The Arc is a National organization with a local chapter in Montgomery County established in 1958. On this episode, host of Happy & Healthy Nira Berry has invited guests Daria Cervantes the CEO of The Arc Montgomery County and Aileen O’Hare a Self Advocate and a Board Member of Arc Maryland.
The Arc is the largest national community based organization advocating for and serving people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. There are a variety of programs, that serve 1100 people a year locally, some exclusively with intellectual and developmental disabilities and others with and without disabilities. They operate in 35 homes throughout Montgomery County and go support people like Aileen who own their home. Community living services is a day to day operations with some people with low support and some people with 24 hours a day support. The support is tailored to each individuals needs.
Each day, The Arc Montgomery County directly supports by providing child care, work skills training, employment opportunities, community living services, resources, advocacy and respite care. There are Employment & Meaningful Day Programs for Intellectual or Developmental Disabilities (IDD) with support in their jobs.
Aileen has worked for the Department of Agriculture for 31 years with the Arc being a key to her living independent. She also spear heads the Self Advocacy Group. Aileen makes a major impact with politicians in Annapolis and D.C. They listen and take notice when she tells them why direct care wages should not be cut. She sees it as advocating for everyone because anyone can become disabled any time in their life. Also, Aileen says, direct care staff will be in trouble if Covid-19 causes shortages, so its important to keep funds flowing.
Some other programs they have are The Arc Montgomery County Karasik Family, Infant & Child Care Center, KFICCC, the very first inclusive Maryland family-centered child care program. In every classroom, typically-developing children, children with developmental disabilities and children with special health care needs play and learn together. Another program is respite care, which provides temporary relief for a primary caregiver, enabling caregivers to take a needed break. Classes and camps are a great way to utilize this service. It gives kids an opportunity to do something new and independent from their immediate families.
If any local business is looking for any dedicated employees, The Arc Montgomery County may have the candidate your looking for! Visit TheArcMontgomeryCounty.org to find out more information .
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