#60Stories60Years

In 2016, to help celebrate our 60th Anniversary, we shared 60 stories over a period of 60 days, #60Stories60Years, on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @TheArcIN.

The complete gallery of photos and stories can be viewed here.

Thanks to all the families and individuals who allowed us to share their stories for this project.

A View into The Arc’s #60Stories60Years Project

 

#60 – Maggie and Andy Miller have two beautiful children, John and Katie, and a third child will join them soon. When Maggie was pregnant with John, prenatal testing gave them the news that he had Down syndrome. Maggie and Andy began learning about what to expect. Their OB/GYN connected them with a member of his staff who has a five-year-old with Down syndrome. She made herself readily available to them, which Maggie and Andy say was a tremendous help.
After John was born, Maggie and Andy reached out to The Arc of Indiana Executive Director, Kim Dodson, who Andy knew from his work at the State House. They learned about supports and services they could connect with, including First Steps. Another connection they made was with the Signing Time program, where sister Katie is learning sign language along with her brother. They also found GIGIs playhouse, which has been a great resource for both John and Katie. They have even found information and support through Facebook – a young man whose story Maggie follows inspires Maggie for John to have a life like his.
Maggie and Andy are now researching options for developmental preschool, including inclusive programs and programs geared specifically for children with special needs. They appreciate that there are options and that they can talk to other families for help in making that decision.
The options, services, and supports the Millers and other families have today is beyond the imagination of those families who came together through The Arc to build a future for their children 60 years ago. Who knows what the future will bring 60 years from now as The Arc and today’s families continue that legacy.
#59 – Carole Guess was 40 years old and excited about being pregnant for the first time in 2005. Even though she knew there may be risks, there was no consideration of prenatal testing – this was her child. When Evan was born with Down syndrome, Carole proceeded to raise him the way she had always planned, and he has been keeping her busy ever since. Like most moms, Carole is coach, driver and scheduler for a busy young man. He is in dance, martial arts (which she took up as well) and after school activities. She has been an active parent – finding the right school in IPS – one that believes in inclusion and knows how to do it right. Evan is an important part of his mother’s life, and yet she is working for the day when he finishes school and builds a life of his own. When Carole joined The Arc of Indiana Board, Evan became a regular attendee with her – a great reminder to every board member why they are there. He is right there at her side, until that day when he has the life of his own that she is working every day to achieve.
#58 – Kerry Fletcher clearly remembers the day in 2003 when she received the call telling her that the two youngest of her three children, Matthew and Lindsey, had been diagnosed with Fragile X syndrome. They had known that they had concerns about their development; now they had a name for it. The diagnosis started the whole family on a new and important path. Three months after Lindsey and Matthew were diagnosed, Kerry and her husband Sam attended a Fragile X conference in Washington DC, along with nearly 900 people learning about the diagnosis and what it meant for their children’s future. Kerry later got involved with The Arc of Greater Boone County, and then The Arc of Indiana. Over the years it has been a series of small steps and celebrations of successes for both Matt and Lindsey; while also making sure older brother, Jake has the support he needs. Jake recently earned his Eagle Scout badge. He had the support of his whole family, along with neighbor kids, to help him with his project to build a special walkway at The Arc of Greater Boone County. One of the first recommendations Kerry received when Matthew and Lindsey were diagnosed was to apply for the Medicaid Waiver, even though it would be a 10-year wait. Now, thanks to the advocacy efforts of Kerry and other families through The Arc, Indiana is close to eliminating that waiting list.
#57- John Smyth was born in May of 1994. His development seemed to be progressing normally, until his behavior began to change and he began to lose his speech at 18 months. He was diagnosed with autism at age 2 ½. John began getting services through Indiana’s First Steps Early Intervention Program, and his parents began a long journey in seeking answers to what could best help their son. In 2010, John’s father, Jim, attended a presentation on supported typing at Anderson University, and he got John connected with a practitioner in the field. John and his parents say that he had a new beginning on December 9, 2010 when he discovered his voice through supported typing. Once he started typing, John’s parents realized he did not belong in the functional skills classroom he had long attended. John wanted to obtain a Core 40 degree and several new options were explored. Brownsburg High School fully embraced his supported typing and he went on to graduate from Brownsburg with his degree. He has now completed his first semester at Marion University, maintaining an A average. Knowing that the topic of supported typing can be controversial, John and his parents ask others to suspend their disbelief that what they see and read could ever happen. When asked, what is the best advice you can give to families, teachers, and professionals who work with people with autism, John typed, “Probably the best advice is to check your normal assumptions at the door … Assume the presence of competent, thankful, emotionally capable love, burdened by physical challenges … When assumptions change, life shows up differently.”
#56 – In 1985, Jeff and Sue Bassett traveled to Riley Hospital to try to find answers for concerns about their three-year old son, Kurt. Doctors diagnosed Kurt with autism, stated all the things he never would be able to do, and said they could immediately place their son in an institution. They emphatically said, “No!” They returned home and began seeking out ways to best help Kurt. They found a behavior therapist that provided an important start to addressing some of the critical issues Kurt faced. At school, they advocated for an aide who worked particularly well with Kurt to follow him through his school career. Jeff and Sue attribute that continuity as a big factor to his success. Today, Kurt lives in an apartment with a roommate; and, in an interesting bit of irony, he works at Riley Hospital in the Hands in Autism program under Dr. Naomi Sweazy, helping others on their journey. Growing up with Kurt influenced his sister, Kylee, to seek a career path where she could make a difference in the lives of people with disabilities. Today she is Director of FSSA’s Division of Disability and Rehabilitative Services. And thanks to Kylee, Kurt has a special relationship with his nephew, Pax. They have become inseparable and quite the team. Whether it is going to Colts games, or Pax reading to Kurt, or just going for a walk, they have a very special bond. Jeff and Sue are long time active members of The Arc at the state and local level, and Sue is a strong special education advocate. Looking back, Sue says she cannot imagine where her family would be without The Arc, and she will continue to ‘play it forward’ by helping other families.
#55 – Tommy Gilson, 42, thanks his sister Dana Holman for making his life what it is today. When Dana moved to Indianapolis from their hometown in Gary, she moved Tommy to be with her to give him new opportunities. After she began working for a community residential provider, she helped Tommy begin to get residential and day program services – with a goal of helping him learn to live more independently. Today, Tommy lives in a supported living home and looks forward to one day having his own apartment. After several years of sheltered employment, Tommy is looking forward to starting a new job at McAllister’s through a connection with Noble / The Arc of Greater Indianapolis’ Discovery program. Dana is now working for the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office. Prosecutor Terry Curry has started a new project, “Different Not Less” to hire people with disabilities. Dana is a volunteer for the project. One of the first hires is a young woman with autism who is a paralegal. Dana’s advice is to do your research, learn what is out there, and when your brother or sister wants to try something, let them do it. You will all grow.
#54 – Barbara Blome was born in 1962 to her parents, Bob and Margaret. Doctors believed that a prenatal hemorrhage caused Barb to be born blind and with an intellectual disability. When Barb was two, Margaret sought help from the School for the Blind, but they would not accept Barb in their program. At age seven, Barb began attending classes at what is now Noble/The Arc of Greater Indianapolis, as she was not welcomed in public schools. Margaret recalls her first visit to the State House to advocate for mandatory special education in the late sixties and early seventies. When it became a reality, Barb went to IPS’ Cold Springs School. After she left public school, Barb returned to Noble. Bob and Margaret have seen many changes over the course of Barb’s life. She has learned to be part of her community, developed a love of horseback riding, and enjoys using a stationary bike and swimming. Barb recently moved into a Medicaid Waiver home operated by Tangram, but she often returns home to visit on the weekends. One Saturday Bob and Barb were heading out to eat, but when they got to the front door, Barb froze and Bob could not get her to move! It was only then he realized she was telling him that he had forgotten to put on her shoes! Bob and Margaret laugh at the memory, knowing that this moment of laughter and the life Barb has built in the community is one they feel would not be possible without Noble and The Arc.
#53 – Venus Abbit and her husband had no idea where their journey would lead when their daughter, Carolyn, was born in 1946. When Carolyn was nearly 3, Venus was told that Carolyn was “mentally retarded, a little slow, but she might ‘grow out of it’.” Although she began school in first grade, when she reached third grade she was told she could not come back because there was no teacher for her. Venus recalls that Carolyn cried, because she loved school. It was shortly thereafter in the early 50’s that a simple family photo changed many lives for the better. While Venus was at a dentist appointment, she began talking with her dentist’s wife, Mary Smith, who worked in the office. She noticed a family photo and it appeared that their son Bobby had a disability. She could have kept quiet, but instead she shared that her daughter also had a disability. The two women agreed they had to get together. Before long they had organized 9 families and started the first program in the area for children with disabilities at First Baptist Church in Bloomington. Many fundraisers and several years later, these founding families helped to establish Stone Belt Arc, The Arc in Monroe County.
Carolyn’s journey has taken her from school to work, to becoming an accomplished artist, with a studio in her own apartment, where she lives with her friend Angie. Venus continues to attend meetings at Stone Belt Arc, and always wants to know if she is needed.
#52 – Many know baseball great Carl Erskine for his career with the Dodgers, but he is also known for his dedication to Hoosiers with disabilities. Carl, along with his wife Betty, began their advocacy for people with disabilities in 1960 when their son Jim was born with Down syndrome. They became leaders in the early movement to develop programs and services to support people with intellectual and other developmental disabilities in communities throughout Indiana. Their work, along with other early pioneers, led to the establishment of Hopewell Center, the local chapter of The Arc in Madison County. Carl is also a longtime supporter of Special Olympics. In 2015, Carl graciously agreed to lend his name to the nation’s first training institute and teaching hotel, the Erskine Green Training Institute (EGTI), a program of The Arc of Indiana Foundation.
A new edition of Carl Erskine’s book, “The Parallel,” has just been released to benefit EGTI. As Jackie Robinson’s teammate and father of Jimmy Erskine, Carl was a firsthand witness to the way societal opinions have changed for the better. Jackie Robinson was a pioneer in proving that people of color belonged in professional sports. Much in the same way, Jimmy Erskine and his family helped to change the perception of and opportunities for people with intellectual disabilities. The Arc of Indiana presented Carl Erskine with its Lifetime Achievement Award on December 15, 2016 in recognition of his longtime dedication and support of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
“The Parallel” can be purchased at www.arcind.org
#51- A few years ago during Advent, my daughter with Down syndrome was excited to participate in our annual Christmas pageant. She was in preschool at the time, and preschoolers were to be little lambs singing “Away in a Manger.” Because my daughter’s speech was so limited, we practiced the song in sign language. The day of the pageant arrived, and the lambs donned their woolen ears and gathered at the front of the church. The director went forward and whispered to the children standing on either side of my daughter, then cued the music. Both children held my daughter’s hands tightly, preventing her from signing—presumably to keep her in her spot. I watched helplessly from the pew as she squirmed and fussed, desperately trying to free her hands to sign the words she had labored to learn. I was heartbroken, but I prayed for the director and tried to let go of that lost moment. A few years passed, and Advent season rolled around. Now a first grader, my daughter was to play a larger role in the pageant. She was cast as an angel with a small speaking part and a verse of Scripture to memorize. The director kept me in the loop throughout the process, and together we modified her lines to utilize only sounds she was of capable of producing clearly, so that the congregation could better understand her. After weeks of practice, she was able to say, “Do not be afraid. I have good news. Today is born a Savior, Christ the Lord.” On the day of the pageant, one could not find an angel in all the heavenly host more pleased than my sweet girl. She was leading worship and proclaiming the gospel, a moment I will never forget.
#50 – Scott says a lot without saying a word. And what he says is the love he has for his friends, his dog Sasha and his life with his mother Bonnie. A nurse herself, Bonnie knew immediately that Scott would face lifelong challenges, but she still wasn’t prepared for her doctor’s recommendation that she place Scott in an institution. Instead, she contacted Noble/The Arc of Greater Indianapolis. This began a journey that continues today. Having supports for Scott that she trusted and he enjoyed made all the difference. Scott was able to live at home, and Bonnie was able to pursue a career. Bonnie retired at age 84 and now at 91 says, “I want people to look at Scott and those like him as assets to the community. They offer us all so very much, and we must recognize that.” If Bonnie had placed Scott in an institution, their lives would have been drastically different, and his care would have cost the state nearly $5 million. More important, he would have missed out on living a full life, and all those who know him would have lost out on what they have learned from him.
#49 – The day that Midnight came into their home was an important day in the life of Ron, Larry and Rudy – a family of friends who share a home. Ron says, “Midnight is the special something in my life that is welcoming at the end of the day, comforting in the middle of the night, and the reason to get up each morning.” The housemates enjoy many activities together; but when asked what they most enjoy, it’s unanimously, “Midnight!”
#48 – A partnership between the City of Elkhart and the Employment Services division of ADEC (The Arc in Elkhart County) provides ADEC clients with the opportunity to shadow government employees in the city’s many departments. Through this initiative, Dylan Eberly was able to job shadow Matt Heineman, Elkhart’s GIS and records manager for the City of Elkhart. Also pictured is ADEC employment consultant, Michael Delfine. Elkhart Mayor Tim Neese, who championed the program, said, “This partnership will provide ADEC clients the opportunity to learn new skills and gain experience, but our city and city employees gain so much more. The way we see it, this is a win-win.”
#47 – The Arc has a proud history of public policy advocacy. The Arc US has worked successfully with every Administration since President John F. Kennedy and The Arc of Indiana’s efforts date back to Governor George Craig, who served from 1953-1957. Our bipartisan commitment to ensure that the rights of people with disabilities are respected and that they have the opportunity to be included in their communities continues, as we look forward to working with President Donald Trump, Governor Eric Holcomb, members of Congress and the Indiana General Assembly.
#46 – Jessica Meeker has been associated with The Arc of Vigo County for 13 years. She often shares stories with The Arc staff about her family and friends, including recounting movies they have seen and restaurants where they have enjoyed meals together. Jessica takes pride in her job at Walmart, where she has worked in the maintenance department for three years. Her positive disposition towards customers and co-workers is an inspiration to all those who encounter her. The success of her placement in this position has been and continues to be an inspiration to The Arc of Vigo County and its employees.
#45 – Stephanie lived at home with her parents for many years, with few outside interests or activities. She got connected with The Arc of Tippecanoe County when support staff suggested that she might enjoy participating in a trip to Indiana Beach organized by The Arc. While initially quiet and unsure of herself, Stephanie grew in confidence as she began participating in more activities. Today, Stephanie attends almost all Adult Recreation events, is active in Aktion Club, serves on The Arc’s Adult Direct Services Planning Committee and is an active, vocal Board member. Stephanie, her staff and family also planned and raised 100% of the funds to establish The Arc of Tippecanoe County’s first prom in May, 2016; and last year Stephanie designed her winning Halloween costume. After many years of isolation, she has become an important part of The Arc community.
#44 – In 2014, Bob celebrated his 10 year anniversary as a volunteer with the Children’s Museum. Two years later, he is still going strong. You can find Bob and Marybeth, his support staff from Tangram, at the Children’s Museum carousel every Thursday. The carousel is a popular place and Bob collects an average of 600 tokens during his two hour shift. Bob’s position at the Children’s Museum is more than just a chance to volunteer. For Bob, it is a way to stay active and make friends. Each week, Bob and Marybeth arrive a little early so Bob can talk to a few of his Children’s Museum friends. If they have time after their shift, they enjoy lunch in the cafeteria, one of Bob’s favorite things to do. With support from Tangram and his family, Bob plans to continue volunteering and looks forward to reaching more volunteer milestones in the position he loves. Tangram is an Organizational Member of The Arc.
#43 – Arnie Madden began working at The Times in Northwest Indiana in 2005 through job placement and job training provided by The Arc Northwest Indiana. Prior to this, he worked for Ralph’s Electric. His employer, Fred Ralph, taught Arnie that personal challenges are not obstacles to individual achievement. Arnie brought this philosophy to The Times and has demonstrated time and again why he is one of their best employees. In 2013, Arnie was honored by his peers with the Above the Fold Award, an award that celebrates extraordinary individual achievement over the past year. Today, Arnie works at The Times independently, with only periodic visits from staff.
#42 – Sara Roberts, who was born with spina bifida, moved into an apartment specifically tailored to meet her needs earlier this year. Four Rivers Resource Services developed the apartment complex in Daviess County to provide affordable housing to persons with disabilities, seniors, low-moderate income families and the general public. Sara, who holds degrees in anthropology and archaeology from Kent State University, also works at Four Rivers. She was connected with a part time job through Vocational Rehabilitation Services and quickly secured a full time position. Although Four Rivers’ Ride Solution program offers transportation services throughout the county, including a stop at Sara’s apartment, Sara has her own transportation thanks to her van that is equipped with a wheelchair lift and special steering wheel controls. Sara’s goal is to one day work in a museum. Four Rivers Resource Services is the umbrella for The Arcs of Daviess, Martin, Greene, and Sullivan Counties.
#41 – Sharon, Laura, and Eileen spent years living in institutions, including the 14 years they lived together in the same building. In April 2015, they were given the choice and opportunity to live together, in a cozy home, renovated especially for them. Amongst their history, documentation suggested: Laura disliked going out; Sharon was reclusive; and Eileen was nonverbal. With new opportunity, and the staff of Insights Consulting, who focused on their capabilities, Laura now says “C’mon!, Lets go,” Sharon loves doing chores in her home and Eileen shares how she is feeling – daily. With new opportunity, and staff who empowers them, Sharon, Laura and Eileen’s story offers hope and inspiration that a better life can be achieved for all.
#40 – Each year, The Arc of Indiana staff travels throughout the state to meet with and thank our local chapters. With over 24,000 members and 43 chapters in Indiana, and 140,000 members and over 700 state and local chapters nationwide, The Arc is the largest national community-based organization advocating for and serving people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. #WeareTheArc
#39 – Valentine’s Day at the State House is an annual event that brings Executive Directors, volunteers and self-advocates from local chapters of The Arc throughout Indiana to the State House to deliver valentines to members of the Indiana General Assembly and state officials. It is a day to thank policy makers for their support of programs and services for people with I/DD and raise awareness of The Arc’s mission in a unique and positive way.
#38 – A photo exhibit, “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness,” was displayed at the State House during the 1997 session of the Indiana General Assembly.
#37 – In 1998, The Arc of Indiana championed the “Let Us IN!” campaign to secure funding and reforms for home and community based services. Judy Abbott, a board member and member of The Arc Northwest Indiana, helped create the “Let US IN!” quilt that was displayed at a State House rally. The campaign lead to the passage of SB 317 and the establishment of the 317 Commission, which opened the door to significant funding and reforms for home and community based services. On May 13, 1999, Governor O’Bannon signed the Budget Bill which contained $39.3 million dollars to implement the first phase of the 317 Plan, which included funds to begin moving people out of Muscatatuck State Hospital. Later that year, Judy Abbott was named National Arc Volunteer of the Year for her work on the Waiting List campaign.
#36 – The Arc of Indiana’s logo, typically mirroring the logo of The Arc US, has gone through several transformations since our founding in 1956. The first logo is a reflection of The Arc’s mission at the time of its formation – to bring children with I/DD “out of the shadows” and into the light. Today, the logo is designed to embody The Arc’s mission and values. The flowing shape of the logo reflects The Arc’s embracing nature, while the burst of energy at the top fight is symbolic of how The Arc supports independence. The logo is designed to communicate The Arc’s commitment to promoting and protecting the rights of people with I/DD, as well as The Arc’s active support of full inclusion and participation in the community for all people with I/DD throughout their lifetimes.
#35 – The Arc of Indiana was founded on September 25, 1956 by families seeking a better world for their sons and daughters. Dorothy Burnside and Ilene Younger Qualkinbush, helped found the state association and were The Arc of Indiana’s first lobbyists at the State House. Ilene went on to become The Arc’s first paid staff member and later The Arc’s first woman president of the board.
Their many years of service and dedication did indeed help make a better world for people with I/DD, and their legacy continues to make a difference.
#34 – Nathaniel (Than) Boutelle often faced challenges and road blocks in his efforts to succeed. Over time, he found appreciation for his natural gifts as an artist and photographer. With encouragement from his parents and art instructors from Passages, The Arc in Whitley County, Than found a world of success and recognition. His work in photography and efforts to market it to the public were recognized with The Arc of Indiana 2012 Keystone Award for Entrepreneur of the Year. Than’s beautiful photograph of an orchid is on display at The Arc’s Courtyard Muncie at Horizon Convention Center Teaching Hotel and graces birthday cards sent to beneficiaries of The Arc Master Trust. Than is a vocal advocate of the abilities of all people with I/DD and is a member of the Self-Advocates of Indiana board of directors.
#33 – Direct Support Professionals Week honors the work that DSP’s do every day, year in and year out, to provide supports and services to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. Thank you, from The Arc of Indiana to DSP’s throughout the state for your hard work, dedication, and for making a difference in the lives of people with I/DD.
#32 – Following the death of her father in 2010, Jamie Beck found herself with nowhere to live. She was placed in a nursing home through a court order, and Achieva, The Arc in Wayne County, was named as her guardian. Achieva staff set to work to obtain Medicaid Waiver services for Jamie, allowing her to move to a home in the community and begin working in sheltered employment. Jamie’s goal, however, was to obtain community employment. She applied to over 80 local employers, but received no calls for an interview. Knowing how frustrated, yet motivated, she was to obtain employment, Achieva Executive Director, Dan Stewart suggested she come before the city council to share her dream. In a moving speech, Jamie said, “I have a developmental disability and I have a certificate of completion from Hagerstown High School. I want to work, but no one will give me a chance.” Jamie was asked by several council members where she had applied for work. She told them that she had submitted over 80 applications, but never received one call. The counsel president then stated “I want your resume.” Within two weeks, Jamie was employed 20 hours per week at Pizza King, a job she still holds. Jamie’s manager recently shared, “Jamie is so great. She puts most of my staff to shame with how hard she works. We really lucked out into having her here.” Jamie’s long term goal is to obtain full time employment with benefits.
#31 – Amy Korzekwa is not one to sugar-coat the truth. She knows she is an important part of the team at Gregory & Appel Insurance—and she enjoys reminding her colleagues of it now and then. But that’s ok with them. Amy is a hard worker and has a knack for brightening everyone’s day. For over 20 years, Amy has worked full time at the company’s downtown headquarters, where she delivers mail, makes copies and handles other administrative tasks. Gregory & Appel President Dan Appel, a member of the advisory board for Noble / The Arc of Greater Indianapolis, says, “Amy has been a valuable member of our staff for many years. Her attitude and attendance are models for us all.” Amy began working at Gregory & Appel when she was just 21 years old. Since that time, her co-workers and mentors at Gregory & Appel have been a major part of her life, helping her grow into the confident and independent person she is today.
#30 – The connection between Duel Weimer and Susie Huss shows how one person can make a difference in an individual’s life. During Duel’s senior year of high school in LaGrange, Indiana, Mrs. Huss, the school secretary/treasurer, agreed to teach Duel on-the-job office skills. Duel had spent the first three years of high school never looking directly at others and avoiding interactions. Mrs. Huss knew this would not serve Duel well in the work world. She would tell Duel, “Don’t be looking at your shoes. There’s nothing to see down there!” Soon, Duel was not only looking people in the eye, but also talking, laughing and joking with them. In his senior year, Duel was voted prom king by his peers. Duel is proud that his hard work in focusing on his academics allowed him to graduate with a diploma. And although he has moved on from the high school, he and his mentor remain friends.
#29 – Martha Mae’s father could not be more proud of her and thankful for supports and services she received through First Steps and The Arc of Evansville’s Child Life Program. He shares, “Martha went through the First Steps program and really benefited from her therapies. Until recently, she also attended The Arc of Evansville’s Child Life Center where she was fully integrated with kiddos with and without disabilities, all while receiving the highest standard of care and education available. Those combined efforts resulted in Martha making leaps and bounds in her development. In fact, the only developmental category where she isn’t aligned with her peers without disabilities is speech; and she is making huge progress there too! We are so grateful to the Child Life Center and The Arc of Evansville. It continues to hold a special place in our family’s hearts. Martha is shown here with one of her favorite teachers from the Child Life Center.
#28 Armed with a professional bio and business cards, Bonnie is ready to take the local art scene by storm. Noble, The Arc in Marion and Hamilton Counties, is proud to support her entrepreneurial spirit through their therapeutic art program. Bonnie loves to create her art “live” so she can draw on the immediate feedback of her audience. If you met Bonnie sitting in front of a canvas, she would ask you what kind of art you like, what your favorite color is, even what kind of animal you might like silhouetted in the background. And then, she would begin to paint with small, deliberate strokes. She has a vision, framed by what you’ve said, and she knows how each brushstroke will get her there. Bonnie has had her art displayed and sold at several venues, including the Courtyard Muncie at Horizon Convention Center, home of the Erskine Green Training Institute.
#27 In 2015, Passages, The Arc in Whitley County, founded a performing arts program in collaboration with the University of St. Francis. Program participants adopted “Spotlight Avenue” as their official name. Participants, including Jerrit Coffing, enjoy working with musical instruments, singing, acting, choreographed movement, storytelling, and visual art. The goal is to build upon the ideas and skills learned in each session, leading to a performance at the end of each season. “Spotlight Avenue” got its start with support from an AWS Foundation grant.
#26 An essential member of The Arc of Wabash County team is resident therapy cat, Sharkie. She enjoys prowling the rooms and hallways at their facility in Wabash, Indiana, and is on duty 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Sharkie greets visitors, attends team meetings whenever invited and can often be found warming up an office chair. However, her most important job is being a source of comfort and companionship for anyone in need of a warm, purring, furry friend. Her love and attention is enjoyed by all.
#25 Nikki Goodridge enjoyed the time she spent working at Uncharted International in Evansville’s Old National Place Wayne Henning Atrium, where she greeted banking center guests and customers. Nikki also enjoyed sharing information with customers on the work of Uncharted International – a non-profit organization that focuses its efforts in parts of the world where there are proportionally more people who are poor, orphaned, and outcast. The Arc of Evansville’s Community Job Link program, which assisted Nikki in obtaining her job, provides employment services that connect individuals with disabilities to competitive community employment, job coaching and employment follow along services.
#24 RaeShonda Davis loves to paint and “see her action on the paper” in her Canvas and Conversation art class. Staff from the Evansville based program brings the art class to various locations, including RaeShonda’s hometown, Vincennes, Indiana. After class, RaeShonda and her friends and fellow artists enjoy taking their works of art home to share with friends and staff at KCARC, The Arc in Knox County.
#23 Sisters Brittany, Cassandra and Samantha, and friend Lora, receive support and guidance through Achieva Resources Corporation’s guardianship program. Each young woman has goals and aspirations for what they want to achieve. Brittany gets her inspiration from music, fashion and cosmetics. Cassandra loves music, movies, and spending time with friends and family. Samantha enjoys writing, music and movies. Lora loves to write poetry and short stories. They all aspire to one day work, live on their own, get married and start a family. Their determination shows anything is possible. Achieva is the chapter of The Arc in Wayne, Fayette, Franklin and Union Counties.
#22 debonair (deb·o·nair) – The dictionary’s definition of debonair is (of a man) confident, stylish, and charming. Some synonyms for debonair include: sophisticated, gentlemanly, refined, polished, dignified. But, if you ask anyone at The Arc of Gibson County (GCARC), they would simply give “Clyde Broderhausen” as their definition. Clyde was recently honored as GCARC’s 2016 Life Skills Program Consumer of the Year, not only for his style and charm, but also for his attendance, punctuality, exemplary attitude toward his peers and supervisors, and dedication to learning to complete 3 new jobs. In his free time Clyde participates in Special Olympics, where he enjoys bowling. He also enjoys football games, church, shopping, eat out and visits to the library.
#21 In the spring of 2013 a modest grant provided the opportunity for several people served by The Arc of Wabash County to express their thoughts and feelings through the art of painting. The painters, now known as the South Miami Street Artists, have displayed their artwork at two gallery showings and are planning another show later this year. Artistica Art Gallery in downtown Wabash has served as host for the art exhibits, and the owner has generously provided professional matting, framing and other supplies at discounted prices. Two mentors and staff of The Arc of Wabash County, Kathy Bakehorn and Nanette DuBois – local artists in their own right, help each artist learn new painting techniques. Robert Cox, pictured with his most recent painting, has completed several projects and plans to continue his artistic endeavors.
#20 I grew up in the fifties and sixties in West Virginia; like most people in our country, I had little understanding of individuals with intellectual/developmental disabilities … In my early teens, I read a novel, “One of the Family,” written for young adults. It told the story of a young woman whose brother was born with Down syndrome … and the prejudice experienced by her family when they chose not to put him in an institution … Because of the influence of that novel, I stepped out of my comfort zone and volunteered at a local Arc day camp. My life changed! Several of the teens kept in contact throughout the next years, being active with The Arc and forming Youth Arcs in the county. I served as president, as well as most other offices, throughout high school … Youth Arc became my social life. I met my first boyfriend there and had my first kiss at a State Youth Arc convention! After high school I attended Marshall University where I received a special education degree. At the time a specialization in “Mental Retardation” was the only choice of degree in special education. From college, I was hired to teach special ed. in Australia.
My life’s path then took my around the world, exploring India, trekking in Nepal, and traveling in Africa and Europe. I eventually landed in Indiana where I was hired to teach at New Hope, in Indianapolis. It was there, I met my husband who was also employed by New Hope. Now we live in Brown County, Indiana where our three children have grown up. I am a Waiver Case Manager, employed by IPMG, and my husband has continued to work in a variety of human services positions.
I’m amazed as I look back to see the progress that has been made in public policy, understanding, and acceptance of the individuals The Arc serves. Yes, there is a long way to go, but The Arc continues to lead the way …
Read Miriam Stant’s full article, “How The Arc Shaped My Life,” at www.arcind.org/arc-shaped-life
#19 Richard loves to visit Disney World. His trips have been made possible through funds he has secured in The Arc Master Trust. Writing about Richard’s most recent trip, his guardian shared, “It is a thrill and a gift for Richard to travel to Disney World in Orlando, where he enjoys riding the Magical Express motor coach to and from the airport to Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort, dining at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall for a feast in honor of the world’s best-loved Storybook Princesses, and visiting the Magic Kingdom, EPCOT and Animal Kingdom. Richard does not feel his visit is complete without a kiss from Minnie Mouse. Richard appreciates the efforts that the staff at The Arc invests in serving him, along with many other fellow Hoosiers. Thank you for improving opportunities for people with disabilities.”
#18 On any given day when you ask Terry Scott and Kevin Jackson how they are doing, they always respond “Great!” Their positive attitudes inspire their co-workers and staff daily. Terry and Kevin participate in several programs offered by The Arc of Greater Boone County. Terry participates in Arc Artisans, earning income through his artwork; and Kevin is part of a mobile cleaning crew. For recreation, Terry and Kevin enjoy working on their drum and bongo skills in music class. Their favorite way to spend their extra time is volunteering in the Lebanon community. Last year, The Arc of Greater Boone County joined an “adopt a street” program, pledging to keep one mile of the street that runs in front of one their buildings clean. When Terry and Kevin learned through the Lebanon Rotary Club that there are 51 billion pieces of litter discarded on US roadways every year, they were inspired to became enthusiastic participants in the program and the rotary club’s goal to make Lebanon the cleanest city in Indiana. Terry and Kevin are proud that their efforts are making a difference and that through volunteering, they are able to give back to the Lebanon vommunity.
#17 The Arc of Indiana co-sponsored Indiana’s first Special Olympics games, with 1,000 athletes participating, in Indianapolis in 1969.
#16 Cody Whitehouse’s job as part of an enclave team at Toyota in Princeton, Indiana, allowed him to save money to purchase a brand new riding mower and realize his dream of starting his own mowing business. To date, he has grown his business from one yard to nearly 20. Thanks to employment and other supports he received from The Arc of Gibson County, Cody gained important job and interpersonal skills, along with self-confidence, that helped him follow and achieve his dream.
#15 Many local chapters of The Arc had youth groups, YOUTH IARC, starting in Evansville in 1965.
‪#14 Brittani Parker and Wesley Mull performed monologues of their personal stories to live theater audiences at Stone Belt Arc’s I AM YOU production in 2014. Family relationships inspired both of their performances. Wesley’s handmade Granny puppet helped him tell the story of his close relationship with his grandmother before she passed away. Brittani dedicated her performance about her family relationships to thank them for their love and support. This bi-annual production will have its fifth season in June 2016. Visit www.stonebelt.org for information.
#13 Establishing a camping program at Bradford Woods was an early project of The Arc of Indiana. Ruth Bogdanoff served as the first chairman of the program in 1956. 55 campers headed to Bradford Woods in 1957. The program continued under The Arc’s leadership until 1968, providing a camping experience for over 1,000 children and young adults.
#12 Dear Mom – With my recent job change in the field of disability, I have found myself pondering more intensely your journey as a mother to a son who happens to have a disability. Your love and devotion to him (and to me) has guided us to who we are today. Raising a child with a disability is not an easy feat. The emotions, the courage, the many “appointments,” the heartache, the joy, the losing of relationships, the gaining of relationships, the laughter, the change, the frustration, the hope, the isolation, the navigation of “systems,” the sacrifice, and the love. . .it is all encompassing and it consumes you. As a mom of a little guy, I often wonder what it would be like to be in your shoes 33 years ago. Knowing there was something different with your child, but not finding answers. Getting a diagnosis, but receiving an unacceptable option by professionals. Rather than the accepting the offered institution, you chose an unpaved path, a lot of hard work and freedom for your child. The value of your choice is beyond measure. Because of his success and independence today, it is easy to forget the pioneering decisions you made so long ago.
Thank you for believing in yourself.
Thank you for being a tireless advocate for my brother.
Thank you for persevering through difficult times.
Thank you for setting expectations – high expectations – for him.
Thank you for allowing him to fail.
Thank you for giving him dignity.
Thank you for having the foresight to prepare him for independence.
Thank you for not stifling his ambition and dreams.
Thank you for asking for help when you needed it, but never expecting others to replace you.
Thank you for working tirelessly to help him achieve his goals.
Thank you for helping him spread his wings and letting him go.
Today, his future continues to be bright because of you. While the road traveled was not easy, the difficulty of the past and ongoing struggles of the present will never outweigh the benefits and extraordinary pleasures of having a son/brother who happens to have a disability. I have learned some of life’s greatest lessons from the both of you. You have taught me lessons in tolerance and compassion for others. He has echoed to me the value of individuality. You have instilled in me a sense of empowerment. And he has given me purpose and passion for my own life. You (and the many moms like you) are the unrecognized miracle workers! – Love, Kylee
(Kylee Hope is a daughter, sister, and mother; and director of the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration Division of Disability and Rehabilitative Services.)
‪ #11 The Arc of Indiana was established in 1956 by parents of children with intellectual and developmental disabilities who joined together to build a better world for their children. Thanks to their dedication, The Arc has grown to be the largest national community-based organization advocating for and serving people with I/DD and their families. We salute our founders and thank them for the difference they have made in the lives of so many.
#10 On May 7, 2016 the Indianapolis 500 Festival celebrates the 40th running of the the OneAmerica Mini. Members of Awesome West Side Advocates have volunteered in various capacities for the 500 Festival for 12 years. This year, Leann Dusenbery, Kyle Thate, Jennifer Gray, and Michael Miller will once again get up before dawn to volunteer at OneAmerica Mini, including passing out snacks for the runners as they cool down and walk the last blocks after achieving their goal of crossing the finish line.
#9 Chad Riggins, who passed away in 2012 at the age of 37, made a big impact during his life. He was a bagger for 19 years at the Marsh Supermarket on 96th Street in Fishers, Indiana. He was a Special Olympics athlete, winning a silver medal in the 1988 International event for Speed Skating. He was a member of Best Buddies Indiana, and was the team manager for the Brebeuf High School Hockey team and the Hoosier Wings Travel Hockey team. He was well know at the Forum at Fishers ice skating rink, where he played hockey on the Canadien’s men’s adult team. In a newspaper interview following Chad’s death, his mother, Pam Riggins, said for parents of children with developmental disabilities, her best advice is to be as involved in their children’s lives and education as much as possible, and that children with disabilities need to be allowed independence just like every other child. “Parents need to let go in the respect that you can’t coddle them. I see that a lot. Parents need to let kids go to have their own experiences. Chad had that will and desire to fit into the real world. And the really cool thing is: He did it.” Learn more about Chad in “Against All Odds,” featured in “Current in Fishers.” http://currentinfishers.com/against-all-odds
#8 “Some people think that because Nicolas is deaf, and also has autism, that he is in his own world, but he is not. I depend on his body language to tell me if he is happy, or nervous, or any other emotion,” Pilar Lyford-Pike, Nicolas’ mother. Nicolas, who participates in Stone Belt Arc’s Lifelong Learning Program in Columbus, also expresses himself through his art, which has been featured in venues throughout south central Indiana. His passion for art has had a lasting impact on his life and the lives of others. He is an inspiration to everyone at Stone Belt Arc and the many people touched by his creations.
#7 Not a day goes by that I don’t enter my office at The Arc of Indiana and see his smiling face. He is my daily reminder of why I’m here, my constant voice to continue on. If you have ever doubted that one human being can alter the shape and future of another with nothing more than love and perseverance, then I present to you Lewy Olson. Lewy entered my life in a time of transition and I can confidently say that he shaped who I am today. He showed me a world that had previously been hidden, this magical place where love and kindness and fried pickles trumped any other worldly thing. Lewy didn’t just live – he soared into every day, and every obstacle, with everything he had. He defied the odds and had such determination, especially where great big bear hugs were concerned. When it’s really quiet, I can hear his raspy voice yelling “Silvey” and grabbing my earrings to call them cute. And when I really listen, I remember the incredible lessons he laid upon me: to give love at all costs and never be afraid to fight for what you want. One person can make all the difference, and Lewy did just that.
#6 Those who know Kiew Ler say that if her sunny outlook doesn’t inspire you, then the story of her life will. Kiew is from Burma and came to America just five years ago. Her mother died when she was a toddler, and she has lived with her aunt and uncle ever since—first in the jungles of Burma and then in a refugee camp. She understands very limited Burmese, no English and is non-verbal, so most of her communication began by gesturing and pointing. In addition to her bright smile, Kiew has a gift for music and the arts. Those who work with Kiew at Easter Seals Arc of Northeast Indiana agree that Kiew has made huge strides, all with that big smile on her face.
#5 – I never thought I would have enough confidence in myself to pursue a career in self advocacy, but thanks to relentless encouragement from Melody Cooper and Betty Williams I now am on the career path I would want for the rest of my life. Being able to watch two headstrong, passionate woman create a path for people like me is mind blowing and life changing. Words cannot express how much these two women have impacted my life in a positive way. Courtney Clark, Self-Advocates of Indiana and The Arc of Indiana Board of Directors
#4 When “Max” was first diagnosed, at age 2 1/2, no one seemed to know anything about autism. Perhaps that was not surprising, since, as we were told, it was a condition diagnosed in 1 of about 900 kids. I remember desperately wanting to connect with parents whose kids were older than Max. I am a person of low energy levels. While I enjoy being sociable, it’s something I need to recover from (introvert). So when, back in 2011, The Arc announced blog classes, I knew it was something I had to participate in. I had always wanted to be an artist and a writer – things you have to do in order to become – and this seemed the perfect combination of my lifelong ambitions and meeting a need in the community. While I do not write exclusively about disability issues, in my disability writing I strive to provide a gritty level of awareness in the form of excruciating details of incidents that are over in minutes and news from other sources. I link to blogs written by people with disabilities and the blog of a classmate, a professional in the field of disabilities whose young adults are also on the spectrum. In this timeframe, I’ve written 729 posts, of which 664 are published and have received over 34,000 page views. http://wondersandmarvels-wonderfull.blogspot.com
#3 Michael Ely would like to utilize his associate’s degree in web design to start his own freelance website design business. Through his involvement with Stone Belt Arc’s Lifelong Learning Programs, including the Moving Forward Classroom, Michael was able to use his web design skills to re-vamp “The 10th Street Talk,” the newsletter for the Moving Forward Classroom. Cyndi Wolff, Client Support Coordinator, notes, “Michael’s constantly building and creating in more ways than you can see, but what we do see is extraordinary.”
#2 “My dad is the reason I grew up to be the person I am today.When asked why he does all the things he does – including active involvement with Self-Advocates of Indiana, Best Buddies, Special Olympics, and The Arc of Indiana – Shawn Rector says that he just wants people to have the best life possible and help those who do not have a voice or who are afraid to be their own voice.
#1 In addition to being an accomplished artist, Whitney Long is taking steps to improve her health by setting fitness goals with her community exploration guide at Noble/The Arc of Greater Indianapolis. As a long time IU fan, Whitney is gearing up for ‪‎March Madness‬!