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News from the chapters of The Arc

A Family Support success story taken full advantage of the support offered by the Center: assistance in accessing community supports, leadership training opportunities, case management, and social recreational opportunities for CeCe and her family.

CeCe and family

Cyira Gillard is a 16-year-old girl lives with her mother, Carmella Lassegue, a single parent, and her 19-year-old sister in Brockton. CeCe loves puzzles, coloring, watching TV, blowing bubbles, listening to music, riding her bike, and playing games on her tablet. She also has significant cognitive disabilities and medical problems, including epilepsy, cerebral palsy, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and Landau Kleffner Syndrome. Accessing the support her daughter needs to learn, play, and thrive has been a great challenge for her mother. Because of CeCe’s medical needs, her mother has not been able to work. Keeping a roof over their heads has at times been nearly impossible. However, the family’s resilience and determination has kept them moving ahead, and the Brockton Area Arc Family Support Center is proud to be their partner! During the past seven years, the family has

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CeCe participates in BAArc’s Outof-School-Time Programs: the ArcED After School Program, the Sunday Recreation Program and Vacation Camps. While CeCe’s medical and behavioral challenges have made it impossible for her to access other recreation programs, her experience in the BAArc programs has been successful. We provide 1:1 support so that she can participate meaningfully in a variety of activities such as Drums Alive, yoga, swimming, dance classes, and arts and crafts. Staff who know her well make sure that she has opportunities to engage in the activities with support, but also to move at her own pace. We also provide transportation for her, because her mother does not have a car. Without this kind of individualized support, CeCe would not be able to participate at all. The recreation programs provide much needed respite for Ms. Lassegue while CeCe has a fun place to call her own! The Family Support Center has supported the family in many other ways. Due to financial setbacks, the family was recently homeless. With the help of the Family Support Coordinator,

Ms. Lassegue’s challenge to find permanent affordable housing is being resolved. The Coordinator has been an effective advocate and a steady support during very stressful periods. CeCe’s big sister has also benefited from the support offered by the Brockton Area Arc Family Support Center. Five years ago, the Family Support Coordinator arranged for CeCe to attend a summer camp for five days; her sister Jamaicia was also able to go to the camp as a volunteer counselor. For both girls this was the first time that they had been away from home overnight. Because of this experience working with children with a range of disabilities, Jamaicia decided to pursue a career in human services. As a high school senior, she wrote and produced a short documentary about her sister and the supports she gets from the Brockton Area Arc. Now a student at Massasoit Community College, Jamaicia is majoring in Special Education. Ms. Lassegue, too, has new goals for herself. She would like to create a clothing line for children with disabilities. She also has participated in leadership training so that she can effectively advocate for herself, her daughter, and other people with disabilities. She credits the Brockton Area Arc with the support she has needed to move forward despite great challenges.

The Arc of Massachusetts

Advocate Winter 2018  
Advocate Winter 2018