April 26, 2018
A Gala Is Not Just A Gala
As spectacular as the Gala was, it's not just about celebrating our achievers and our effective civil rights mission. The Gala allows The Arc of Massachusetts to achieve as well.

Tracy Atkinson's leadership, our volunteers' commitment to philanthropy, and the recent investment of the Becker Family Trust have made a difference in what we can accomplish. The core of what we do is supported by affiliate fees, private donations from individuals, human service agencies, corporations, and the annual Gala. The Arc of Massachusetts is strong today because of them, but there is no guarantee that we will be in the future.

Look around the region to see what I mean. In four neighboring states, we have a total of two affiliates of The Arc and no state offices. I remember when three of those states had vibrant state affiliates that got major results in their legislatures. One of them, Rhode Island, led the nation in community innovation. The Arc is strong nationally with 600 affiliates, but states have lost key leadership because it is very difficult to raise funds for advocacy.

According to the National Council of Non-Profits, "Capacity building is an investment in the effectiveness and future sustainability of a nonprofit..." (emphasis mine). The work of volunteers and staff to ensure a successful Gala is an investment in our future and the future of people with I/DD.


Leo V. Sarkissian
Executive Director
Our wonderful short film spotlighting our six Achievers at last night's event is now available to view online on both Facebook and YouTube !

Click the thumbnails below to watch the short film!
Advocate Today: Operation House Call Needs Your Support!
Operation House Call (OHC) has been training over 500 medical students and health professionals per year through 4 powerful teaching components of the course. OHC provides foundational knowledge (through lecture) and experiential learning (through home visits). 

200 families across Massachusetts have rallied for this program's expansion because of personal experiences and the strong desire to affect change for the ones we love.  The program uses real life to help grow understanding and shift bias that can affect treatment and assessment.

Operation House Call ensures quality of care for patients with I/DD.  The prevalence of autism and I/DD continues to rise with increased numbers of children developing autism and more babies surviving with developmental disabilities. 

Please join with us today and advocate to ensure quality of care for all. We have provided a pre-written letter for you that you may customize and personalize as you like. Take part in this quick advocacy letter campaign and tell your legislators why a program like OHC is so important to you. 
Advocacy and Storytelling Training at Northeast Arc
On Thursday, April 19, Maura Sullivan and Julie Heffernan presented an Advocacyand Storytelling Training at the Northeast Arc to its Joint Management Team (JAMM), made up of NEArc's Executive Team, Senior Leadership Team, Leadership Team, plus the directors, supervisors and managers from all day, residential, family support, IT, maintenance, and finance and development programs.

About 75 JAMM members attended the training, first hearing from Maura about the legislative process, how the state budget works, and the line items and bills that The Arc is advocating for this session. Then, Julie spoke about using personal stories in advocacy efforts. Finally, residential directors Julieanne Peacetree and Jennifer Couturier-Duchemin volunteered to act out visits to their legislators. They were passionate and poised, and their role-played visits were great examples of how to use personal stories as tools for advocacy.  Thank you, COO Joanne Plourde, for organizing such a successful morning!  
MFOFC Family Leadership Series Day at the State House
On Friday, April 20, members of the Massachusetts Families Organizing for Change (MFOFC) Southeast Family Leadership Series gathered at the State House to put into practice what they have learned about advocating to improve the lives of individuals with disabilities. Led by Kathleen Beaudreau-Amaral and Emily Murgo Nisenbaum -- and mentored by Dale Keijser, Ana Colon, Dianne Huggon, and Kathi Hackett -- the group had a brief training. 

First, Charlie Fiske, Director of Public Policy for The Arc of Massachusetts, spoke to them about the legislative process and advocacy strategies. Then, Julie Heffernan of The Arc's Becker Center for Advocacy talked to them about using their personal stories as tools for change.

Finally, the group members spread throughout the State House, meeting with their respective legislators to share their stories and advocate for their families, one day before the House starts its FY 19 budget debate. It was a great day at the State House, thanks to the dedication and passion of the MFOFC Southeast advocates! 
WHAT'S TRENDING Whatstrending
On Thursday, April 12, Brian Heffernan presented "Wonderfully Made," the story of his faith journey, at "Of Equal Worth and Personhood: A Theology of Disability," sponsored by Boston College's Theology and Ministry Library.

Brian's talk began with his birth and baptism; touched on challenges in church that he and his family had during his elementary school years (non-inclusive Sunday schools, a church school classmate who teased him regularly); applauded the wonderful youth group that was a core part of his social life (including a mission trip to paint houses in Appalachia) in middle school, when he was not yet independent enough to participate in after-school activities; explained Brian's decision to join the church and his selection of the verse "I am wonderfully made" (Psalm 139:14) as the topic for the reflection he delivered to the congregation that day; and ended with Brian's active church life as an adult (member of the social action committee, deacon, reader, Eucharistic minister).
An Introduction to Key Aspects of Supported Decision Making
Michael Kendrick and Anna Krieger, Center for Public Representation
Monday, May 14, 2018 | 12:00 - 1:00 PM
FREE thanks to the Becker Center for Advocacy | Register today!

Individuals with disabilities, like all adults, should have the right to make their own decisions. They should be provided support and guidance rather than legal restrictions or guardianship. This webinar will provide an overview of Supported Decision Making - how it works and what the key elements are.
SPONSOR SPOTLIGHT sponsorspotlight
The Arc of Massachusetts  | (781) 891-6270 |