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TogetherWBTogether We're Better! 




Brandon Lilly has an interesting life.  He holds down two jobs and in his free time, he loves to watch action movies, cook for his friends, and attend pro-wresting events. 

Children in grades K-5 recently attended an assembly to hear Brandon talk about his life and what it was like growing up as a person with intellectual and developmental disabilities.  The children were quiet and captivated by Brandon's words until Brandon answered a student's question about his favorite wrestler.  "John Cena " was Brandon's answer and the crowd of excited children erupted into cheers and applause!

"It was great to see how interested the kids were in my life," said Brandon at the conclusion of the day.  "It made me feel really good to talk about my challenges and especially my successes with them.  I think they can see that we are different, but we are also all alike on the inside."  Some of the posters that the children created after the assembly echoed these sentiments, depicting phrases such as "be a buddy, not a bully," and containing images of friends of all shapes, sizes and colors who were living, learning, and playing together. 

These assemblies are part of our "Together We're Better" Inclusive Education campaign, a program offered by The Arc Maryland in partnership with the Maryland State Department of Education, the Maryland Developmental Disabilities Council, and the Maryland Department of Disabilities. 

Earlier this month, the Art Contest for elementary and middle school students resulted in more than 60 artwork submissions from around the state.  

The artwork submitted for the contest will travel throughout the state and "my life" assemblies, like the ones depicted here will also continue through the month of June as part of the Together We're Better 2017-18 School Year campaign.  
parentThe Power of Parents!
Grace Williams and Lillian Trippett after testifying at the General Assembly

L-R Steve Hess, Delegate Alonzo Washington, Cassidy, Lori, and Charlie Scott

The Dean Family at DD Day

The 2018 Legislative Session in in full swing!  We have provided testimony and letters of information to inform our representatives of the positive aspects as well as possible unintended consequences of potential legislation.  Of particular interest this session is the matter of DDA funding for our Community Services.


The Minimum Wage Act of 2014 contained a mandate of 3.5% increases to DDA funding each year from 2016 to 2019.  Unfortunately, again this year, the mandated funding was not included in the budget put forth by the Governor.  There is only a 1% increase in he budget which represents a 28 million dollar shortfall of funding (15m in general funds and 13 m in federal matching funds.)  This shortfall would devastate our system of community services and has driven a lot of our advocacy work this session. 


While legislators need to hear from all people who would be impacted by bills, it is testimony from self-advocates and family members that is always the most powerful.


It was parents and other family members who started The Arc more than 65 years ago;  wanting a better life for their children.  The tradition of family leadership within The Arc is strong and continues to this day!


Please subscribe to receive our Annapolis Insider for weekly updates on the budget and proposed legislation and let us know if you are interested in joining us at the legislature.  We can provide assistance with messaging and testimony framing if needed! 

dddayAdvocates Urge Lawmakers: Fund Developmental Disability Services

ANNAPOLIS, MD - The Developmental Disabilities Day at the Legislature occurred on Thursday, February 22 and included briefs and presentations by leaders in the General Assembly, and the Maryland Department of Disabilities. Each year, this event is hosted by the Developmental Disabilities Coalition, which includes The Arc Maryland, Disability Rights Maryland, Maryland Association of Community Services, Maryland Developmental Disabilities Council, and People on the Go of Maryland.
Ken Capone, executive director of People on the Go of Maryland introduced special guests, Carol Beatty, Secretary of the Maryland Department of Disabilities and Deputy Secretary Bernard Simons of DDA during the event. "DD Day is so important for people with disabilities" said Capone, "It continues to grow as you can see by the record crowd!"
A record-breaking crowd of over 800 people with developmental disabilities, advocates, family and staff gathered in Annapolis for the annual event. "It's unbelievable that 800 people gathered here today," said Alex Barnes, a self-advocate. "We are all ordinary people who together can do extraordinary things."

 To continue reading the press release, click here.
Photo credits:  Maryland Developmental Disabilities Council, The Arc Howard County
March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month

This year is the 31st Annual Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month.


First recognized in 1987, Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month was created to "increase public awareness of the needs and potential of Americans with developmental disabilities."


The Arc Maryland works year round to increase public awareness of the needs of individuals with developmental disabilities but also to increase appreciation and value of a diverse community fabric, with people of all abilities, interests, talents and contributions living, working, learning, and playing together. 


We will be sharing a few posts throughout the month to celebrate Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month on our Facebook page.  Please share your pictures and stories with us.  We'd love to highlight you! 

sibshopSibshops Across the State

Several chapters of The Arc across Maryland have revitalized their Sibshops! Sibshops are reoccurring support workshops where siblings of children with special needs can talk, play, and support each other. Siblings get to know  other children around their age who share a commonality- a sibling with a disability!


 The Arc Baltimore holds Sibshops each third Saturday of the month. The Arc of Frederick County is holding a series of Sibshops between now and June. The Arc Montgomery County's Spring session has already begun, but keep your eyes open for a Summer session. 

governorhoganNew Waivers Aim To Make A Dent in the Waiting List but without Adequate Funding, Provider Capacity is a Concern...

A recent article in the Maryland Reporter highlighted the Community Supports Waiver and the Family Supports Waiver, which opened 800 slots for high priority candidates on the DDA Waiting List, and the addition of 100 slots to the Autism Waiver.  The article details just how long individuals and families can wait to receive services and provides a view of the state of support services in Maryland.

With over 5,000 individuals on the DDA Waiting List and approximately 3,000 more in the future needs category, individuals are still waiting a long time to access services.  The Autism Waiver Registry also contains more than 5,000 children, waiting close to 10 years for services.


Ande Kolp was quoted in the article, discussing how the lack of a 3.5% increase in DDA community support services is a serious concern with the current state of struggling providers and need for providers with the capacity to accept new admissions (article incorrectly quotes "positions") through the new capped waivers.  The funding inadequacy and associated DSP turnover makes it difficult for providers to expand and for people who self-direct to retain qualified caregivers.


You can read the article here.  

Upcoming Events
The content for upcoming events comes from our member chapter organizations.  For more information, please visit their websites!
familyFamily Events 

We keep a running list of lists events and training opportunities hosted by The Arc's local chapters and other organizations with similar values to provide family members with useful training and information sessions.


Check out what we have compiled so far, here

Art Show - A Walk in the Park
Presented by The Arc of Frederick County
March 3 - 12
Please join The Arc of Frederick County at Market Street for a whimsical walk in the park. The Arc at Market Street has been transformed into a park where you will have the opportunity to view benches painted by local artists. This is free and open to the public. The park is open from Saturday, March 3 through Monday, March 12 from 10 AM through 4 PM. In addition, it will be open for special twilight hours on Wednesday, March 7th from 4 PM to 7 PM with dinner available for purchase. For more information, click here
Annual Basket Bingo
Presented by The Arc of Washington County
April 15 at 11 am
Join The Arc of Washington County for our Annual Basket Bingo! Featuring Longaberger Baskets, Alex and Ani, 31 Gifts, Vera Bradley and Tastefully Simple! Doors open at 11:00 AM. First Game: 1:00 PM. Free lunch served at 12 noon. For more information, click here.
Chocolate Ball
Presented by The Arc Howard County
March 10 at 7 pm
Limited tickets are still available for The Arc Howard County's 21st Annual Chocolate Ball. Ticket Prices are $250 per person for an evening of dining, dancing and fabulous confections! The band Oracle keeps you and your friends dancing until midnight. The money goes to supporting people with disabilities in living, employment, and exceeding their expectations. Chefs compete to be named the #1 chef in Howard County. The Chocolate desserts are amazing. For more information, click here
After d'Arc Gala License to Give
Presented by The Arc Northern Chesapeake Region
April 007 at 7 pm
Join The Arc Nothern Chesapeake Region for their annual After d'Arc Gala on April 007, 2018. This year's theme is "License to Give."  The event is sure to be exciting with its James Bond theme! For more information, check out the event website here
Kicks for Chase Charity Soccer Game4
Presented by The Arc Northern Chesapeake Region
April 20 at 7 pm
Words cannot describe the pain of losing a child. Chase would be turning 6 years old this December. In his memory, and to benefit kids like Chase with Down Syndrome, UMBC is hosting their 6th Annual "Kicks for Chase" charity soccer game on Friday, April 20, 2018 at 7:00 p.m. at UMBC Retriever Soccer Park. The game will be UMBC Men's Soccer team, the Retrievers, VS University of Delaware! For information, click here
Autism in Motion 5k
Presented by The Arc Carroll County
April 28 at 8 am
Please support the Autism in Motion Program at The Arc Carroll County! The Annual 5K Fun Run is held to benefit adults on the Autism Spectrum so that they may continue to receive support in making their own life choices. For more information and to sign up, click here
Golf Tournament
Presented by The Arc Central Chesapeake Region
May 7 at 8 am
Join The Arc Central Chesapeake Region for the Annual Golf Outing on May 7, 2018, as we celebrate 20 years of the golf tournament. It's a day full of great food, friends... and golf! Enjoy breakfast from  Chick-fil-a , lunch, and dinner from  Adam's Ribs , and all you can drink beer, soda, and water. For more information and to register, click here.
2018 Annual Dinner & Community Awards
Presented by The Arc Carroll County
May 8 at 6:30 pm
Join The Arc Carroll County for their Annual Dinner and Community Awards Ceremony. I t's a night meant to celebrate the accomplishments of the people we serve and those who make a difference in the lives of those with intellectual and developmental disabilities. For more information and to purchase tickets, click here
Save the Date for The Arc Maryland's Annual State Convention and Awards Luncheon:  CommUNITY
June 8, 2018  
The Arc Maryland is excited to announce the date and location for The Arc Maryland's 2018 State Convention. 

Please save the date and join us on Friday, June 8, 2018 at the Turf Valley Resort in Ellicott City! 

Information on Sponsorship, Exhibitor and Presenter Opportunities can be found HERE.