Inclusive. Dedicated. Driven.
CommUNITY
A Message from The Arc of Chester County Board President, Matthew Holliday
Hello Friend,

Back to school traditionally symbolizes new beginnings. Opening our preschool doors for the first time since March, brought our building back to life. It was a return to hope and home, as students and teachers entered their classrooms again. COVID-19 has presented its challenges, but our community rallied, and our staff’s commitment never waned. It’s been an honor to serve The Arc in my new role as Board President and to see our community come together and support one another. I’ve been inspired by the countless acts of bravery, kindness, and generosity that ensured not only our survival but our longevity. Our feature story speaks to that resiliency as we spotlight Arc Preschool Teacher Joyce Ryan, and her retirement after 31 years of employment with The Arc.
 
My own journey to The Arc started when I was 19 years old and a student at West Chester University. I began as a volunteer for The Arc’s phonathon, honing my fundraising skills in those early days. I have been engaged with The Arc ever since, in various roles from committee member, talent show judge, dance chaperone, and 5K race course attendant. Although unprecedented times call for unprecedented leadership, the pandemic has also fostered outside-the-box creativity and vision. Our Direct Support Professionals have been frontline heroes and found new solutions to continue supporting those they serve as job coaches, caregivers, and mentors. There is a special bond built between these heroes and our participants and we hope you’ll enjoy the photos we’ve included of our own dynamic duos.
 
Thank you for entrusting us with your loved ones this fall as we move together through the new normal and new beginnings. Let us embrace positive change together and endure the challenges ahead as one. There are many constants that remain, especially our commitment to one another and the mission. Let’s stay connected, stay positive, and stay in touch. Here’s to a successful school start and seeing each other again Around The Arc.
 
Sincerely, 
Matthew Holliday
Arc of Chester County Board President
SPOTLIGHT: Joyce Ryan, Beloved Arc Preschool Teacher,
Retires after 31-year Teaching Legacy

--Joyce Ryan, veteran preschool teacher at The Arc of Chester County, has been a beacon in the Arc community for over four decades. She has been a leader, teacher, friend, and advocate, beloved by preschool students and staff alike. Joyce’s most recent milestone was celebrating her 31st teaching anniversary at The Arc. 2020 also marked another notable milestone, retirement.

On her last day at The Arc, Joyce returned her classroom keys and made her way to the parking lot. A surprise parade of vehicles began circling the lot in her honor. Staff, fellow-teachers, and students, both past and present, honked, cheered, and held signs expressing gratitude and goodbyes. 23-year old Nina, one of Joyce’s former students, was part of the motorcade. Joyce and Nina have remained close. Joyce's role expanded to natural support for Nina and her family over the past 12 years.

Many preschool families like Nina’s remain connected to The Arc following graduation. The Arc of Chester County's mission is to provide advocacy, services, and resources from birth through a participant’s lifetime. “Parents still need help when they leave our preschool program,” said Joyce. “We take good care of our families and when their children transition away it can be a real eye opener. This is when the work of advocacy really kicks in.” Joyce speaks from personal experience and her own journey. She is the mother of three daughters and her eldest, Jessica, has multiple disabilities.

Joyce and her family moved to Pennsylvania when Jessica was one year old. Jessica experienced debilitating seizures at an early age, becoming medically fragile with multiple disabilities. Joyce was introduced to The Arc of Chester County through a trusted neurologist and home-based services. Prior to The Arc location on Lawrence Drive, services were offered at multiple centers, including First Step where Jessica received care. Joyce became involved with The Arc in multiple roles. Initially as a parent, then a Board Member and ultimately adding teacher to her repertoire. “I've enjoyed being a liaison between the board and staff and being able to give perspective from all my roles: parent, fundraiser, committee member, board member, and teacher.”

Joyce continued teaching at The Arc while caring for Jessica at home, with assistance from the Coatesville Child Development Center (The IU). As the years progressed, Jessica’s disabilities would require round-the-clock care and residential placement. Joyce cites Barbara Beck, former Arc honoree, as her lifeline to a parent support group of children with multiple disabilities. This network helped Joyce through the difficult years ahead. “I tried to continue caring for Jess myself, but it was a delicate balance between family, work, and self-care. I was exhausted, depleted, and couldn’t physically manage by myself anymore.” Jessica was welcomed into St. Edmunds Home for Children run by the archdiocese but aged out at 21. Finding full-time adult care proved even more daunting.

Government waivers limit the number of full-time care options; most services are geared toward in-home supports. Advocacy and a strong network helped Joyce and Jessica finally find an optimal solution. “It took a village and people in our corner to find Jessica's home in Nottingham. A bed had opened but our fight didn’t end there. The facility advocated on our behalf and helped with red tape and even a trial run to secure Jessica’s place." Today, Jessica is 40 years old and has been a happy, well cared-for resident for 17 years.

Joyce brought the same heart, resiliency, and dedication to her role as teacher at The Arc preschool. Empathy and understanding fueled her commitment as she knew the challenges Arc families faced, first-hand. Her determination and passion were a constant for decades. Joyce's contribution will be recognized by The Arc with the distinguished Founder's Award for Lifetime Achievement, at the Arc of Chester County Donor Awards Celebration, October 14th. The award represents over 4 decades of Joyce's achievement and dedicated service, following in the footsteps of The Arc founders.

Joyce taught us all the power of advocacy and community on quality of life. Joyce’s fan club runs 4 decades long, 50 parade cars deep, and hundreds of loving arms wide. She credits her daughter Jessica for the path that led her to The Arc. “It was Jessica who brought me here and to all the amazing people who’ve become family and friends.” The feeling is mutual and although Joyce will be missed, the lasting friendships she’s made, and her legacy will last a lifetime.
Pictured Above: Arc of Chester County Preschool teacher, Joyce Ryan, with daughter Jessica. Joyce recently retired from The Arc after 31 years of employment as a teacher at the preschool. Joyce leaves behind adoring fans, lasting friendships, and a legacy.

Arc Building Makeover- Before & After Photos
COVID compliant changes and renovations to keep our families safe and healthy!

Pictured Above: Arc of Chester County classroom before and after renovations including deep cleaning and new walls, flooring, furniture, and storage.
Pictured Above: Arc of Chester County gross-motor gym before and after renovations including a total clear out and deep cleaning of all toys, equipment, walls, doors, and carpet.
Pictured Above: Arc of Chester County lobby before and after renovations including new flooring, and removal of old welcome counter in preparation for new, permanent reception area. (Picture (R) shows temporary reception desk.)
Pictured Above: Arc of Chester County hallway with equipment and toys filling the halls pre renovation (L). New Arc closet that houses items and keeps cleaned equipment and toys behind closed doors (R).

Governor Wolf Signs Direct Support Professional Recognition Week Proclamation
Pictured above: John Breznicky (left), Arc Job Coach with Cailen Bailey (right) who obtained bronze level certification from Stihl Training. Cailen quickly mastered assembly of all the equipment shown in the photo background at Little's John Deere in Downingtown.
Governor Wolf continued his important tradition of recognizing the valuable and essential role Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) play in the lives of individuals with intellectual disabilities or autism. This year's proclamation (September 13-19) was particularly important as DSPs have made many sacrifices during the COVID-19 pandemic, to keep the individuals and families they support healthy, happy, and safe. The Arc of Chester County's own frontline heroes include John Breznicky pictured above, fellow colleagues below, plus many more.
Upper Left Photo: Arc Job Coach Patty Samms with Betsy Ney at Heart Stone Coffee in Phoenixville. Betsy waits on customers, rings up purchases, packages orders, and washes dishes. Patty is supporting Betsy with new training needs, as the café has shifted to outdoor service.

Upper Right Photo: Arc Job Coach David Peterson with Jancruz O. Marrero-Russi, a recent high school graduate with a culinary training path. Jan aspired to work in a bakery and with Coach Dave's help,started his dream job at Giant Food Store in August.

Center Photo: Shelby Hallman, Arc Job Coach, with Daniel Ray at Sikorsky
Aircraft Company where Danny is adored by his fellow colleagues and part of the team. Shelby has worked with Danny on maintenance and housekeeping skills.

Bottom Photo: Arc Job Coach Sarah Steinberg pictured with Laura Stalter at The Philly Pretzel Factory. Laura is receiving on-the-job training from Sarah (while safely practicing social distancing) and enjoying her first job following high school.
Arc Family Support Services staff have been frontline heroes, providing uninterrupted care throughout the entire pandemic. Caregivers never missed a beat and continued providing care and services even back in March. Both in-person and teleservices continue to ensure the health, safety, and well-being of all those served.
Pictured above: Bottom row: Lynn Salmon (L), Jerry Duncan working with Adam on office work shredding (R). Top row: Shawn Hawkins en route to an appointment for Karen (L), Catina Milbourne (R). Not pictured: Donna Dulin, Bob Sweeney, and Randall Boerlin.
Advocacy Society Legacy Planning

The Arc of Chester County Advocacy Society was established to recognize individuals and couples who've made provisions in their estate plans to provide a gift to The Arc of Chester County, for the benefit of their community. Have you already established The Arc of Chester County in a legacy plan? Please let us know and we will properly record your generous plan and gift. Call The Arc Development Director Karen DiVincenzo at
610 696-8090 ext. 202. 
For more information on legacy planning click here.
The mission of The Arc of Chester County is to advocate, educate and provide services to empower individuals with disabilities and their families to enhance the quality of their lives. The official registration and financial information of The Arc of Chester County may be obtained from the Pennsylvania Department of State by calling toll free within Pennsylvania 1-800-732-0999. Registration does not imply endorsement. The Arc of Chester County is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization—contributions to which are tax deductible to the fullest extent permitted by law.

The Arc of Chester County is affiliated with The Arc of Pennsylvania, The Arc of The United States, and The United Way.
Phone: 610-696-8090
900 Lawrence Drive
West Chester, PA 19380
Fax: 610-696-8300