March 8, 2018
Increasing Expectations, Providing Opportunities

This week for a change, I'm sharing the words of three other individuals that spoke yesterday during the 40th  Annual Legislative Reception, held by the Massachusetts Developmental Disabilities Council and The Arc of Massachusetts. We recognized Senator Jamie Eldridge and Representative Denise Garlick, and ceremony participants included Governor Charlie Baker, House Speaker Robert DeLeo, and Senator Karen Spilka. Despite the threat of weather, nearly 200 people joined us - and another 140 people tuned into our Facebook Live, which is still available to watch.

Their inspiring words can only improve the present state of our national dialogue and remind us of the value of the work we all do. It's work that not only advances opportunity for persons with disabilities, but also helps build a stronger society for all.

Let's start with Governor Charlie Baker. One of the most important and powerful elements of advocacy "has been this move toward giving folks in the disability community the opportunities and the tools that they need to be fully independent and integrated into the community in which they live. This has been a classic example of persistence, determination, and commitment over a very long period of time to change the conversation, to change the level of expectations, and by doing that, to change the possibilities and the opportunities to people who are part of the developmental disability community."
Keynote and parent, Angela Ortiz, demonstrated that by stating, "I felt so powerless, until I entered this building. It's the day I became an advocate. I was equipped with a vision for my daughter, and new tools and the confidence to be a part of some kind of change - to address a burning need that affects her  [daughter Ayla's]  life, and so many other medically fragile children and adults in the Commonwealth. That day ignited a flame so deep within me, and I've been fired up ever since."

And Rep. Denise Garlick reinforced the universality of our advocacy: "I accept this award in honor of my daughter Beth, and all the sons and daughters of the Commonwealth. How many people here are sons and daughters? That would be all of us citizens of this Commonwealth - who deserve the same opportunity to love and be loved, to belong, and to have a purpose for a meaningful life, to achieve our own personal potentials."

And so let's continue to keep moving the conversation ahead, increase our expectations, and provide opportunities.

Leo V. Sarkissian
Executive Director  
Expect Success: Celebrating Achievers - Riley's Story 
We are recognizing six achievers at our Expect Success: Celebrating Achievers gala on April 25. Our achievers are people with disabilities who have excelled in the arts, classroom, business world, and beyond. You can follow along with these stories right here.

"Your future rests in your courage." That's the motto that 22-year-old Riley Easley lives by. Riley has both autism and anxiety, but neither of those were enough to prevent him from making his dream a reality: Riley is the founder of the small business Riley Kind. Inspired by his own passionate commitment to promoting kindness, Riley Kind specializes in creating personalized greeting cards with the ultimate goal of spreading kindness in the world.  Continue reading Riley's story.
2018 Legislators Of The Year
Representative Denise Garlick and Senator Jamie Eldridge were honored as Legislators of the Year by The Arc of Massachusetts and the Massachusetts Developmental Disabilities Council at the 40th Annual Legislative Reception at the State House. Each has been a strong advocate for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities, including autism. Their efforts represent their strong commitment to a variety of social justice issues which they've championed for their constituents and for the Commonwealth.
The award plaque for Rep. Garlick features a photo of Mary Eliza Mahoney, America's first black professional nurse. Mahoney was known not only for her outstanding personal career, but also for her exemplary contributions to local and national professional organizations. Mahoney inspired both nurses and patients with her calm, quiet efficiency and untiring compassion. Rep. Garlick, a nurse, has been a long-time advocate and leader for Family Support and Employment Services. Garlick has co-sponsored many bills including Nicky's Law and Operation House Call and has carried important budget amendments for funding the Department of Developmental Services line items.
The award plaque for Senator Eldridge features a photo of a person in a wheelchair on the top step of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington. Senator Eldridge is a lead sponsor of An Act Providing Equal Access to the Bureau of Special Education Appeals and An Act Improving Access to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services. He is co-sponsoring over a dozen bills to specifically benefit people with developmental disabilities and their families.
Our communities could not ask for greater champions.
Ask the Broker! Turning 18
Tuesday, March 20, 2018 | 1 2:00-1:00 PM
Kerry Mahoney, Director of Education, Outreach, and SUPPORTbrokers
The Arc of Massachusetts | Webinar fee: $25 | Register today!
Do you have questions about your child turning 18? What are the areas that you need to focus on and should be on your to do list? After a brief presentation, there will be time to ask questions about reaching this important age! 
Why the fee? We pay for attendees phone usage by the minute for webinars and these costs add up! Help keep expenses down by using your computer for the audio portion of the program! 
Northeast Regional Legislative Breakfast
Friday, April 6, 2018 | 9:30 - 11:30 AM 
Middlesex Community College 
591 Springs Road, Campus Center, CafĂ© East | Bedford

Many Northeast region advocates and consumer advisory boards are coming together on April 6 for a Legislative Breakfast hosted by LifeLinks, Inc. The following partners are participating: 
Committee:  LifeLinks. Inc.;  Merrimack Valley Citizens Advisory Board;  NE Citizens Advisory Board;  Metro North Citizens Advisory Board;  Central Middlesex Citizens Advisory Board;  North Shore Citizens Advisory Board;  Lowell Citizens Advisory Board

Breakfast Sponsored by:  Vaillancourt & Pescatore Financial Group;  Lowell Citizens Advisory Board;  North Shore Citizens Advisory Board;  Riverside Family Support Center;  Fidelity House;  NuPath.
RSVP by April 1 to Jeanne Osborn at 978-349-3006 or 
WHAT'S TRENDING Whatstrending
Operation House Call Needs Your Support!
Th e Arc's Operation House Call legislation has passed favorably through the Joint Committee on Public Health and is now in the Health Care Finance Committee. To help this medical student and health professional training program become a law, please contact your legislator and ask them to support the bill by speaking to the Chairs of the Health Care Finance Committee. If your legislator is part of the Health Care Finance Committee - please reach out to him or her directly.

Stayed tuned for more advocacy news on our pending legislation, o r contact Maura Sullivan at
The Arc of Massachusetts Action Center: Act Now!
The Arc of Massachusetts has three new forms for directly contacting your legislators . You may use the letters that we have provided, but feel free to tailor the messages as needed for your stories. Please also be sure to include a few sentences discussing your own personal stories.

To advocate on behalf of Nicky's Law  (S2213/H4026), which would establish a registry for any direct care workers substantiated of abuse,  use this form.

To advocate on behalf of  increased DDS funding for families and people with I/DD,   use this form.

To advocate on behalf of  Supporting Families and increased Family Support through DDS,  use this form.
Intelligent Lives Panel Discussion: With Director Dan Habib
As part of ReelAbilities: Boston Disabilities Film Festival 
Friday, March 23, 2018 | 4:30 - 6:30 PM 
Lesley University Amphitheater | Register now!
The Arc of Massachusetts is happy to partner with FCSN, Lesley University, and ReelAbilities: Boston Disabilities Film Festival to present this upcoming screening and Q&A of Intelligent Lives, a new documentary from Dan Habib ( Including Samuel, Who Cares About Kelsey?). Our very own Melanie Perkins McLaughlin served as a consultant on the film.

Intelligent Lives focuses on young adults with disabilities as they navigate high school, college, and the workforce. The discussion features Elizabeth Stringer Keefe, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Special Education Division at Lesley University and film subjects Micah Fialka-Feldman of Syracuse University, Naieer Shaheed from Henderson High School (in Dorchester, MA), and Henderson principal, Patricia Lampron.
Wings for Autism at Logan Airport
Saturday, April 7, 2018 | 9:30 AM

The Charles River Center's Wings for Autism program is designed for families with children with autism to help ease the stress of flying. At this half-day event, children and their families are able to familiarize themselves with airport and travel procedures. They experience: entering the airport; the check-in process and checking bags; security screening; boarding the plane; preparing for take-off; and exiting the plane. Registration is required.

For additional information, please contact

Open Door Theater Presents 
A Sensory-Friendly Performance 
of Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Cinderella"
Saturday, March 24, 2018 | 1:00 PM
SPONSOR SPOTLIGHT sponsorspotlight
The Arc of Massachusetts  | (781) 891-6270 |