June 21, 2018
#TheArcVotes: Join Us As We REV UP The Vote!
On Monday, Julie Heffernan and I announced the launch of our #TheArcVotes campaign at The Arc of Massachusetts with a short Facebook Live that talked about why we vote and how elected officials shape the services and resources that all of us, including people with disabilities, need.

Elected officials choose administrators and policies for our public schools, including special education services; and they also determine the access to adult services when students turn 22 years old  - whether they receive employment, personal care attendants, transportation, housing, or other key resources.

This year, changes to both Medicaid and food assistance have been debated in Congress.  For example, tomorrow (Friday, June 22), the House of Representatives (DC) will vote for the second time on a proposed bill that would cut off or reduce basic food assistance under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) for roughly 2 million people across the nation.  Jim Kruidenier of Stavros ILC has commented on his exposure to stories about the lack of food for many people with disabilities in our state.  In 2007, Congressman Jim McGovern lived on the food stamp allowance to demonstrate its inadequacy.

Health care, education, personal care, and income assistance are all pretty significant items for one's life - especially if you have a disability.

But it's also our duty to vote.  As Susan B. Anthony once stated, "How can the consent of the governed be given if the right to vote is denied?"  Similarly, how long will our power to have consent continue if citizens don't vote?  In 2014, only 40% of those registered voted.  During Presidential election years, we may hit 60% turnout.  But 21% of the eligible population doesn't even register, bringing those numbers down further.

The Pew Charitable Foundation ordered a study in 2016 to see why millions don't vote that is worth reading. Make sure you are registered, and if not, you have until August 15 to register for our September primaries, and registration for the November election is open until October 17.

It's our duty to vote - and your vote, along with your civic participation, does make a difference. Learn more on the official #TheArcVotes site.


Leo V. Sarkissian
Executive Director
View on YouTube. | View and share on Facebook.
Don't Let our Achievers be the Exception
the 2018 Gala, The Arc of Massachusetts recognized six people for their accomplishments and perseverance. These "achievers" are inspirational and are terrific examples of what people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, including autism, are capable of.
As exceptional as these six people are, we should not think of them as the exception. They were able to make their dreams a reality, because they receive the support, guidance, and services to do so.
Unfortunately, these supports and services are under siege. Learn more.
You can make it possible for The Arc of Massachusetts to keep up the fight on the state and national levels. Make a real difference right now. Give to The Arc of Massachusetts annual fund and support our advocacy, education, and outreach.
Only with your commitment and generosity will people with intellectual and developmental disabilities get the services and supports that they need and deserve.
Please make a gift today at
Contact your legislators: Support The Arc's DDS line items!

Attention Advocates: The FY2019 budget is currently in Conference Committee and we need your help so that the highest amount of funding possible for our priorities is agreed upon by the two branches. The Conference Committee is comprised of Senators Spilka, Lovely, and deMacedo and Reps Sanchez, Kulik, and Smola.

Operation House Call welcomes Riley Easley as co-teacher
Operation House Call is proud to have Riley Easley (pictured here with his mom, Paula) as our newest co-teacher at UMass Medical School.  After the lecture, provided by our parent instructor Kim Walsh, Riley spent time with Psychiatry Residents. He openly shared his experiences in his life and with the medical community. Riley and his mom helped the students gain new insights into what it means to have autism.
WHAT'S TRENDING Whatstrending
Anna Glennon Memorial Scholarships awarded to PROVE graduates
Anna Glennon Sr. believed that everyone deserves the right to an education and, even before Chapter 766 mandated it, she and a small group of parents/educators and administrators in the Town of Braintree launched the Project PROVE program for high school aged individuals with special challenges in 1972. Coincident with the construction of a new high school, the classroom for Project PROVE came out of the basement. It still took a long time for exclusion from proms, walking in graduation, and being in the yearbook to be a thing of the past.

The program has evolved from its original title - "Pre-Occupational and Vocational Education" to "Providing Respect Opportunity and Excellence." The basic premise continues to be to provide the support needed for students to have a role in their communities and to succeed in their roles beyond high school years. 46 years later, in honor of Anna Glennon and those pioneers who stood with her, the Anna Glennon Memorial Scholarship was given to two PROVE graduates - Jodel LaMour and Elise Zarrella.
Charles River Museum of Industry & Innovation
154 Moody Street | Waltham

The Charles River Museum of Industry and Innovation is hosting an exhibit about the history of disability in the US. Long-overdue and previously untold, it takes an unblinking look at many chapters in our ongoing coming-to-grips with the human rights imperatives. Read The Boston Globe article on Gann Academy's involvement.
AANE Professional Development Summer Institute
In the 2018 Professional Development Summer Institute, participants will examine the neurological, cognitive, social/emotional, behavioral, sensory and communication characteristics of students with ASD, and the impact on students' learning and functioning throughout the school setting. Participants will learn to create learning environments, design curriculum, and adjust teaching strategies to address the range of academic and functional needs of students with ASD.  Applications are due by June 26, 2018. You will be notified of your acceptance by July 1, 2018.
First Responders Safety Awareness Day
Presented by TILL's Autism Support Center and the Boston Police Department
Friday, June 29 | 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM
Garvey Park, 340 Neponset Avenue, Boston

Take advantage of this inclusive event! Meet First Responders and learn about their programs. Light refreshments and summertime treats will be provided, as well as crafts, activities, and more! For more information, contact
MDDC Self-Advocacy Leadership Series Summer 2018
The Self-Advocacy Leadership Series, offered by the Massachusetts Developmental Disabilities Council, is an eight-week series designed for people with developmental disabilities on the fundamentals of leadership. Topics include: Who I am, Communication, Feelings and Values, Self-Advocacy and Leadership, Team Building, Rules and Laws and Speech Writing. 

Classes will run on Wednesdays from 10am-12pm at Bridgewater State University from July 18 to September 5. Application deadline is July 10. Learn more.
MFOFC's Advocacy Bootcamp now accepting applications
Northeast Region of Massachusetts Families Organizing for Change (MFOFC) invites primary caregivers of young children (birth to age 10) who have developmental disabilities, chronic illnesses, and/or complex medical needs to apply for the 2018 Advocacy Bootcamp! Advocacy Bootcamp builds foundational advocacy skills so that participants can empower their children to lead rich, meaningful, and exciting lives. Submit applications by August 1. Space is limited.

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