Friends of The Arc - Hope is on the Horizon!

Dear Marti,

As case numbers decline and vaccination rates improve, we’re making progress toward the in-person connections we’ve all missed so much. With reopening on the horizon, we look forward to putting into practice all we’ve learned about providing greater access, equity, and opportunity for all our constituents with disabilities, from participants and family members to staff and community partners.

Enjoy our latest update, and we look forward to seeing you again soon!



Kristen Pedersen, Executive Director


The Arc SF Moves Forward with Second Phase of Re-Opening Plan

We feel hopeful each day about returning to our campus and are excited to announce that we've moved forward with Phase 2 of our re-opening plan.

Starting earlier this month, Arc participants meet in small classes and outdoor groups while wearing masks and practicing social distancing. We anticipate reopening our campuses for in-person services at a limited capacity starting in the Fall. Click here to read more of The Arc SF's reopening plan.


The Year of the Essential Worker: Tara Steps Up


While unemployment rates increased throughout the pandemic and individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities found themselves significantly impacted, some Arc participants found themselves even more essential.

Tara Cutaran, a 12-year employee at Costco, not only found that her work became even more necessary during the COVID pandemic, but she was recognized for her efforts by being awarded Employee of the Month in March by Costco.

“It can be scary to work during COVID because you are worried about your safety,” said Cutaran. “You just need to remind people to continue practicing social distancing and wearing a mask.”

With COVID-19 restrictions loosening, The Arc SF Employment Department has seen an uptick in essential service needs and new job opportunities for many Arc participants.

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Friends Like Me: Everyday Superheroes!

On April 21st, we celebrated our Friends Like Me (FLM) community through our unique event, Everyday Superhero! The COVID pandemic increased loneliness and social isolation for people with disabilities, who often experience this more acutely. However, in the face of these challenges, FLM’s after-hours recreational and socialization program went virtual and kept our community connected!

"It's the Everyday Heroes that make this program possible," said Lance Scott, FLM Program manager, "Shout out to our staff who bring creativity and energy to our programming."

The event included participant, family, and volunteer reflections, emphasizing the importance of a community that kept participants engaged. Together, they continued to have fun, laugh, and thrive.

"I love Friends Like Me because there are so many kinds of different people," shared Eyan Gilder, "I feel safe and comfortable because of the diversity. Sometimes my mom wonders why I'm laughing so much in the afternoon. It's because of FLM."

The evening also included the premiere of "Everyday Heroes," a short film created by Arc, Friends Like Me, and SF Access superstars! Grab some popcorn and click here to watch the short movie now!

Paradigm Shift Leads The Arc SF in Anti-Racism Work

The Arc SF has been partnering with Paradigm Shift, a Seattle-based BIPOC racial justice collective and consultant, to create and hold space for staff to understand racial equity, and inequity, in the workplace.

Starting in October of last year, staff attended monthly workshops to examine, understand, and identify power systems within our work culture to implement anti-racist principles and practices. We have shifted to our next phase centered on the Culture of Advancement. A workgroup of 25 staff members will support The Arc SF's racial equity team to develop policy recommendations that impact The Arc SF's systems and processes.

"This work has been transformative for our team, and the work continues," says Kristen Pedersen, Executive Director of The Arc SF. "We look forward to bringing this work to our participants and our broader Arc community in the upcoming year. "

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Our program was hosted by our Executive Director, Kristen Pedersen, and Arc participant Heather O and you can watch the re-stream here!

2021 Annual The Arc SF Breakfast

It was a morning we'll never forget! Over $180,000 was raised through our virtual event to support our programs, especially appreciated in this challenging COVID year.

Our celebratory event featured great stories of resilience, tips on creating amazing breakfast muffins from Arc chefs, and a rocking Zumba class! Plus, we had a surprise celebrity guest, Josie Totah, and announced our 2021 Disability Champion Awardee, PwC.

Save the Date and Join!

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ArtReach Pacesetters Salon: The Beat Goes On! Wednesday, May 26th, 5:30 pm-6:30 pm

You are invited to a virtual event on Wednesday, May 26th, to celebrate the courage, creativity, and determination of The Arc SF ArtReach Community.

Meet our studio artists and buy stunning art pieces that you can purchase through our silent auction!