July 6, 2017

It Takes Years...
We celebrated America's freedom and independence this week. But how many of us appreciate those freedoms and are active in civic affairs, giving input on legislation, budgets, or other government decisions? Our democracy is based on civic involvement and yet nationally only 55% of eligible voters voted in the 2016 presidential election and 49% of Massachusetts voters participated in the 2014 gubernatorial election. We can guess at involvement in other civic matters if voter turnout runs about half of those eligible. Civic participation carries over to our work too; not just making a financial contribution to support The Arc's advocacy, but also participating as a citizen in advancing opportunities. 
Achieving gains in disability policy takes years, even decades. For example, Congress passed the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), but the Supreme Court had to fully enforce it in Georgia, setting a nationwide precedent. It then took nearly a decade after the court decision for the US Attorney General's office to reach a settlement with the state of Georgia!
Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops
There are countless other examples I could cite. But freedom and liberty for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities requires public recognition and funding. Each step is hard-fought and requires education.
Today, Congress is pursuing a structural change in Medicaid funding. It would change how states are reimbursed and, in turn, the availability of opportunities for people with disabilities. As Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) said, "Most of us take for granted the freedom to live where we want to live, shop where we want to shop, and even eat and sleep when we want to. Freedom to choose for yourself is a freedom that is essential to the American experience. That freedom has not always been a reality for those with disabilities." 
I enjoyed the Independence Day celebrations and hope you did too. Let's not forget our civic obligation to keep freedom strong for all!  
Leo V. Sarkissian
Executive Director    
There's Still Time to Give: the Home for the Future Campaign
Challenge has been extended until July 15th!
Many supporters of The Arc of Massachusetts have stepped up to help us meet the $200,000 fundraising challenge for the Home for the Future Capital Campaign, which is funding the construction of the organization's new headquarters.

Raising $200,000 in a couple of short months was a BIG challenge, and on June 30, we were just $30,000 shy of reaching the goal and receiving an additional gift of $100,000. The donors who issued the challenge want to be sure that we make it and have extended the deadline by two additional weeks. So, if you have been considering a gift, you still have time to make this $100,000 gift a reality.  All new gifts and pledges will count. But hurry: July 15 is just a few days away. 
Please visit www.arcmass.org/campaign today to show your support and push us over the top! 
GOVERNMENT AFFAIRSgovernmentaffairs
Opportunities for Increased Independence: 
Senate Bill 698
This is Conor Farrell who will be attending Salem State this fall
As we celebrate Independence Day, The Arc continues to advocate for young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities including autism for opportunities to take college courses.  The Inclusive Concurrent Enrollment Initiative (ICEI) is a program that allows for growth, exposure to curriculum of interest and social experiences all with appropriate individualized supports. This program has wonderful success stories and The Arc wants to ensure that Massachusetts continues to fund and grow this program.  We must commit to investing in our students with disabilities. Bill S698 removes barriers and offers true inclusive learning opportunities in an academic and non-academic setting of college.
To learn more about ICEI or to help The Arc advocate for this legislation, please contact Maura Sullivan at sullivan@arcmass.org.  We are currently accepting written testimony and assembling our panels to testify in front of the Joint Committee on Higher Education next Thursday July 13 th.
Click here for a link to the Joint Committee on Higher Education and the Senate legislation file by Senator Barbara L'Italien, SD 698.  
This webinar will focus on the use of Person Centered Planning in creating seamless transitions to adult services for students ages 14-22. Participants will look back at the historical perspectives of student planning, learn why a person centered approach makes sense and view methods of person centered planning. This workshop will provide examples of student outcomes and highlight best practices.
Presented By:
Pat Pakos, MS
Kerry Mahoney, The Arc of MA
  Financial assistance is available. Contact Kerry  Mahoney@arcmass.org 
Did you miss a webinar ?

 It is not too late! You can view the recorded webinar using The Arc's on demand feature.  To view click here and select "view session recordings."
WHAT'S TRENDINGwhatstrending
Part-Time Positions Available
The Arc of Massachusetts is currently seeking two coordinators to develop the Advocacy Alliance. The Alliance will work with chapters and others to strengthen advocacy and awareness on the regional level by coaching staff, family members and self-advocates on policy, legislative issues, and systems change. The coordinators will help local groups function effectively, assist with social media, outreach to build local capacity and provide training.  Qualifications include experience with legislators, strong interpersonal skills, among other things. Positions begin in September on a 36-week basis for $25/hr. Learn more here. Please send a cover letter and resume no later than July 15 to arcmass@arcmass.org. Only email applications will be accepted.
SPONSOR SPOTLIGHTsponsorspotlight

The Arc of Massachusetts | 781-891-6270 |   arcmass.org