News You Can Use
November, 2016

In This Issue...

The Arc of Aurora's mission finds us
working to ...

... help provide basic life necessities, such as the food and personal hygiene items available through our emergency food pantry.

Have you checked out our YouTube videos?


Support The Arc of Aurora...

... When You're Surfing Online!

 Colorado Gives  is a program of Community First Foundation. You can donate to The Arc of Aurora through anytime throughout the year, not only on Colorado Gives Day. Thank you for your donations, and helping to support individuals with intellectual/developmental disabilities.  is a Yahoo-powered search engine that offers funding to nonprofits like us with each and every online search. All you have to do is use the internet like you normally do, except The Arc of Aurora can earn a portion of's advertising profits.


... When You're Shopping Online!
Amazon Smile is a 501(c)(3) foundation that lets customers enjoy the same Amazon selection of products while shopping. The only difference is when customer shop on Amazon Smile, the Amazon Smile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the price of eligible purchases to The Arc of Aurora.

eBay for Charity   is another online-shopping option that allows you to support The Arc of Aurora with each purchase. eBay for Charity
teams up with a nonprofit called PayPal Giving Fund to ensure that 100% of every donation processed is given to the allocated organization.

From the Editor

In 1621, the Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Indians shared an autumn harvest feast that is acknowledged today as one of the first Thanksgiving celebrations in the colonies. For more than two centuries, days of thanksgiving were celebrated by individual colonies and states. It wasn't until 1863, in the midst of the Civil War, that President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day to be held each November.

As we all prepare in our own ways to give thanks, we'd like to acknowledge a few blessings we here at The Arc of Aurora recognize this holiday season and always:
  • our funders who allow us to open our doors Monday-Friday, especially the arc Thrift Stores;
  • our volunteers who offer support that strengthens our impact in the community, especially our Board of Directors;
  • our Members who, through their membership, show their support and gratitude for the advocacy support so vital to them, especially our Contributing Members; and
  • the families and individuals with whom we work who remind us of the importance of our mission.
From all of us here at The Arc of Aurora, please accept our wishes for a bounty-filled, happy Thanksgiving!

Jean Solis
Editor and Director of Marketing and Development   ---   720.213.1420
Members' Corner
Please take thirty seconds to answer our  one-question poll  this month. We would love to know your opinion. Thank you! 
We hope you will think of The Arc of Aurora on Colorado Gives Day. This 24-hour movement, taking place December 6, 2016, is a chance to increase the value of your donation, thanks to the $1 Million Incentive Fund. Created by Community First Foundation and FirstBank, the fund proportionally boosts every dollar donated. For example, if we receive 10 percent of the total donations made on Colorado Gives Day, we will receive 10 percent of the $1 Million Incentive Fund. Colorado Gives Day is powered by, a year-round website that encourages charitable giving by providing comprehensive, objective and up-to-date information about Colorado nonprofits. It is an easy way to support us online. Check us out on their website here .

Do You Love to Bowl and Are You 16+ Years Old?
Then you can join The Arc of Aurora's Sunday Get Together Bowling League! The group meets at the AMF Aurora Lanes, 16700 E. Mississippi Avenue, Aurora 80017, on Sunday afternoons. Practice begins at 12:45PM, games at 1PM. Cost is $9/week for 3 games and shoes. Use a wheelchair? No problem! Supervision is NOT provided. Got questions? Call Dottie at 303.337.5540.

Is Your Arc of Aurora Membership Current?
The Arc of Aurora's membership calendar is July 1 - June 30.  Thus, it's time to confirm that you have renewed your Contributing Membership for 2016-'17. In addition to access to advocacy support, Contributing Members are eligible to apply for annual scholarships offered by The Arc of Aurora (other criteria must also be met) and receive a 15% discount card for arc Thrift Store shopping throughout the year.  Click here to renew your Membership online or check in with your Arc of Aurora advocate for a printed form and payment by check or cash.
Hot Topic:   Be a Part of Every Student's (Including Your Own!) Success Plan
Contributed by Hanni Raley, Director of Systems Advocacy

Last year, President Barack Obama signed a bipartisan bill called the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), overhauling the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) education law, which expired in 2007. The bill intends to usher in a new approach for K-12 education in regards to accountability, teacher evaluations, and the way the most poorly performing schools are pushed to improve.  

Accountability provisions within NCLB have been maintained, such as tracking the progress of students in poverty and access to progress monitoring for children with disabilities, but states and local school districts now have the ability to address problems in a way that best meets the children and community who they are uniquely serving.  

Specifically, the new bill ensures alignment with Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and does the following for children with disabilities: 
  • Limits the use of alternate assessments to the 1% of students with the most significant cognitive disabilities
  • Requires states to hold all students to high achievement standards
  • Provides all the necessary instructional supports and services
Colorado Department of Education (CDE) is busy working on how ESSA will be implemented across the state and is seeking ALL stakeholders to provide input into their local district, their neighborhood school, and their child's experience. This means that they need YOU! 

Below are some ways you can be a part of ESSA in Colorado:
  • CDE will post all Hub and Spoke Committee work on the ESSA State Plan Development website, including the drafts and presentations from the Spokes to the Hub. 
  • Sign up for the newsletter to receive updates on the ESSA state plan development process and to receive notifications of upcoming feedback and involvement opportunities. Click this link to sign up for the list to receive updates. 
  • ESSA Hub committee meetings are open to the public, and CDE will provide opportunities to submit feedback directly to that committee. Live audio streaming and recording options are in the works. 
Click here for more information on the continuing work of developing Colorado's ESSA State Plan, including information on the Hub and Spoke Committee meeting dates, and state plan draft materials. 
Click here to view the ESSA Hub Committee webpage.

Spoke Committee Webpages:

There are many ways to be involved in the process, and this work requires community involvement to make it the best it can be, designed to truly meet the needs of all students. Take a moment to engage with this planning process to make sure students with disabilities (including yours!) are not forgotten in the planning process. 

Hanni Raley, The Arc of Aurora Director of Systems Advocacy, will be following Colorado's work to insure plans for Every Students' Success. Contact her at the Arc of Aurora office, or 720.213.1420, if you have questions about this process.
Policy Profile: Election Wrap-Up
Contributed by Hanni Raley, Director of Systems Advocacy

At long last, the 2016 election (and its coverage) has ended.  From Presidential nominations, local Legislator seats, School District Bond issues, and Ballot Initiatives, there was never a more important time to be sure your voice was heard by casting your vote.

We're just guessing, but we figure you already know that former U.S. Secretary of State and Democratic nominee for President of the United States, Hillary Clinton, lost to Republican presidential nominee and businessman Donald Trump.  Many local races and issues were also important to News You Can Use readers; click below to see what happened in YOUR county!

Click here to see Arapahoe County results.
Click here to see Adams County results.

school_bus.jpg Local School Bond Results
  • Aurora Public Schools (3C): The $300 million bond measure proposed to address key projects has passed. According to Superintendent Munn, APS expects to schedule some projects to begin this school year, including the start of construction on the new Mrachek Middle School. For a full list of projects, click here.
  • Cherry Creek School District (3A & 3B): The majority of voters in the Cherry Creek School District have voted their support for ballot issues 3A and 3B. "We are very grateful that the community has once again shown its confidence in the Cherry Creek School District's vision of excellence for all students," Board of Education President Randy Perlis said.
The Colorado General Assembly
*Thank you to Mendez Consulting for offering this election wrap-up!

Six short months ago, the Colorado General Assembly wrapped up the 2016 Legislative Session. You may recall the legislature having "split chambers" (meaning the Senate was controlled by a Republican majority), and the House was controlled by a Democratic majority. 

State Senators serve two four-year terms, and roughly half of the 35 seats in the Senate are up each election cycle; in 2016 candidates were running to fill 18 seats in Colorado's Senate. In Colorado's House, Representatives serve four two-year terms, thus all 65 seats are up in each election. 2017 will be particularly exciting, as roughly candidates that are new to their respective chambers will fill 1/3 of the 100 seats in our General Assembly.

In the Senate, of the 18 seats that are up this year, Democrats and Republicans both agreed that there were only three hotly contested seats. These battleground seats are in Adams, Arapahoe, and Jefferson Counties and determined whether the Republicans maintained their majority in the Senate. With just a one-seat majority, the Republicans had a lot on the line. However, Democrats already control two of these seats, which meant they had to win in all three seats to take control of the Senate. The Republicans hold the majority, with 18 seats to the Democrats' 17. 

In the House, it's a very different story, and the Democrats had much more on the line. While all 65 house districts had a race, there were only six competitive seats. The Democrats now control 37 seats, while Republicans control 28. 

The graphs below represent the make-up of our House and Senate for the 71st General Assembly, which will convene on January 11th, 2017.

With the election over, there is much work to do before January, when seats are swapped, and changes are made. Stay tuned to The Arc of Aurora's Policy Profile as we'll be following National and Local politics throughout 2017 with a keen eye on how to continue advancing and protecting the rights of people with developmental disabilities and their families.

If you ever have any questions about legislative policies, their impact on people with developmental disabilities, and what you might do to impact policy development, contact The Arc of Aurora Director of Systems Advocacy, Hanni Raley. 
Trending on Social Media

"Plenty of archived #trainings to be sure people with #disabilities are prepared to #vote! Thanks, Self-Advocates Becoming Empowered!!! #CripTheVote View the trainings here.

In #Aurora #Colorado, we're talking with #caregivers and our community about #MandatoryReporting of #abuse against people with #IDD. #ItsTimeToTalkAboutIt 

#Disability #rights are fundamental #human rights, but each of us also has a personal stake. If you're not disabled now, you possibly will be someday, and here's what you're going to need to know. Thanks, Pacific Standard for sharing! 

#PWD are over-represented in 17 of the top 20 fastest-declining occupations #InclusionWorks #Coleg #NDEAM #MeaningfulWork #ItsTimeToTalkAboutIt

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The Arc of Aurora is Getting Social* 
Introducing THINK+change
Submitted by Darla Stuart, Executive Director
We have been hard at work preparing for our 2017 business launch.  We are excited about our soon to be announced THINK+change Talks, Trainings and Tools. Watch for your invitation to participate in these events and change the world with us!

*The Arc of Aurora was selected as one of four non-profits to attend a two year program starting in January 2016 on how to start a Social Enterprise. The Social Enterprise Alliance says, "Social enterprises are businesses whose primary purpose is the common good.  They use the methods and disciplines of business and the power of the marketplace to advance their social, environmental and human justice agendas."

Spotlight On... All Western Mortgage...
... whose Senior Loan Officer and The Arc of Aurora Contributing Member Will H. designated The Arc of Aurora as the beneficiary of the company's give-back program.  Earlier this month, All Western Mortgage Branch Manager Jeff K. and Will presented The Arc of Aurora Executive Director Darla Stuart with a check in support of The Arc of Aurora's work in the community with and on behalf of people with developmental disabilities.

For its support of people with developmental disabilities via financial support of The Arc of Aurora, our hats are off to All Western Mortgage!
The Rest of the Story
Everything Else You Need To Know

Suicide Screening and Prevention in the Autism Community: New Developments, New Perspectives
This webinar from October 19, 2016, began with an understanding of the issue of an increased risk of suicidal thoughts in individuals with ASD from the  perspective of the autistic self-advocacy community. It explores the challenges to screening and prevention within the mental health service system as it is today. View the archived video here or the powerpoint here .


Aurora Parks and Recreation Central Rec Center Updates
The Aurora Parks and Recreation Advisory Board meeting will take place on December 7 at 5 PM in the Aurora Municipal Center's Aurora Room at 15151 E.  Alameda Parkway. A presentation of the proposed plan for the Aurora Central Recreation Center will occur and the Board is eager to hear the community's response. 

Other Information

Meet Bonnie Brown: she's a single mother who works at Wendy's to support her daughter. She also has a disability. Recently, Bonnie was interviewed by her 15-year old daughter, Myra, for a StoryCorps video, where she opened up about what it's like to be a single parent who is intellectually disabled.

Individuals with disabilities who are receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or other Social Security benefits will see a small increase next year, approximately 0.3%. The bump up is due to an automatic cost-of-living adjustment, known as COLA.

For the first time, the nation's largest autism advocacy organization has revamped its agenda and one notable objective is no more. Autism Speaks' new mission statement includes a noticeably different tone and no mention of finding a cure for the developmental disorder.

A new tool developed by neuropsychologists at San Diego State University could make it easier for doctors to recognize signs that might indicate an FASD diagnosis and recommend more precise screening.
The Arc of Aurora

The Arc of Aurora helps people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families get what they need from the systems that are designed and funded to support them.
We receive NO government monies for our advocacy work but rely on private donations, including yours, to be able to offer our advocacy support. We appreciate your financial donation at the level that works for you. -
EVERY donation helps!
Thank you!