August 20, 2020 | Issue #55
Looking Back, Ahead, and Inward

In this week's vlog, Executive Director Leo Sarkissian reflects on the work The Arc has done this week, looks ahead to what's on schedule for the next week, and offers a reflection on how The Arc and its chapters are actively looking inward to address issues of race and equity. Watch here.
Your Support is More Important Than Ever
The COVID pandemic showed just how critical advocacy for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) and autism is. The crisis laid bare bias and threats to the health and well-being for our community.

The Arc of Massachusetts will continue to advocate for people with I/DD and provide relevant, timely information to families. If you are in a position to help, please consider making a gift today to support this work.
Thank you for the immense advocacy efforts from our community. Both DDS and MassHealth have negotiated and released enhanced billing rates for array of services associated with Day Programs. With the COVID-19 uncertainty and the lower volume of individuals attending in person, we must continue to advocate. Learn more and access our fact sheet here.
Widening the Circle/Pathways to Friendship, a partner initiative between The Arc of Massachusetts and the Department of Developmental Services, has been adjusting to the changing world we live in as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Program Lead Jim Ross discusses Pathways’ new approach to facilitating friendships for school age children and requests your input.
The Arc: Congress Adjourns for Recess, Failing to Address Needs of People with Disabilities
The negotiations around a fourth COVID relief package have reached a stalemate and people with disabilities will be worse off for it. Despite the House passing a comprehensive relief package on May 15, 2020, the Senate has not brought that bill to a vote.

“This political standoff is at the expense of millions of people with disabilities, their families, and service providers like our chapters scrambling to make sure that people with disabilities have the care they need. Three months of inaction are inexcusable, and now, they’ve left town without a resolution,” said Peter Berns, CEO, The Arc. Continue reading.
Monday, August 24 @ 12:00PM

On Monday, Leo will be joined by Jack Yates. Jack was one of the pioneers of person-centered planning 40 years ago. He taught a graduate course at the Harvard Divinity School entitled The Inclusive Community. He is an advisor/consultant to several groups including Widening the Circle and continues to guide a statewide direct support professional conference. Register here.
Tuesday, August 25 @ 11:00AM

DDS Deputy Assistant Commissioner Liz Sandblom will join Kerry to provide an overview of self-direction (both Public Private Partnerships [PPL] and Agency With Choice [AWC]). They will discuss examples of how individuals and families can direct services through these service models. Register here.
Sponsor Spotlight

The work of The Arc of Massachusetts is made possible by generous donations from people like you, friend. None of our advocacy, education, and outreach would be possible without your continued support. Please consider giving today.