Issue 1, September 2016
In This Issue
Craig's Corner
A message from our Executive Director
1953.  That is the year The Arc of Dauphin County was born.  We have been around a long time, and through the years, have evolved to the multiple services organization we are today, with a cadre of enlightened staff, board and volunteers working very hard every day to realize our mission that focuses on quality of life and community integration for individuals with special needs.  
Our staff and board are, indeed, dedicated.  Did you know that at our recent Family Fun Day, our staff and board volunteered over 120 hours of their time and effort in order to ensure that the day was fun, and that it succeeded?  You can read about Family Fun Day elsewhere in this first issue of The Arc of Dauphin County News.  I want our readers to know that the real success of the picnic was the 135 people that showed up in a driving rain (we received 2.25 inches in our rain gauge).  We thank all of our participants who came out in spite of black clouds, in spite of dire weather announcements, and of course, in spite of the downpour.  That just proves nothing can hold back our community of friends, and the impossible can be achieved.
My first six months as your new leader concludes with this issue of The Arc of Dauphin County News.  There will be many more issues, many more consumers served (we have already substantially increased the number we are serving in recent months), and we will continue to work tirelessly for our community.  The biggest blessing for me, coming on board as the "new guy", has been the privilege it is to work with an absolutely stellar staff and board here at The Arc - top notch dedicated professionals who truly know what they are doing and are the very best at what they do.  The Arc's success depends on the staff and board, certainly, but the larger community of our donors, volunteers, community leaders, politicians, county, state and national leaders and programs all play a vital role in our ability to meet our mission.  Thanks to all of you, we are truly enhancing the quality of life and community integration for individuals with special needs.

New and Renewed
New and returning faces at The Arc!
The Arc of Dauphin County, constantly looking for ways to strengthen its offering to our consumers and to fulfill it's mission, "To enhance the quality of life and community integration for individuals with special needs," is proud to announce new and returning staff:
Tekerra Chandler and Ruth Knapp, formerly with The Arc of Dauphin County, are both "welcomed back into the fold" as they return to our staff.  Tekerra will return to her former department, Positive Behavioral Support, and Ruth will be back in Consumer Programs, now working on one of our three Pre-Employment Training Services teams.
Sam Primak, former Grants Manger who relocated to Denver, Colorado, is back at The Arc as our new Director of Advancement.
Craig George is our new Executive Director, who came on board in early spring.  Craig brings with him a long career in non-profit administration and fundraising, and lengthy experience as a nonprofit CEO.  His nonprofit work includes The Smithsonian Institution, Hawk Mountain Sanctuary and Hershey Gardens.

Meet our New Board Member!
We welcome our newest member of the Board of Directors: Dianne E. LeBlanc of Mechanicsburg, Pa.   
"Dianne comes to us with an impressive list of attributes, which have already been beneficial to The Arc of Dauphin County," noted Jan Lewis, Chairman of the Board.  Included in her list of expertise is project management, process improvement, contract negotiation and compliance, cost control, numerous software and IT management capabilities, and much more.
Dianne received her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and her Masters of Business Administration (Magna Cum Laude, and Cum Laude respectively) from Franklin University.  She is the Global Director HRIT for the Harsco Corporation in Camp Hill.
An active volunteer, Dianne has been a volunteer for the Relay for Life of Carlisle serving as Luminaria Chair, the Event Chair, and as a team captain.  She has been very active in the Hemlock Girl Scout Council serving as Service Unit Director, Registrar, and Girl Scout Leader.  "We are proud and fortunate to have Dianne add The Arc of Dauphin County to her list of stellar volunteer accomplishments," observed Vincent Pinizzotto of the Nominations Committee. 
"Dianne is an enterprising 'mover and shaker' in the business world as well as the non-profit sector; it was a great day for The Arc of Dauphin County when she was accepted to the Board," said Craig George, The Arc's Executive Director.

After the first of the year, we are forming a care giver's group, the ideal place to network with other care givers, parents, and maybe picking up some helpful hints, ideas, support from your peers!  All this with the addition of a light dinner, and perhaps a recognized speaker who could also provide helpful information and most important: Inspiration!  E-mail Joe Martin at , or call our main switchboard at 717.920.2727.

We are considering putting together a chaperoned vacation for our consumers.  While we are not aware of any waiver or county funding for this, we would look for the consumer to self-pay or for a benefactor to come forward and philanthropically fund a vacation for someone who has perhaps never had one before.  We are in the very early stages of considering this and are curious if there is any interest within our community.  All interested parties please contact Ken Seeger at , or call 717.920.2727.  Please note that there are no dates planned or destinations in mind as of yet.  This is in the very early planning stage but we need to gauge interest.

Do you know someone without e-mail who would enjoy having a print version of The Arc Dauphin County News mailed to them?  Just give Barb Bressler a call at 717.920.2727, and leave their name and mailing address.  The same information can also be e-mailed to: . The Arc of Dauphin County News is mailed once a month by first class mail at no cost to you. Consider offering a gift subscription-just advise us the subscription is a gift when you contact us with the mailing address and we will include a cover letter with the first mailing explaining you have provided the gift subscription.

Arc Logo
Family Fun Day 2016
A rainy spectacular success!


The rain fell hard on August 21, but it did not prevent The Arc of Dauphin County from holding its 9th Annual Family Fun Day at Fort Hunter Park in Harrisburg.  More amazing was the fact that the heavy downpours did not prevent consumers, families, caregivers, board members, and the general public from coming out and enjoying the day.


Prior to the event, attendance had been ratcheted up, with nearly 300 registering.  Despite the weather, 135 attended, which was a surprising attendance rate to staff and volunteers helping out at the event.  "To see almost half of the registrants come in spite of the rain was truly heartwarming," Craig George, Executive Director, said.  "Our staff, Board of Directors and volunteers worked tirelessly to plan a memorable and fun-filled experience for our consumers, their families and the community, but we were a little worried when we woke up that morning and saw the skies," he added.   "We carried on, and it was a spectacular success."
As the rain poured down around the pavilion in Fort Hunter, attendees were well fed with a seemingly endless supply of hamburgers, turkey burgers, hot dogs, baked beans, and watermelon, but the biggest treat, in quite the literal sense, was half of a 6 foot wide and 5 inch thick apple pie weighing in at over 150 pounds.  Mike Ruppel, Positive Behavior Support Consultant for The Arc, was in charge of dishing it out.  "I felt like I could have fed the entire world with that pie!" he recalled.
Activities, including bingo, a cake walk and a puppet show, also kept those in attendance entertained and engaged throughout the day.  ZooAmerica braved the weather to provide encounters with animals including a snake, turtle, owl, and albino skunk.  The Susquehanna Township Police Department was also on hand to provide special treats while Dauphin County's Fire Rescue Department brought a fire truck to display after the clouds eventually broke.
The event was made possible by many generous donors who provided back packs for each consumer, cash, prizes for bingo and the cake walk, and merchandise credit cards to purchase food.  Donors also provided massive quantities of bottled water, hot food rolls, charcoal, giant tubs for the water, pop-up awning tents, and other related supplies.  "I speak for The Arc's staff and board when I say that our donors' generosity in making this a tremendous day for our consumers was heroic, and it is greatly appreciated," George added.  "Each day, we work with complete dedication to serve those with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and support from our donors and volunteers gave us the chance to provide a day of fun and relaxation to our consumers, their families and the entire Arc team."
"And, of course, Family Fun Day would not have been possible without its official sponsor, WoodmenLife," added Jan Lewis, Chairman of The Arc's Board of Directors.
While this year's Family Fun Day was a great triumph, The Arc plans to expand the event next year.  "This year was a 'turnaround' year.  We plan to launch a larger event next August, and we'd like to increase the number of attendees to 1,000," noted Sam Primak, Director of Advancement.  "Family Fun Day will only get grander and more spectacular moving forward."

Back to School with Arc ADVANCE
Providing a pathway to victory for students with disabilities
With the new school year under way, The Arc of Dauphin County is preparing to provide a newly developed program to students with disabilities throughout Dauphin and surrounding counties.  The Arc ADVANCE Pre-Employment Transition Services (P.E.T.S.) are designed and tailored to meeting the transition service needs of students with a disability, ages 14-21.  Arc ADVANCE includes components which focus on workplace readiness training, independent living skills training, self-advocacy training, and work based learning experiences.  These services, made possible through partnership with the Pennsylvania Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR), are designed to help students transition from school to work, which is essential in helping those with disabilities live independent and successful lives.
"Work is a fundamental part of life for people with and without disabilities, and these services really champion the abilities of students with disabilities to learn to apply for a job, to understand how to write a resume, and to learn workforce skills including best practices while on the job," said Ken Seeger, Director of Consumer Programs.  "At the same time, this encourages and endorses the students' feelings of self-worth and helps them to become effective members of the community, which is what they are after," he added.
The Arc is currently collaborating with four school districts to deliver these transition services during the 2016-2017 school year, but they continue to search for additional school districts that are interested in establishing a partnership.  "These are services that many school districts are pressed to provide for their students with disabilities, and we are hoping that more school districts will take advantage of this free service and agree to collaborate.  We are willing to partner with interested schools, whether they are in Dauphin, Cumberland, Lebanon, or Perry Counties," said Seeger.
The services stem from a new initiative that the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania introduced to align with the Federal Government's priority to focus on efforts that result in community-based, integrated employment opportunities for individuals with significant disabilities.  With the implementation of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), which re-authorized the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, OVR created new opportunities in collaboration with an established network of community rehabilitation providers, including The Arc, to provide transition services to students with disabilities.  
"These programs have been proven to be both empowering and emancipating, and they make bold strides in society's collective efforts to help move the real world experiences of those with disabilities forward on their pathways to victory," said Seeger.
For more information on Arc ADVANCE, please contact Ken Seeger at , or call 717.920.2727.

New Respite Center to Open in Early 2017
Construction to begin soon!
The long awaited Respite Center is finally going to become a reality thanks to the community coming together and supporting the efforts of The Arc of Dauphin County to move its Respite program to a new location on The Arc campus along Harrisburg's Walnut Street corridor.
"We have worked with the community and our friends in the borough and other government entities to move the Respite Center forward.  While it took longer than anyone expected, planners also had time to make additional improvements to the project.  The end result will be a world class respite center that will ensure a safe, secure and productive environment for our guests," said Craig George, Executive Director.  
The Respite Center will feature a meeting and activity center, computer station, areas for relaxing and playing games, ADA compliant bathroom and bedroom facilities and other amenities for a two-night stay.
"Our Senior Management Group has set a November 1 date for the official ground breaking," explained Matthew George, Director of Administration and Facilities.  "We plan to have many officials and the press there to preview our plans; some of the construction may have already started by then.  It will be a terrific launch for a very important project," George added.
The Arc of Dauphin County is seeking grants now to cover extra costs of construction, which will further improve the experience for consumers who come for respite.  Donations toward the success of the Respite Center can be discussed by calling Craig George or Sam Primak at 717.920.2727.  If interested in naming The Arc's Respite Center or Respite Center Building (for example, "The John Z. and Agnes Y. Doe Respite Center"), Craig George will set up an appointment to meet you at the site and discuss your thoughts in person.

Election 2016
Pennsylvania providing extensive voting assistance

In less than two months, United States citizens, including individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, will cast their votes to elect the next President, as well as federal, state and local officials.  But is everyone prepared to exercise this right?
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has provided a number of resources that are designed to educate and inform voters on all aspects of the voting process.  The Pennsylvania Department of State (DOS) has developed  Everyone.votesPA, which is a web-based educational toolkit that guides Pennsylvania electors through the registration process and the experience at the polling place.  Through Everyone.votesPA, voters will learn about their rights and what they can expect at the polls.  The voter registration process has also been simplified due to Pennsylvania's online voter registration site,
DOS has prepared additional events and resources, such as a National Voter Registration Day Twitter Townhall on September 27, 2016, and agencies and organizations throughout the Commonwealth are encouraged to share voter education materials from Everyone.votesPA.
To download these materials, please visit, or click on the links above.
And remember that the deadline for voter registration is October 11, 2016. Registration can be completed by visiting

Upcoming Events


September 22, 2016

Lunch and Learn: The Power of Parents
Presented by: Pam Klipa, The Arc of Pennsylvania

This free and informative training includes an overview of the process of an educational IEP and parent's rights concerning their child's program and placement.  Lunch will be provided.

Location: The Arc of Dauphin County, Harsco Center, 2569 Walnut Street, Harrisburg, PA

Time: 12:00 - 1:30 PM

Registration: Please contact Barb Bressler @ 717.920.2727 or by 4:00 PM on Monday, September 19.

October 1, 2016

Hoops 4 Hoops Appreciation Ceremony
Hosted by: Hoops 4 Hoops Sports League

The Arc of Dauphin County will be participating in this event with an informational display.  Joe Martin, a Consumer Programs staff member with The Arc, will also be recognized at this event for the contributions and assistance he has provided to the organization's founder.

Location: Crowne Plaza Harrisburg-Hershey, 23 S. 2nd Street, Harrisburg, PA

Time: 4:00 - 9:00 PM
October 7, 2016
Young Adult First Friday Dance
Hosted by: The Arc of Dauphin County

Join us for fun, food, and friendship at The Arc of Dauphin County, and hear the DJ play your favorite music!

Location: The Arc of Dauphin County, Harsco Center, 2569 Walnut Street, Harrisburg, PA

Time: 5:30 - 7:30 PM

Cost: $5.00 per person - includes food and drinks
October 27, 2016

Special Presentation: "Planning for the Future: What Special Needs Trusts and the ABLE Act Can Do for You"
Presented by: Amy Dolan Strano and Michelle Sipple, ACHIEVA Family Trust; Marielle Hazen, Hazen Law Group

This free presentation will focus on how special needs trusts and the ABLE Act can help individuals with special needs save for expenses such as housing, education and retirement, while building positive financial futures.

Sponsored by: The Arc of Dauphin County; Dauphin County Mental Health/Intellectual Disabilities Program; Pennsylvania Developmental Disabilities Council

Location: Giant Community Center, Linglestown Giant Community Room, 2300 Linglestown Road, Harrisburg, PA

Times: 1:00 - 3:00 PM or 6:00 - 8:00 PM

Registration: Please contact Barb Bressler @ 717.920.2727 or by 4:00 PM on Tuesday, October 25.  Indicate the names of all who will be attending and either the 1:00 PM or 6:00 PM session.
November 1, 2016

Respite Center Ground Breaking Ceremony
Hosted by: The Arc of Dauphin County

This ground breaking ceremony will launch the construction and renovation of The Arc's new Respite Center.  Attendees will have a chance to preview the building plans and participate in a guided tour of the facility prior to the renovations beginning.  Lights refreshments and hors d'oeuvres will be served.

Location: The Arc of Dauphin County, Respite Center, 2551 Walnut Street, Harrisburg, PA

Time: 5:00 PM

This event is by invitation only.

Classifieds (continued from left column)
Your place to socialize and enjoy the music is The Arc of Dauphin County.  For nearly a decade we have been offering "First Friday Dances" complete with a DJ spinning your favorite tunes.  $5.00 covers entrance and hot dogs, cookies, soda, etc.
Do you like organization?  We seek energized, "want to make the world a better place" volunteers to help us with our new FOA (Friends of The Arc) program, filing, organizing our many closets of supplies, materials and other assets.  Even one day a month would be wonderful help!  Call Barb Bressler at 717.920.2727.
The "penthouse" level of our Respite Center Building (RCB) is becoming our archives.  This beautiful space has its own independent heating and cooling system, it is very, very quiet on this floor, and you would be working on your own schedule to organize seven years of records.  The Archives will be divided into seven departments, and over time, the Archivist of The Arc will get all seven departments organized and searchable.  The Archivist candidate will need to pass FBI background checks, and other background checks.  Must also be able to lift a "banker's box" of files, and able to climb two flights of stairs to reach the Archives.  This is a very special volunteer opportunity for a very special person, and will remain open until filled.  For more information, contact Craig George at, and specify in the subject line: ARCHIVES.
The Arc of Dauphin County is Hiring!  E-mail Ashley Carter at to find out about any of the following opportunities:
Counselor in the Positive Behavior Support Department.  We would prefer at least a Bachelor's degree.  This opportunity is part time, with potential to grow to full time. LEBANON AREA candidates are especially sought.

Employment Specialist in the Pre-Employment Transition program of our Consumer Programs Department.  Bachelor's degree preferred.
Transition Instructor - seeking four part time persons to work in transition from school to work programs.  
Help support our friends with disabilities through our advocacy, education, consumer programs, cultural and life in the community/inclusion and so much more!  Your gift ensures our non-profit can continue to provide the best services possible.  Our new Respite Center, which will open after the first of the year, will also benefit from your generosity.  Please e-mail Sam Primak at, or call the main switchboard at 717.920.2727.
If you are thinking long term, so are we!  Planning for the future, The Arc of Dauphin County will soon launch a Planned Giving program, which will allow our supporters who own a house or other real estate, who have paid up life insurance policies, or who would like to contribute to a trust or an Arc Endowment, as well as many other planned gift vehicles, to think long term with us.  Did you know without proper planning, the largest benefactor of your estate will be Uncle Sam?  Many planned gifts pass outside of probate from you to your loved ones and other beneficiaries, such as The Arc of Dauphin County.  For a confidential consultation, please e-mail Craig George at or call the main switchboard at 717.920.2727.