Inclusive. Dedicated. Driven.
A Message from The Arc of Chester County
Executive Director, Jeanne Meikrantz
Hello Friend,

February is already here and full of possibility as we move forward in 2021. The start of a new year also provides perspective and reflection on the year we've left behind. 2020 reinforced the power of community, acts of kindness, and dedication. We are grateful to the individuals and families we serve, staff, board, donors, community partners, and volunteers, who not only ensured our survival but revealed the strength of our mission. Your hope and faith will continue to propel us forward as we strive to surpass your expectations in 2021.

Our spotlight story captures that spirit of compassion and commitment, featuring Arc Occupational Therapist Assistant, Kera Swift-Josey. Kera's drive and dedication earned statewide recognition from The Pennsylvania Occupational Therapy Association. She was honored for her contribution to the profession and brings that same excellence to The Arc family every day.

There were countless humbling moments and generous contributions that happened throughout 2020. Our staff, board, and community partners continued our tradition of giving during the holidays, and filled the wish lists of our participants and families most in need. The pandemic did not curtail our food drive efforts either, as we are proud to partner again with The West Chester Area Senior Center's winter food drive. Goodwill came in droves both in-house and through the generosity of our community partners and loyal donors. Scroll down to read more about our 2019-2020 Fiscal Year Donor Award winners who went above and beyond in their unparalleled commitment to those we serve, during a most unprecedented year.

Lastly, we look forward to continuing that positive momentum in 2021 and to the day we can link arms in-person again. Thank you for your unwavering support, love, and continued well wishes. All the best to you and your families and we can't wait to see you Around The Arc again.

Jeanne Meikrantz
Executive Director, The Arc of Chester County
SPOTLIGHT: Occupational Therapy Assistant’s Passion for Helping Children at The Arc Rewarded by Statewide Association
Pictured Left: The Arc of Chester County Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant, Kera Swift-Josey and participant Liliana Manning.

--An award-winning occupational therapy assistant and successful fundraiser for The Arc of Chester County, Kera Swift-Josey remains dedicated to the West Chester-based nonprofit and its preschool children despite the challenges of the pandemic and while working full-time as an instructor at Jefferson University.

The Arc of Chester County is dedicated to enhancing the dignity and welfare of all people with developmental, intellectual, autism, and other disabilities. They provide quality, community-based services beginning at birth and extend through entire lifetimes; their vision is a community of inclusion that embraces and values all people, equally. 

For 16 years, Swift-Josey has been an integral part of that mission.
After graduating from Lehigh Carbon Community College as an Occupational Therapy Assistant, Swift -Josey was working in early intervention in Easton when she read a job posting for The Arc of Chester County.

“I had never heard of The Arc or West Chester,” she said, “but after visiting and being hired, I immediately fell in love with the place and the area.”

That was 16 years ago, and in that time, she has changed many lives by providing occupational therapy for children from birth to three years old, and for preschoolers up to six years old.

For many, “occupational therapy” is a term for teaching or restoring the skills needed for older individuals to enter or remain in the workforce, rather than an integral step in some children’s development.

“A lot of times, people hear ‘occupation’ and think it involves a job,” said Swift-Josey, “but we tell people that everything we do is an occupation. Getting dressed in the morning, playing, sleeping, getting an education – all those things are occupations that we do every day versus just going to work. It’s one of those things that not everyone realizes.”

With the title of Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant, along with her role as Program Coordinator for Children’s Early Learning Services at The Arc, Swift-Josey helps children focus on being able to independently engage in their daily routines, like playing and feeding and dressing themselves, while also helping with their self-regulation, fine motor, and visual motor skills.

“I go into the classroom at The Arc and collaborate with the teacher or staff, then work with the children on their various occupational goals,” she said. “I see each child for about 30 minutes, and typically, I have a ‘grasping’ group in the afternoon that works on hand strengthening, fine motor, and scissor skills.”

Two years ago, Swift-Josey’s status changed to part-time at The Arc, after being named a full-time instructor in Jefferson University’s Occupational Therapy Assistant Program.

“Teaching at Jefferson was a great opportunity, but I’m still working at The Arc because I could never leave it,” she said. “Every day, there is a joy. The staff I work with are like my family, and the children I work with are my passion. Being able to see their smiles, to see them progress on their skills, to see them engage with others and their families, and being able to hear their first words or to see them walk for the first time – all those things have been so empowering to me and so rewarding for me in what I do.”

Her dedication to these children has reaped another reward, as Swift-Josey was recently honored by the Pennsylvania Occupational Therapy Association with its 2020 Occupational Therapy Award of Recognition. The award recognizes an occupational therapy assistant whose knowledge and expertise have made a significant contribution to the profession.

Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, Swift-Josey works virtually at The Arc twice a week.

“With COVID and online teleservices, I’m working with not only the child but the parents now, too,” she said. “I love that piece of it. But it’s definitely challenging to get the children to engage with the computer or have them sit still to engage in sessions, so I really have to be creative to come up with strategies for that.”

Despite her full-time responsibilities at Jefferson, and the work and preparation for her twice-weekly online sessions with children at The Arc, Swift-Josey still had time to win the peer-to-peer fundraiser team award for The Arc Virtual Walk/Run for raising more than $3,000.

“I created a team that we call ‘Against All Odds,’ which consists of teachers, therapists, and our family and friends,” she said. “Any time we can promote The Arc, it helps.”

Because of how successful she has been in furthering the goals of The Arc for the past 16 years, and how rewarding and meaningful that work has been in her own life, it’s not surprising that Swift-Josey will continue her connection with the organization and its clients as long as she can.

“In an inclusive environment, we work with some children who are medically fragile, and to me, they might have these limitations, but I see endless possibilities and not the limitations,” she said. “They are the happiest children ever, and their smiles just light up the world. It’s just so enlightening to see, and I absolutely love it.”
Article featured as headline news in VISTA.TODAY by writer, Chris Cooper

The Arc of Chester County Family
Fills Holiday Wish Lists & Hearts During Pandemic
--Every year The Arc of Chester County's staff, board, and community partners collect holiday gifts for participants and families we serve, who need our help and support during the holidays. This is a three-part holiday giving initiative. The first part of the program provides an opportunity for a partner of The Arc to "adopt" an adult participant who lives alone, to help fill their holiday wish list, forming a lasting relationship with the participant.

The second part of the holiday giving program is an agency-wide Holiday Giving Program to help participants and families who need support and love at the holidays. This part of our program has grown each year and the need was even more prevalent due to the pandemic.

Finally, the third part of the program is the Food Drive that we participate in annually. The Arc of Chester County collects non-perishable food donations to be delivered to The West Chester Area Senior Center, in partnership of their annual post-holiday “Weather the Weather Food Drive”.

These goodwill initiatives are an opportunity for The Arc Family to support participants, families, and seniors living in the community, who might not otherwise be able to enjoy the season or survive the winter without the help of The Arc and their local community. Over 100 Arc participants and families in need of love, comfort, and support received gift card donations from the generosity of Arc staff, board, and community partners as a part of the holiday giving programs. Stay tuned to hear the number of seniors (many that we support) who will be helped through the food drive partnership with the West Chester Senior Center!

The Arc of Chester County Honors
2019-2020 Donor Award Recipients
--The Arc of Chester County’s Annual Awards Ceremony honors key individuals, families, community partners, and businesses that are champions of The Arc of Chester County’s mission; and individuals with disabilities and their families. Loyal donors and award recipients are also recognized for going above and beyond in their support and advocacy of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. This year’s Loyal donor and award ceremony was held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to paying tribute to the loyal supporters of The Arc, the event was a reminder of the vital role donors play in supporting nonprofits and the community, especially in challenging times.

President's Award: United Way of Chester County
Special recognition of an individual, family, or organization who has dedicated themselves to supporting the mission of The Arc of Chester County and individuals with disabilities, and their families. This special honoree is also recognized for supporting and advancing The Arc mission in a unique and meaningful way.

Corporate Partner of the Year Award: Farason Corporation
Honors a local corporation that has significantly enhanced the Arc of Chester County mission, through dedicated support and loyal partnership.  

Employer of the Year Award: Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin Company
Recognizes a local business that employs a diverse and inclusive company culture, and employs staff with disabilities.

Agnes Grady Chesko Family of the Year Award: The Radio Family
Recognizes an outstanding family whose care for their children and assistance to other Arc families, sets an extraordinary example of love, loyalty, and dedicated advocacy for all. The honoree’s actions personify the mission of The Arc set forth by our early founders.

Ruth Wood Philanthropic Leadership Award: Julie Lord Tompkins-Broll Foundation
Presented to an individual, family or funding partner in honor of exemplary and ardent financial support of The Arc of Chester County. It honors and recognizes outstanding dedication, commitment, and philanthropic leadership with a proven record of generosity and support of Arc programs and services.

Founder's Award for Lifetime Achievement: Joyce Ryan
Recognizes an individual who has dedicated his/her life’s work to the mission of The Arc and/or their actions have significantly improved the lives and ensured the rights of people with disabilities.

Employee of the Year Award: Lorin Forcine
Recognizes an employee who has shown outstanding service in their everyday job responsibilities and goes above and beyond the role's expectations to fulfill the mission of The Arc.
The Arc of Chester County
Bubble Walk, Run & Fun Event
Sunday May 16, 2021

The Arc of Chester County's biggest fundraiser event of the year is back! Save the date and walk or run virtually with The Arc on Sunday, May 16th. Choose your distance- 1 mile or 5k - and walk or run ANYWHERE. Imagine 500 or more fellow runners and walkers out in their own neighborhoods walking and running separate but together, united in human spirit! Stay tuned for more details and open registration coming soon!
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