May 17, 2018
Themes from Our Annual Meeting 
On May 10, members and friends of The Arc of Massachusetts gathered together to review the year, elect several board members, and hear our speaker, DDS Commissioner Jane Ryder.

We recognized the following: 
  • Cheryl Ryan Chan, The Joseph Andrade Award for Leadership
  • Jean Goldsberry of the Minute Man Arc for Human Services for Community Building
  • Kevin J. Leahy of The Cooperative for Human Services for Leadership and Sustained Advocacy
  • Jo Ann Simons of The Northeast Arc for Innovative Programs and Increased Community Visibility 
  • Lynne Sugar of The Arc of Opportunity for Advancing the Capacity of The Arc
In there comments, themes about family and self-advocacy prevailed. Jane Ryder shared how her parents taught her and her siblings that their lives were no less "typical" simply because a member of their family had a disability. Kevin Leahy of Cooperative for Human Services talked about the mothers who built the engine of The Arc's advocacy. They knew there could be something better and laid the foundation for the services that have come to pass. Jean Goldsberry focused on the voice of the individuals themselves and their connections throughout the Minute Man community. We need to listen to those voices and give them the tools for maximum self-determination.

We hope all volunteers and staff work with a passion for connecting individuals with their communities and supporting families. Much has been accomplished, but our journey is far from over. We know what we have left undone.


Leo V. Sarkissian
Executive Director
Operation House Call passes favorably through Health Care Finance Committee
On Wednesday, May 16, the Health Care Finance Committee passed Operation House Call. Now on to hopefully its final stop at Ways and Means before becoming law! Thank you to everyone who advocates for this program, the emails and phone calls are so important to moving legislation. Stay tuned as we get closer to the finish line.

Here are some quotes from students who benefit from the program.

From Sondra Davis (Masters in Nursing)
"Everyone who will one day work in the field should be so lucky to sit with those we seek to impact and by doing so, be affected ourselves. Operation House Call is the most meaningful experience I have had since beginning this journey at Simmons. OHC presents an unparalleled opportunity to glean perspective about the healthcare system's strengths and weaknesses, essentially teaching us what we should and should not do when providing care in the future. I am so thankful to Carrie and the other families who participate in delivering this experiential learning outside the classroom and hope that the program continues to expand."

From Katherine Cella (Masters in Nursing)
"The opportunity to be involved with an experience like Operation House Call is absolutely one of the best things I have done since beginning my career as a nurse. Not only did it provide the opportunity to have direct patient contact in a setting outside of the traditional clinical experiences, but it allowed a family to help give us an experience that will shape the way we interact with future patients for the rest of our careers. Overall, I hope the project continues and expands. It was such a fabulous experience and I think can provide not only a learning opportunity but the families have a place to have their voices heard so care can be improved moving forward."
Acts of Heroism at Center of Hope
Very few people know that on the night of our Annual Meeting, May 10, that Cindy Howard, Executive Vice President and COO of the Center of Hope Foundation, had helped save lives only a few hours earlier. As she called first responders, two other Center of Hope management team members, Erika Travinski and Monique Chapdelaine, ran to a house across the street to help evacuate two children still in a burning home.

The passion they have for their work every day was reflected in their immediate response to a life threatening situation. Read more about their bravery here.
Advocate for Budget Amendments Supported by The Arc: Round 2!
On Monday May 14, State Senate members submitted 1196 amendments to the recently released Senate Ways and Means Committee FY 19 budget. We have actively encouraged Senate members to sign on as cosponsors to nine of those amendments. These amendments ask that funding be increased for budget line items affecting family support services, Operation House Call and supporting adult services. We encourage all to contact their Senators to sign onto to these amendments if their member has not already done so.

The Senate budget debate is slated to begin on Tuesday May 22 so your advocacy and action is needed this week. Using the letter we've provided at this link, please contact your Senator, customizing the letter however you would like to.

If you wish to reach out for further advocacy, the main number at the state house is 617-722-2000 to reach all Senate members.
Call to Action for Housing: Support Accessory Apartments!
Massachusetts Senate Bill 2132, "An Act relative to accessory dwelling units," would allow families to add an accessory unit for the purpose of creating a home for a family member with a disability, regardless of local zoning, provided certain criteria are met.  Using this pre-written but customizable letter, please contact your Rep and Senator. It takes just a few minutes!

Housing for adults with autism and other intellectual and developmental disabilities is a crisis for so many individuals and families. This option allows for cost efficiency compared to our residential housing option while allowing independence. Families who want to have closer supervision of their loved one and also want to financially smart have been advocating hard for this bill. Please let your legislators know that now is the time to pass S 2132.

Thank you for your help. Please contact Maura Sullivan at if you have questions and stay tuned for updates.
WHAT'S TRENDING Whatstrending
Evelyn Hausslein (SUPPORT brokers) to receive Honorary Degree from Wheelock College
On Friday, May 18, Evelyn B. Hausslein, founding director of The Arc of Massachusetts  SUPPORTbrokers program, will receive an Honorary Degree from Wheelock College.
Ms. Evelyn B. Hausslein's work in the area of disabilities spans more than 40 years. She was the Founding Director of SUPPORTBrokers, a project that assists individuals with disabilities to achieve community membership based upon their personal vision. As the Early Childhood Specialist for the Federation for Children with Special Needs, she provided technical assistance to parents across the country and oversaw the Early Intervention Training Centers throughout Massachusetts. She is a former Board member of The Arc of Massachusetts and has chaired its governmental affairs committee. Read more.
Not planning to itemize your taxes? Consider a making a gift from your IRA!
The new tax law did not change the rules for qualified charitable distributions. This provision allows people 70 ½ and older to transfer up to $100,000 from their IRAs to charity each year. It counts toward their required minimum distribution without being added to their adjusted gross income. The tax-free transfer from an IRA lets you benefit from making a gift to The Arc of Massachusetts, even without itemizing.

You should note that the gift from your IRA must be made directly by the custodian of your IRA, not you. Call the financial institution that holds your IRA and ask about its charitable rollover procedures. Please contact Katrin Aback, Director of Development, at or 781-891-6270 x105 if you have any questions.
We want to hear from people with I/DD about Mental Health!
The Arc's Center for Future Planning is collaborating with Boston University and Self-Advocates Becoming Empowered (SABE) on a project focused on people with I/DD who also identify as having a mental health challenge.  We are gathering information from individuals who identify as having a mental health challenge and I/DD so that we can use this information to learn more about areas of need for that population.

We are gathering information through a short survey, as well has hosting virtual "town halls" which participants can dial-in to attend using a phone. We encourage and invite any person with I/DD ages of 18-30 to complete the survey as well as register to attend one of the virtual "town halls" and share their experiences.

There are four options of dates/times for attendees to participate in the town halls! More information can be found in the flyer and at our Facebook page, too!
Durable Medical Equipment (DME) Donation Drive
The REquipment Durable Medical Equipment Reuse Program is sponsoring a durable medical equipment donation drive to be held Saturday, June 2 from 9:30 to 2:30 at their Worcester Reuse site at 324 Clark Street. They would appreciate donations of gently used equipment such as power and manual wheelchairs, scooters, tub seats and shower chairs, sling lifts, rollators, adapted strollers, seating and positioning devices, etc. They do NOT accept canes, crutches, walkers, commodes or hospital beds. For those that have equipment that they are not able to deliver, please contact or complete a donation form at for future pick up.
Department of Developmental Services (DDS) Eligibility - Which Door to Enter?
Thursday, June 7, 2018 | 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
Presented by Kristen O'Melia, Director of Family Support,
Intake and Eligibility and FIRST Team, Metro Boston region
Register today! | FREE thanks to the DDS and MPTE

Considering applying for services from DDS? This workshop will help you understand the eligibility guidelines, application process and know the types of services and supports you could receive.
Miss a webinar? Check out our on demand recordings!
You asked for it and we made it happen! You can now access previously held webinars at any time from your computer. Visit our WebEx page and select "View session recordings" from the top of the right sidebar. 

Recent webinars now available for viewing include:
  • Key Aspects of Supported Decision Making, presented by Michael Kendrick and Anna Krieger, Center for Public Representation
  • How Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission Works with Transition Age Youth, presented by Jennifer Stewart, Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission
  • Advanced Legislative Advocacy, presented by Maura Sullivan and Julie Heffernan, The Arc of Massachusetts
  • SSI and Social Security Benefits for Students with Disabilities, presented by Kathy Kelly, Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission
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The Arc of Massachusetts  | (781) 891-6270 |