November 16, 2017
Passion and Civil Rights Together 

What happens when you combine passion with a civil rights mission? Anything can happen.

Last week I outlined some of the major challenges facing us in the weeks and months ahead. You can read that blog here on our website. On Tuesday, Peter Berns, the CEO of The Arc, joined us to talk about the national landscape as well as several best practice initiatives of The Arc beyond our governmental affairs work.

Peter Berns, CEO of The Arc.
It comes as no surprise that the proposals in DC continue to threaten the Medicaid program through which federal dollars underwrite over 50% of disability services in our state (and even more in economically disadvantaged states!). If the federal state partnership is altered, it would affect far more than the present services: imagine what it would mean for those Turning 22, who will be needing adult services in the years ahead.

In response to the threats, Luis Bachman from The Arc of Greater Haverhill-Newburyport reminded us that ours is a civil rights mission. Why aren't we broadcasting this from the rooftops? There should be statues in the middle of cities reminding us of how far we have come: from the shadows of dark institutions to flourishing in community life.

In that spirit, Peter shared in closing two significant aspects of The Arc life that he saw when he joined us nine years ago. He had never before seen the level of passion that he has now seen across the country. It is a passion from individuals, parents, siblings, and many of the staff who have dedicated their lives to this field. And then, a simple statement from a past chair-leader of the Board, to remind us why we do what we do:  "I am relying on The Arc, after I'm gone, to protect the rights of my daughter."
Simple, and real.
Leo V. Sarkissian
Executive Director  
Supplement Your Disability Benefits with an ABLE Account
Supplement your SSI and Medicaid benefits with an ABLE account, a new tax-advantaged savings account for people with disabilities. ABLE plans - like the Attainable Savings PlanSM, offered by MEFA, and managed by Fidelity - let you save for short- and long- term expenses, like healthcare and transportation, without affecting your government benefits. Money in the account does not impact Medicaid benefits, and balances below $100,000 do not impact Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. Learn more about the Attainable Savings Plan at

Fidelity Brokerage Services LLC, Member NYSE, SIPC
900 Salem Street, Smithfield, RI 02917 

The Attainable Savings Plan is offered by the Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority and managed by Fidelity Investments. Qualified ABLE Programs offered by other states may provide state tax benefits to their residents or taxpayers that are not available through the Attainable Savings Plan. If you are not a resident of Massachusetts, you should consider whether your home state offers its residents or taxpayers state tax advantages or benefits for investing in your home state's qualified ABLE program before making an investment in the Attainable Savings Plan.
Units of the portfolios are municipal fund securities and are subject to market fluctuation and volatility. You may have a gain or loss when you sell your units.
Please carefully consider the Attainable Savings Plan's investment objectives, risks, charges, and expenses before investing. For this and other information, contact Fidelity for a free Disclosure Document or view one online. Read it carefully before you invest or send money.
The Becker Trust Grants for Innovation
The Trustees and Advisors of the Becker Family Trust, in conjunction with the Becker Center for Advocacy, invite you to submit a grant proposal. $1,000,000 in grants will be distributed to agencies serving people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, including autism, with four grants of $200,000 and ten grants of $20,000. T rust grant geographical criteria is the Commonwealth of Massachusetts only or a region therein.
Projects and programs should demonstrate high impact with innovative features. The focus areas to be considered may include social inclusion; self determination; employment; assistive technology; and supported/shared living.
Grant proposals are due Wednesday, December 6, 2017 - no exceptions.
Grant Awards will be announced in March at a public event.
Sharing Your Story: Legislative Advocacy
Tuesday, November 28, 2017 | 6:00 - 7:30 PM
Family Support Center, 30-40 Audubon Road, Wakefield, MA 01880

Julie Heffernan, an Advocacy Alliance Coordinator from The Arc of Massachusetts, will be presenting at EMARC's Family Support Center about the priorities for the upcoming state budget. Julie will also be talking about the legislative process and how the story of your family can help with advocacy efforts. Please join us as we plan for the legislative year ahead.

RSVP: Paula Thompson at 781-587-2316 or
Autism Insurance Update
Thursday, December 7, 2017 | 8:30 - 11:00 AM
Faculty Conference Room, S1-342
University of Massachusetts Medical School
55 Lake Avenue North, Worcester, MA 
Please register by sending an email to If you need accommodations, please let us know when you register. 
Mass Health Updates Webinar
Mass Health Innovations: What You NEED To Know About the Changes 
Thursday, December 7, 2017 | 12:00 - 1:00 PM
Presented by Leo Sarkissian, Executive Director, The Arc of Massachusetts
FREE thanks to the Becker Family Foundation
Implementation of health care reform will have a significant impact on the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD), autism, and brain injuries. Leo will provide participants with up to date changes and developments in managed care and Mass Health and what the impact is on physical and behavioral health and long-term supports and services. Register today!
Transition To Adult Services Webinar
What Educators and School Administrators Need to Know
Wednesday, January 10, 2018 | 7:00 - 8:30 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
November is Caregiver Awareness Month!

November is National Family Caregivers Month - a time to recognize and honor family caregivers across the country. Celebrating Family Caregivers during NFC month enables all of us to:
  • Raise awareness of family caregiver issues
  • Celebrate the efforts of family caregivers
  • Educate family caregivers about self-identification
  • Increase support for family caregivers
For more information about this annual observance, visit

Tell us what being a caregiver means to you! Do you know someone who is a caregiver that you would like to recognize? Email your story and photo to Kerry at All entries will be entered into a raffle to win a gift card!
Advocate Fall 2017 Is Here!

The Fall 2017 edition of  Advocate  is now here! If you're a subscriber, be sure to look for it in your mailboxes soon. A digital copy of this edition may be found here via Issuu.
Transition Conference Presentations Are Now Online!
Thank you to all the presenters that made this informative day possible! Presentations may be found under the Workshops drop down menu on the 2017 Transition Conference webpage.
Supporting Families Campaign
Did you miss the Telling Your Stories Webinar on Tuesday? It will be posted in its entirety on Friday afternoon on  the Supporting Families News pageIn the month of November, we encourage you to SHARE YOUR STORY  with your legislators in their home district!
United Arc and Stone Soup's Pay-What-You-Can Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving Dinner at Stone Soup's "Family Friendly" Pay-What-You-Can Café
Thursday, November 23, 2017 
1:00 PM - 4:00 PM drop in |  Stone Soup Cafe
399 Hope Street, Greenfield, MA

The United Arc  is delighted to announce that once again The United Arc and Stone Soup Cafe are partnering to host an inclusive community Thanksgiving Dinner on Thursday, November 23 at the Stone Soup Cafe, 399 Hope Street, Greenfield, MA from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm. Suggested amount for patrons that can pay is $10.00 per person.

For more information on this wonderful event, please consult this flyer.
Facebook Live!
Don't miss Leo Sarkissian on Facebook,  Wednesday,  November 29 at 12:00 PM ! Leo will outline five points on what is happening with Mass Health Reform.
Save The Date: 2018 State House Events
February 13, 2018:  Supporting Families Day
March 7, 2018:  The Arc of Massachusetts and Massachusetts Developmental Disabilities Council (MDDC) Legislative Event
March 28, 2018:  Department of Developmental Services (DDS) and State Citizen Advisory Boards (CAB) Day
April 12, 2018:  Autism Awareness and Acceptance Day
SPONSOR SPOTLIGHT sponsorspotlight
The Arc of Massachusetts | 781-891-6270 |