November 2, 2017
Common Human Needs 

The term "Common Human Needs" has been with me since studying social work in grad school at the University of Chicago. The term serves as the title of a seminal book in the field by Charlotte Towle, a book that is a "compassionate explanation of human developmental need." In the early to mid-20th century, financial assistance for citizens was regarded the same way that assisting illegal immigrants is today. But leaders such as Charlotte Towle and Jane Addams were pathfinders for those of us in the helping professions. Unfortunately, not all of those needing help were regarded as "deserving." 

Rosamaria Hernandez.
And so it goes for Rosamaria Hernandez. Rosamaria is a ten-year-old with cerebral palsy and a level of intellectual impairment, but according to many Americans and our immigration service, she is not "deserving." Rosamaria has lived in the USA since she was three months old and a week ago required emergency surgery. She had been living with family in a border town, and the US border patrol detained her on the way to a hospital in Corpus Christi.

After surgery, Rosamaria was detained and transported 150 miles away from her family by authorities. Her fate is now in the hands of the Office of Refugee Resettlement.

On October 27, The Arc released a statement condemning the treatment of Rosamaria by officials. "While Rosamaria is in this unjust situation, she must be provided with legal representation, due process protections, and reasonable accommodations that meet her needs as a person with a disability on U.S. soil," said Peter Berns, CEO of The Arc.

We agree with The Arc of the US that "we are better than this." How we treat people during times of need defines who we are.

It reminds me that your activism, your voice, and your time are needed in these days more than ever. Regardless of your position on immigration, please don't take our gains in the disability arena for granted. I promise you we won't!
Leo V. Sarkissian
Executive Director  
Tax-Advantaged Savings You Can Use for Your Disability Expenses
With the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act, saving and investing for disability expenses including housing, healthcare, and transportation has been made easier. Americans with disabilities now have the opportunity to save and invest in a tax-advantaged account for short- and long-term expenses. An ABLE account is a smart way to save that supplements, rather than replaces, your Medicaid and SSI benefits. Individuals can contribute up to $14,000 annually for housing, healthcare,
and any other qualified expenses, short- and long-term - like first and last month's rent. Find out how an ABLE account could make saving simple 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.
2017 Transition Conference: Saturday!
Missed the Transition Conference Registration Deadline?
A limited number of walk-ins will be available.  
Please note that we need to charge a $20 late fee.

T hank you to our sponsors!
The Guild for Human Services
Mass Down Syndrome Congress
Skills for Life
Northeast Arc
PLAN of Mass and RI
Charles River Center 
Chapters of The Arc
Northeast Arc
The Arc of South Shore 
The Arc of South Norfolk
The Arc of Bristol County
The Arc of Greater Plymouth 
The Arc of Greater Haverhill-Newburyport
For more information, please contact Kerry Mahoney at or 7 81-891-6270 x109.
Webinar On Sharing Personal Stories
Telling Your Story
Presented by Herb Cabral and Julie Heffernan, 
Advocacy Alliance Coordinators, The Becker Center for Advocacy
Tuesday, November 14, 2017 | 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
FREE thanks to the Becker Family Foundation
The most powerful thing our legislators can hear 
are the life experiences of families like yours.
This training will teach self-advocates, family members, and service providers how to effectively tell their personal stories.  It is based on the belief that a well-told story is the best way to communicate our ideas, connect with others, and advocate for our needs.  Participants will learn how to talk about who they are, what they need, and what they want - all by telling their story. Register today!
Autism Insurance Resource Center
Autism Insurance Update
Thursday, December 7, 2017 | 8:30 AM - 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.
WHAT'S TRENDING Whatstrending
Legislative Update
It's been a busy couple weeks at the State House for The Arc of Mass as we testified and advocated for multiple priority bills. First, we have great news regarding Nicky's Law!  As of today, the S 64 is polling out of committee and will likely go to Ways and Means as its next stop. The Arc and our stakeholders involved with this bill have worked diligently with our legislative sponsors, Senator Moore and Representative Campbell.  Through a well-coordinated effort, our voices have been heard about the need for an abuse registry. Stay tuned to Notes, as we will keep you informed of the bill's progress.
Rep. Carolyn Dykema, the sponsor for Operation House Call, as she testifies in front of the Joint Committee.
Three more pieces of legislation were heard in front of the Joint Committee for Public Health.  Operation House Call had a great turn out for the hearing with a panel of parents, professionals, and a medical student.  The Chair of the Joint Committee, Senator Jason Lewis, stated that he would like to see this bill move forward.  On the same day, testimony was provided for Hospital Training in Autism and Continuous Skilled Care of Fragile Children.  Please contact Maura Sullivan at to learn more about our priority legislation and how you can help.
Employment Triumph!
Collette Divitto with
The Arc's Maura Sullivan.
At the New England Council's Annual Dinner this week, Collette Divitto was honored. Collette is a young, determined, talented, and successful woman entrepreneur. She is also a person with Down syndrome. She epitomizes the cliché "if you get knocked down 10 times, get up 11." Collette started her own cookie business called "Collettey's Cookies" after applying to 100 bakeries and never being hired to work.

Not only was it a wonderful evening for Collette, as she was honored as The New Englander of the Year in front of 1700 cheering fans, but she announced her contract with Star Market and hopes to employ more people with disabilities in her Massachusetts' kitchens!
Thank you to Collette for breaking stereotypes and increasing employment opportunities for others! Follow her on Facebook at Collettey's Cookies.
Congratulations to Jo Ann Simons and Northeast Arc
Congratulations to Northeast Arc and President/CEO Jo Ann Simons for being listed as #9 on The Boston Globe's  Women & Power  2017 top 100 women-led businesses in Massachusetts list!
November is Caregiver Awareness Month!
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 Mahoney@arcmass.orgAll entries will be entered into a raffle to win a gift card!
SPONSOR SPOTLIGHT sponsorspotlight
The Arc of Massachusetts | 781-891-6270 |