December 28, 2017
A Toast to a "Kinder" 2018: Two Stories

"He helps her with homework and making her lunch. When she has seizures, he doesn't panic. He's very kind in the sense that if he knows the answer, he'll say 'Let's figure it out together.'" So says the fourth grade teacher of Marcus Devoy, an Arizona fourth grader. Marcus is  a role model for others, including his football teammates, as he helps her older sister, Jade, who has epilepsy and an intellectual disability.

Jade and Marcus' parents are not only helping their children achieve and grow as responsible adults, but they, too, are educating people around them. The school system appears to be responsive as well. Their story implies that Jade is accepted and supported in her school.

Contrast this story with one about a 21-year old with autism and behavioral difficulties in limbo at Manchester Hospital in Connecticut.  His family, no longer able to cope, left him at the facility. The reporter states, "The young man was first dropped off at the hospital on July 28 and has been in the hospital since then, except for a 10-day period in which his family took him home...[as] the young man had been aggressive toward his parents and brother." Since the article cited here was printed last week, the young man was transferred to a home at least for the time being.

This is our world in 2017: people struggling to cope without adequate personal or public resources, while others facing different circumstances are able to achieve. There are personal and family attributes which can weigh in heavily. But there is also the need for public assistance in a fast changing world where housing, health care, and staff assistance could pose steep difficulties for most families.

While we hope and wait for a Department of Developmental Services supplemental budget for additional public assistance, we hope for a kinder 2018 overall. In 2017, a large portion of the general public continued to be weary of government programs and the federal tax cut will place more strain on state resources.

Maybe this upcoming year, others can imitate Marcus: "Other kids should be kind because when you say something mean to a person, it gets them down." His advice applies equally to adults, not only in our acceptance of differences, but in responding to common human needs. 

Let's toast to a kind 2018! 

Leo V. Sarkissian
Executive Director  
TONIGHT: Leo On Bloomberg Radio!
Tonight, Leo will be on Bloomberg Radio at 5:45 PM for a short segment on all things relating to The Arc of Massachusetts. Leo will be discussing The Arc's mission and what we have ahead of us in 2018 with Bloomberg Baystate Business Hour hosts Tom Moroney (Boston Bureau Chief), Peter Barnes, and Pat Carroll, .

Don't have access to a radio? No problem! Bloomberg Radio can be accessed via iTunes, Android, iHeartRadio, and TuneIn.
Consider A Gift Before Charitable Deductions Change In 2018
The passage of the tax reform package will have a direct impact on personal taxes in 2018 and beyond. One outcome is that fewer individuals will able to deduct charitable donations after 2017. With the new standard deduction raised to $24,000 for families and $12,000 for individuals, many people who currently itemize their taxes and write-off charitable gifts will not be able to do so in the future.

If you are among the one-third of taxpayers in Massachusetts who itemizes charitable deductions, you can still take advantage of this tax incentive in 2017.

It's easy to make your gift before the end of 2017:
  • Give online via PayPal.
  • Contact Katrin Aback, Director of Development, at 781-891-6270 x105.
  • Mail your contribution to The Arc of Massachusetts, 217 South Street, Waltham, MA 02453. Please make sure your gift is postmarked before December 31.
Thank you for your consideration and for your continued support of The Arc of Massachusetts.
The Arc of Massachusetts 2017 Highlights, Part Two
As we approach the end of 2017, join us as we take a look back at some of the highlights of the past year.
In our next installment, Leo discusses education and outreach initiatives with Kerry Mahoney, including the success of our 2017 Transition Conference, webinars, and trainings.

In the last installment of our  2017 Highlights series,
Transition to Adult Services Webinar
What Educators and School Administrators Need to Know
Wednesday, January 10, 2018 | 2:30 - 4:00 PM
Presented by Pat Pakos and Kerry Mahoney, The Arc of Massachusetts
Registration fee: $40

The transition of students leaving their schools can be difficult for themselves and their families. Educators and School Administrators can be helpful in making this transition seamless.  Participants will learn:  What are the basics to know about this transition?  What are the available services?  How are they organized?  What can Educators and School Administrators do to help? Register today!
WHAT'S TRENDING Whatstrending
Supported Decision-Making Panel Discussion
Tuesday, January 23, 2018 | 8:00 - 10:00 AM
Best Western Royal Plaza Hotel & Trade Center
181 Boston Post Rd W, Marlborough, MA 01752

Take advantage of this great panel discussion being offered by the Massachusetts Guardianship Association (MGA). John Ford, Bob Fleischner, and The Arc of Massachusetts' Executive Director Leo Sarkissian will be  discussing topics relating to supported decision-making.
If you are a member of the MGA, attendance is free. If you are not a member, but wish to attend, please fill out this form and select "Annual Meeting $10" via the Type of Membership drop down before completing payment via PayPal.
One on One MassHealth Support Meetings
Get help with your MassHealth coverage from start to finish! Talk 1:1 with a MassHealth staff member about coverage, eligibility, enrollment, new health care options, changing your primary care provider, or any other questions you may have.  We are here to help you enroll. We can help you learn about MassHealth's new health plan options, answer your questions, and help you enroll. 

Find a meeting near you.

Tuesday, January 9
(Snow date January 11)
1 p.m. - 9 p.m. 
777 Elsbree St.
Fall River, MA 02720
Friday, January 19
(Snow date January 25)
1 p.m. - 9 p.m.
10 Park Plaza
Boston, MA 02116
Tuesday, January 23
(Snow date January 30)
12 p.m. - 7 p.m.
51 Lawrence St.
Lawrence, MA 01841
Saturday, February 3
(Snow date February 7)
10 a.m. - 7 p.m. 
50 Foster St.
Worcester, MA 01608
Monday, March 5
(Snow date March 19)
1 p.m. - 9 p.m.
10 Park Plaza
Boston, MA 02116
Tuesday, March 20
2 p.m. - 9 p.m
1599 Memorial Dr.
Chicopee, MA 01020

Tuesday, March 27
2 p.m. - 9 p.m. 
1 West St.
Pittsfield, MA 01201

Talk to a Certified Application Counselor or Navigator. 
To make an appointment, visit the webpage
and click the "Find an Enrollment Assister" button.
Free Job Board!
DDS families may use Rewarding Work's free Job Posting Board! Families can write a short description describing their hiring needs and post it free of charge on Speak with your DDS Service Coordinator or Family Support Center for the code to use.  The Job Board makes it easier and faster for families to connect with qualified workers. Since the automated Job Board went live less than a year ago, it has processed nearly 2,000 job descriptions and more than 12,000 worker responses. 

Need information about the Job Board? Call 1-866-212-9675 (toll-free).
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