendees dancing and singing along. Their song list included current popular songs, classics by The Beatles and Johnny Cash, and holiday songs. Several band members rotated as lead singers during their set. Brandeis University students who volunteer with GWArc’s on-campus Brandeis Buddies program helped at the event. Seven students spent their afternoon holding signs to direct attendees to the venue, passing out refreshments, and joining in the dancing. They were presented with a Certificate of Appreciation from GWArc at the event. The Community Dance Party followed GWArc’s 60th Anniversary Gala, a celebration which featured Chris McKinnon of WBZ-TV News as emcee and Ball in the House, acclaimed Boston-based a capella group, as entertainment. Peter Koutoujian, Sheriff of Middlesex County, and Mary Leo, GWArc staff member of 30 years, were honored at the event. Sheriff Koutoujian received the “Rags” LaCava Community Service Award for his volunteer efforts with GWArc as a

Flame performs at GWArc’s 60th Anniversary Community Dance Party.

teenager and young adult. Mary Leo received the John L. Battaglino Award of Excellence for 30 years of caring and service at GWArc. According to Maria Nestle, band manager, Flame’s mission is to bring its music and message to the world to help change how the public perceives people with disabilities and to increase awareness and acceptance of all people. The group of talented musicians has been performing for over a decade. In 2003, the Lexington Center held a talent show from which Flame was born. Since then, Flame has performed at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the House of Blues, both in Cleveland, Ohio, and had a feature story in  People magazine and a segment on ABC TV’s Good Morning America. They have brought their message of inspiration to people through performances all over the world, including most recently at GWArc’s Community Dance Party.

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News from the chapters of The Arc

A recipe for inclusion: The Arc of South Norfolk collaborates with local pastry chef and discussed opportunities for Ambreen to become more involved with The Arc of South Norfolk. Ambreen had experience teaching cooking skills to children at local elementary schools, but no experience working with either children or adults diagnosed with developmental disabilities or autism. Eager to get involved, Ambreen worked with The Arc of South Norfolk to develop a cooking class geared towards adults diagnosed with autism who were interested in learning to cook. Brian helped guide the group and additional staff offered support, as Ambreen taught participants to make delicious dishes and desserts. Through modeling and step-by-step, small-group instruction, Ambreen’s group cooked

Ambreen guides participants through following the steps of a recipe.

In line with our mission, The Arc of South Norfolk is always looking for ways to collaborate with local businesses. This past summer, Brian Clark, Director of The Arc of South Norfolk Family Autism Center, met with long-time volunteer, Bob Smith, and Ambreen Hasan, the pastry chef at Bibi Café Bakery in Westwood, MA to discuss a possible collaboration. The three met

and baked pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, individual pizzas, shrimp fried rice, chicken parmesan, various pasta dishes, tacos, and everyone’s favorite, whoopie pies from scratch! Ambreen has hosted two smallgroup cooking instruction programs at The Arc of South Norfolk, and plans on offering additional programs in the spring. She volunteers her time, and has taken on an apprentice at Bibi Café Bakery, offering an internship to one of the participants from the cooking groups she hosted as a volunteer. The Arc of South Norfolk is grateful for Ambreen and Bibi Café Bakery in Westwood! We highly recommend you stop in and try some of the delicious items they offer, as well as thank them for being the model of inclusion we all strive for as a part of The Arc movement! Bibi Café Bakery1 Church Street, Westwood, MA 02090 781-320-9900

Advocate for the Future

One of the easiest, but most significant ways to support The Arc of Massachusetts is to make a legacy or planned gift. Whatever your personal financial goals are, a planned gift can help you meet your indi-

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vidual needs and strengthen The Arc of Massachusetts at the same time. Through the Legacy Society, The Arc recognizes donors who make special gifts to support The Arc’s work for years to come.

Please contact Katrin Aback in the development office to discuss options that may be right for you and your current situation. She can be reached aback@arcmass.org or 781-891-6270 x6105.

The Arc of Massachusetts


News from the chapters of The Arc

Charles River Center hosts parent leaders from China This fall, the Charles River Center was honored to have a group of parent leaders from China visit to learn more about advocacy for those with developmental disabilities and organizational development to support them. These parent advocates, members of Inclusion China, visited in conjunction with The Harvard Law School Project on Disability. They were in the United States on their way to the Shaping the Future National Convention & International Forum in Orlando, Florida. The Harvard Law School Project on Disability (HPOD) “works to promote the human rights of people with disabilities worldwide. HPOD supports the development of disability civil society, informs innovative legislative and policy development, provides legal advice and human rights training to persons with disabilities, their representative organizations, non-governmental organizations, National Human Rights Institutions, and governments.” After a tour of Employment & Day Services and Day Habilitation, the group listened to a presentation from Charles River Center senior managers focused on advocacy and person-centered planning. They discussed developing a vision for a program, establishing family supports, and making connections in the community,

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A group from Inclusion China visits the Charles River Center in Needham

among many other topics. The visitors were appreciative of their time at Charles River. Said Dr. Fengming Cui, Director of the China Program Harvard Law School Project on Disability, “The parents could not stop thinking what they should take back for more cohesive and consistent advocacy and sustainable organizational development. Some of them said that they had an eyeopening experience that caused them to reflect and re-envision their work.”

professional leadership, staff’s working attitudes and the result of your good work, which is built on the vision of the individuals. In China, we still have a long journey to enable us to achieve the results you manage today, but we are very optimistic since your experience provided us a good reference and roadmap.” All who attended were inspired by the cross-cultural exchange of ideas, with hopes that the collaboration will continue in the future.

Jessica Dai, President of Inclusion China wrote, “We were deeply impressed by your organization’s

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Non-Profit Organization U.S. Postage PAID Permit #121 Pittsfield, MA

217 South Street Waltham, MA 02453 (781) 891-6270 www.arcmass.org

Achieve with us. Accessible kitchen and laundry facilities installed in BCArc’s Social Development Center Located in Dalton, Massachusetts, Berkshire County Arc’s Social Development Center is a day program providing individuals with developmental disabilities and brain injuries with activities and classes that will help them to increase independence in their lives. Participants learn skills such as making social decisions, regulating emotions, healthy living and safety. Among the activities in which individuals

The new accessible kitchen

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participate are cooking classes. Unfortunately, the kitchen in the Social Development Center lacked functionality due to it being centrally located in the building, resulting in activities being interrupted because of hallway traffic and noise. The Social Development Center was also in need of accessible laundry facilities, as employees were using a stackable top-loading washing machine, which was not conducive to instruction or use by the participants. The new kitchen and laundry area -- which was made possible thanks to the donors who contributed to the agency’s 2014 Annual Campaign -- allows ample room for accessible appliances, counters, tables and chairs, as well as for instruction, food preparation, serving and eating.

List of Advertisers Berkshire County Arc Cardinal Cushing Centers FletcherTilton PC New England Village PLAN of Massachusetts and Rhode Island Riverbrook Special Needs Financial Planning Specialized Housing SUPPORTbrokers The Arc of South Norfolk The Guild for Human Services

Our advertisers help support the mission of The Arc of Massachusetts. Thank you to all of the individuals, families, staff members and organizational partners who donated funds to make this project a reality, helping us to meet our goal of ensuring that every individual will be able to participate in these activities in a safe and accessible environment that fosters learning.

The Arc of Massachusetts

Advocate Winter 2017  
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