In This Issue:

  • Teen Self-Esteem and Self-Advocacy
  • People In The News
  • Discover Summer Activities in The Arc’s Virtual Library
  • Help Advocate: Updated Asset Limits for SSI
  • Don't Miss This Week’s Events! 
Teen girl sitting against a wall
Teen Self-Esteem and Self-Advocacy

Most people would agree that being accepted, feeling proud of accomplishments, and embracing self-dignity is preferable to being outcast, feeling self-critical, and lacking self-confidence. Unfortunately, many teenagers – especially teens with IDD - often face issues that challenge having healthy self-esteem.

May is National Teen Self-Esteem Month. This - and every month - it is helpful to remember the importance of practicing self-respect and striving to have confidence.

According to Teen Health, here are some ideas to help improve self-esteem:

  • Be with people who treat you well
  • Say helpful things to yourself
  • Accept what's not perfect
  • Set goals and work toward them
  • Focus on what goes well

“Adolescence is hard on everyone, but it can be traumatizing for teens with IDD. With some extra understanding and practical supports, they can be helped to not only survive, but also to thrive during the teen years,” according to an article: Teens with Intellectual Disability Have it Harder, by Marie Hartwell-Walker, Ed.D.

Self-advocacy is an additional tool that may help enhance self-esteem – not only for teenagers but also for all of us. It is healthy, empowering and protective to self-advocate. In fact, self-advocacy is one of the most important actions to make positive changes and own one’s own power.

The Arc presents opportunities to learn and improve self-advocacy skills. Everyone is welcome to participate.

Each month, we host People First:

Self-advocates and advisors from The Arc meet to focus on making positive changes in our community and beyond, becoming stronger self-advocates, and supporting each other. The next meeting is on June 1 from 5:30 – 7 p.m. at The Arc – JCCGC Offices, 13949 W. Colfax Ave., Bldg. 1, Suite 102. To attend virtually or by phone click here, and select the meeting you wish to attend to find the Zoom information. No RSVP needed.

Learn more about self-advocacy at our chapter by clicking here.

Join the National Council of Self-Advocates by clicking here.
Portrait of Elizabeth Bonker in Graduation Cap
People in the News

A recent NPR feature told the story of Elizabeth Bonker, a person with non-speaking autism who presented her college commencement speech. She was one of five valedictorians representing her class and was chosen by her fellow valedictorians to deliver the address at graduation. This story expresses the significance of personhood, inclusion, and achievement, so we want to share it with you.

To read the article and see a video of the speech, click here. To read an interview with Bonker, click here.

Two teens reading with computers in the graphic
Discover Summer Activities in the Virtual Library

Find and share on-demand activities to do at your convenience on The Arc U.S.’s Virtual Library. Service providers can also find and share resources that they can use to facilitate or deliver live, remote programming for people with IDD. There are numerous choices available by clicking here.

Among the highlights in the Virtual Program Library are some free activities including:

Flamingo Chicks
An inclusive community giving all children, including disabled children, the opportunity to enjoy dance and explore movement alongside friends. Click here to see the activities.

Jeopardy Labs
Jeopardy Labs allows you to create a customized jeopardy template or browse other jeopardy templates created by other people. The games you make or find can be played online from anywhere in the world. Click here to check it out!

Go Noodle
The idea behind Go Noodle is simple: be a force of joy, health, and self-discovery for kids and the adults who love them. Click here to play.
The Arc U.S. Logo
Help Advocate: Updated Asset Limits for SSI - Tell Congress to Pass the SSI Savings Penalty Elimination Act

The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program provides critical support for millions of people with disabilities and their families to be able to afford necessities like food and rent. However, SSI has many rules that make it hard for people to save money and get out of poverty.

SSI has asset limits that have not been updated since 1989. Assets include money in bank accounts, property, and savings. Right now, people who get SSI can only have $2,000 in assets, and married couples can only have $3,000.

These asset limits make it impossible for people to save money for emergencies and force too many people with disabilities into poverty—but a new bill introduced in Congress could help change that!

Please click here if you want to contact your U.S. Senators and ask them to support people with disabilities and their families by co-sponsoring the bipartisan SSI Savings Penalty Elimination Act, which would raise SSI asset limits for the first time in over 30 years and significantly improve the lives of people with disabilities who receive SSI. 
Don't Miss This Week's Events!
Employment Mixer - May 18
Hoping to explore new employment opportunities?
Want to debunk some stereotypes about people with IDD and help potential employers meet possible job candidates?
Then don’t miss an employment mixer presented by The Arc - Jefferson, Clear Creek & Gilpin Counties and The Arc Arapahoe & Douglas Counties. Attend this non-formal (no resumes needed), non-job fair (no employer booths). There will be a short welcome presentation, followed by eating, drinking, schmoozing, and breakout sessions. See you on Wednesday, May 18: 4 to 6 p.m. at Brewability.
Click here for more information.
Coffee House - May 19
Everyone is welcome. Come and make new friends, mingle with people of all abilities, and promote inclusion in our community. Panera Bread, 650 S. Wadsworth Blvd., Thursday, May 19: 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. No RSVP needed.