Speak Out! Celebration

SPEAK OUT! CELEBRATION is just around the corner.  
Have you registered yet? Do you know about our signature event, "The Speak Out! Celebration"?

"Speak Out!" is our longtime celebration, co-hosted by the Dauphin County Mental Health/Intellectual Disability (MHID) Unit. We have been co-producing Speak Out! for 34 years...quite a partnership, which is worth celebrating, too.

"We, along with The Arc of Dauphin County, champion self advocacy, standing up and speaking out for one's rights and abilities. Nobody should hide their voice. Last year, Mr. George and his crew made a change to Speak Out! They presented two speakers instead of just one, and this year, they have expanded again to three speakers. These individuals tell those who have gathered for a grand luncheon about their lives, and how they have achieved-how they have overcome challenges and succeeded. In doing so, they encourage others, and they help elevate the knowledge of opportunity for achievement throughout the Special Needs community," said Bobbi Segin, Deputy Administrator of Dauphin County's Intellectual Disability and Early Intervention Services.

We caught up with Craig George, President and CEO of The Arc of Dauphin County to ask about the upcoming  Speak Out! Celebration :

Q:   Why is there an explanation mark after the word "Out", that seems an odd place for a pronunciation mark.

Craig:  The idea behind the celebration is people coming together to hear their peers speaking out for themselves, to hear them present their own advocacy. They are self advocates, they are proclaiming achievement in their own lives-often when others doubted they could-they arrived! They achieved! We celebrate that in a subliminal way with the exclamation point after  Speak Out .

Q:  What happens at  Speak Out! Celebration ?

Craig:  Most of our consumers, their families, their aides, friends and colleagues use this as an opportunity to get all dressed up and come to a fine hotel for a wonderful lunch in a beautiful grand ballroom, and to get to hear live chamber music performed by Elizabethtown College during lunch. Following lunch, we will hear from three speakers who tell of their achievements. We then have a dance with a live DJ spinning today's hottest tunes! Those who register can choose from one of four menu choices, they also get a wonderful soup, rolls and butter and of course desert and beverages. A grand day!

Q:   Ms. Segin said there is something new this year, three speakers instead of one or two. Anything else new?

Craig:  Oh, definitely! We have our 44th annual art show on tour right now, and it ends its 2017-2018 tour at the Central Hotel of Harrisburg March 20-25th. Those who come to  Speak Out! will see this show, which has the very powerful title of, "Our Art, Our Voice," and includes over 80 works of art created by those with Special Needs. Of course, one can come see the show at the hotel lobby anytime during the six days it is on display, and the hotel is open 24 hours.

Q:  This sounds very exciting. Where is the hotel and are reservations required for  Speak Out! Celebration ?

Craig:   The hotel is located just off Union Deposit Road on East Park Drive. The address is:  
The Central Hotel & Conference Center | 800 East Park Drive, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, 17111.

Reservations are required. The cost is $18.00 per person, and the telephone number to call for reservations is 717.920.2727. You can pay by credit card, or you can bring or send a check or other payment to: The Arc of Dauphin County, ATTN: Barbara Bressler, 2569 Walnut Street, Harrisburg, PA 17103. If you come by, we are open from 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM, closed from noon to 1:00 o'clock.

SPEAK OUT! CELEBRATION brought to you by: 


Craig's Corner
A Message from our President and CEO

This is going to be a story about wild and/or colorful socks.  But first, some quick updates you should know about!

Our traveling art show, Our Art, Our Voice is wrapping up nearly 150 days of being on tour; it is just about complete for the season. Our Speak Out! Celebration is coming up fast. Please be sure you are registered to attend. Another story in this newsletter gives you all the information.

The last two big public events for the year are our participation in the Highmark Walk for a Healthy Community on May 19th at HAAC in Harrisburg.  There is another story in this newsletter about the Walk, and we are hoping to see all our friends there.  You can also help us by participating from the comfort of your own home-become a VIRTUAL WALKER!  Read all about that in our story, "Walk the Highmark Walk for a Healthy Community!"

Mark your calendars now for SEPTEMBER 17TH for our 3rd Annual Million Dollar Golf Outing. You will have great fun, and companies that participate find it is a terrific morale booster for staff to be out playing together. Other companies find the outing to be beneficial for them as a sponsor-we see our sponsors as partners, working together for each other's causes. There will be much more about our Third Annual Million Dollar Golf Outing in the April issue of ArcNews!

Now, about SOCKS! Elsewhere in this edition is a story about World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD). The idea is
to wear brightly colored socks to symbolize the bright promise and spirits of our friends who happen to have DS. One of our many faithful sponsors in many of our efforts is our good friend Andy Enders. Andy rivals Canada's Prime Minister with his collection of wild and brightly colored socks. Andy, if you are reading this I hereby challenge you to come by the office on March 21st, WDSD, and we'll have a contest to see who has the best socks! Watch this space next month to see if Andy took up the challenge.  

Our New Staff Member!  

We welcome our newest staff member, Mr. John Thompson.   John came to us through our traveling art exhibition, "Our Art, Our Voice."   He helped us load the exhibition into a truck and move it to the new location.   Discovering his background and experience matched what we were looking for to fill a vacancy in our Rep Payee Department, we encouraged him to join the pool of talent interviewing for the position.   "John is a welcome addition to our department;   he immediately picked up on our processes. We believe his positive outlook will be appreciated by our consumers," said Deb Johnson, Rep Payee Supervisor.

Welcome Beth Light, our newest Volunteer!

Ms. Light comes to us from a lifelong career in our field, most recently serving as a special education supervisor in a local school district, and previously she was an education consultant and lead teacher at the Capital Area intermediate Unit's Hilltop Academy.

Beth and our widely-known Advocate, Kathy Gingerich, have been professional colleagues for many, many years. Now that Beth has retired from professional service to the Special Needs community, she was attracted to The Arc and working with Kathy. Beth is helping with telephone and other interactions with families and consumers. "I walked by her office and heard her on the telephone, providing service to a family. She is really on top of all the issues and knows our subject material inside and out," said Craig George, Arc President.

"Beth is a welcome addition to our team, we are so fortunate for her to be here. She brings a wealth of experience. The most important part of all is Beth has in-depth knowledge and the ability to understand our families' and consumers' needs," echoed Kathy Gingerich, Arc Advocate.

Our Arc is served by volunteers in many ways, and in a future edition of ArcNews we will showcase many of our volunteers. Our readers will remember that last month we highlighted Sylvia Mummert, another new volunteer. You, too, can join our volunteers even if you have just an hour a month to help push our mission forward. To be considered for volunteer support, please call Craig George at 717.920.2727.
Exchanging Gifts

Sarah Bender of Modern Woodmen Chapter #364 (Hershey) presents our Director of Outreach with a new flag, which we started flying this month.  S imultaneously our Director of Outreach presents Ms. Bender with a beautiful plaque thanking Modern Woodmen for being one of the major philanthropists who financially supported our Faith Into Action Family Fun Day last summer.

World Down Syndrome Day  

World Down Syndrome Day is Coming!   Get Your Wildest Socks Ready!
March 21 has long been the World Down Syndrome Day. This year, the push is for everyone to wear their wildest socks and to participate in Random Acts of Kindness. "To celebrate bright lives all over the world and to "stand" in solidarity with those wonderful people who also have Down syndrome, we ask that you wear your best wild socks," said Ken Seeger, Director of Consumer Services at The Arc of Dauphin County.
Maureen Cronin, Executive Director of The Arc of Pennsylvania also urges you to do more than just wear wild and bright socks, but to also post pictures. " Please spread the word to encourage everyone to wear their wildest socks, do random acts of kindness and to tweet, post FB and Instagram, pictures using #WDSD #RockYourSocks #MCDISG .  It would be amazing if everyone touched by The Arc wore their socks and everyone was talking about all the great people we know who have Down syndrome. Share this with everyone you can think of! I can't wait to see all the posts!"

National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month

Governor Tom Wolf has issued an official proclamation declaring March as National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month.  This proclamation emphasizes that all people with developmental disabilities are valued members of society who find fulfillment living everyday lives.  

Your Arc of Dauphin County has championed this special month for 35 years through our Speak Out! Celebration, which will be March 25th, Reservation Required at 717.920.2727.  We have also celebrated this month through our art exhibition, "Our Art, Our Voice," which concludes its 159 day tour around the Harrisburg area on the same date.  The proclamation can be viewed online.

More information elsewhere in this issue. 
D.R.E.A.M. Partnership 4th Annual Symposium April 4th

Our friend, Dan Sausman, Developmental Services Director of the Case Management Unit (CMU), located at 1100 South Cameron Street here in Harrisburg (717.441.7036) has announced that the annual D.R.E.A.M. PARTNERSHIP symposium continues to grow as evidenced by The Fourth Annual Post-Secondary Education Symposium- "Open Minds. Create Futures."

The symposium is slated for April 4 - 5, 2018 at a location most readers of The ArcNews know because we are holding both our 44th Annual
Our Art, Our Voice! art show reception and our 34th Annual
Speak Out! Celebration there: The Best Western Premier Hotel and Conference Center just off Union Deposit Road on East Park Drive.

This year's event will offer workshops on current topics relevant to college and secondary education  professionals, transition and support coordinators, parents, students and peer mentors.

Dan tells us, "We are eager to share the information we have learned over the past four years on best practices for program development, tracking outcomes, connecting students to employment, family engagement in post-secondary education, financial planning for college, and how to prepare for a college path.

More details & registration information at the D.R.E.A.M. Partnership website:  www.dreampartnership.org

Registration Deadline: March 31, 2018.

Life, Animated

Life, Animated is a documentary based on the book Life, Animated: A Story of Sidekicks, Heroes, and Autism, written by Ron Suskind.

The book narrates the story of the author's autistic child, Owen, who stopped talking and, eventually, was able to communicate again through the characters and songs of the Disney's movies he loves.

A screening of the documentary followed by a discussion with author Ron Suskind will take place at the Jewish Family Service of Harrisburg ( www.jfsofhbg.org) on April 15 at 6:30 PM.

Address: 3301 N. Front Street, Harrisburg.

The Miller's Minute
Many People with Disabilities Not Taking Advantage of Tax Credit
by Michael Miller, ChSNC

Although millions of people each year earn cash refunds from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) via the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), many others, including many people with disabilities, are not taking advantage of this generous program.

In late January 2018, the IRS issued a  Notice encouraging tax filers with disabilities to apply for the EITC, noting that the tax credit could put a refund of up to $6,318 into an eligible taxpayer's pocket. According to the IRS, many eligible people miss out on the EITC because they fall below the income threshold requiring them to file taxes, even though they can still file taxes and possibly get the credit. Others incorrectly believe that receiving the EITC will jeopardize their eligibility for other government benefits.

The EITC is available to individuals making up to $15,010, a figure that rises based on the person's tax filing status and the number of qualifying children in the person's household. For a married couple filing jointly with three qualifying children, the maximum household income is $53,930. Married couples filing taxes separately, as opposed to jointly, are not eligible for the EITC.

Taxpayers may claim a child with a disability or a relative with a disability of any age to get the credit if the person meets all other EITC requirements. For many EITC recipients, the credit may not only result in paying no taxes, but in receiving a refund from the IRS. The maximum refund for 2017 is $6,318.

To be eligible for the EITC, people must have "earned income." Income from Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or military disability benefits is not considered "earned income," although recipients of these programs may still end up benefiting from the EITC if other people in their household are making "earned income."

On the other hand, income from employer-provided disability benefits is considered "earned income," until the recipient reaches "minimum retirement age," meaning the age the person could have begun receiving a pension or annuity from their former employer.

Refunds received via the EITC are not considered income for the purposes of means-tested government benefit programs, such as Medicaid, SSI, Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, Section 8 housing, or other programs with maximum income limits.

For an IRS estimate of the size of your potential refund from the EITC, click here.

For people needing assistance in filing their taxes, the IRS has a Volunteer Income Assistance Program, which provides free services for certain people making less than $54,000, including people with disabilities and limited English speakers. For the elderly, the IRS has a similar program, known as the Tax Counseling for the Elderly program.

For more from the IRS about the EITC, click here.

Oscar Winners

On March 8 the 2018 Oscar for Best Documentary Short Subject went to
Heaven is a Traffic Jam on the 405. The documentary allows the viewer a window into talented artist Mindy Alper's world.

Alper relates her experience dealing with mental illness with great candor and honesty; she shows how creating art has helped her express herself and navigate her life's ups and downs.  A remarkable documentary about a remarkable woman.

Heaven is a Traffic Jam on the 405 also won awards at the Austin Film Festival, and the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival.

The Silent Child won Best Live-Action Short Film.

The short tells the true story of Libby, a four-year-old girl who is deaf and lives a silent life until a social worker teaches her how to communicate through sign language and opens up her world.

Six-year-old actress Maisie Sly plays Libby, and she too is deaf.

Three Events Sponsored By The Dauphin County Commissioners

Upcoming Events

March 25, 2018

Speak Out! Celebration

The celebration will be held at The Central Hotel/Premier Best Western, 800 East Park Drive on March 25th.  Dinner, Dancing, Special Live Music, and Uplifting Program.  Note the new location!

Time:  Noon - 3:30 P.M.

Tickets:  $18 per person to be paid in advance.  Call Barb at 717.920.2727 or e-mail bbressler@arcofdc.org

March 27 2018

Arc Expression: Express Your Inner Artisan

Hosted by:  The Arc of Dauphin County
Location: The Arc of Dauphin County, 2569 Walnut Street, Harrisburg, PA

Time:  6:30 PM - 7:30 PM

Fee:  Free

Note:  There will be no class on March 20  due to the Art Show Reception.

April 2, 2018

First Friday Dance

Hosted by:  The Arc of Dauphin County
Location: The Arc of Dauphin County, 2569 Walnut Street, Harrisburg, PA
Time:  5:30 PM - 7:30 PM

Fee:   $5  

May 19, 2018

Highmark Walk

Come support The Arc of Dauphin County on the annual Highmark Walk.  You can walk or you can be a "virtual walker".  More details coming soon.

Hosted by: 
HACC, Central Pennsylvania's Community College, 1 HACC Drive, Harrisburg, PA.  
Disabled parking is located in parking lot E-4 on the HACC campus. The activity area for the walk is located in lot E-5. 
Registration: 7:45 AM.  The 5K Walk begins at 9:00 AM. 
The One-Mile Fun Walk begins at 9:15 AM.


Do you like organization?  The Arc of Dauphin County seeks 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 projects.  Even one day a month would be wonderful help!  Call Barb Bressler at 717.920.2727.

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. (free to Charter Members of The Arc of Dauphin County). No reservation required.

The Arc of Dauphin County is Hiring!  E-mail  hr@arcofdc.org to find out about any of the following opportunities:

CONSULTANT in the Positive Behavior Support Department.  A Bachelor's degree and certification/training in ABA techniques are requirements for this full-time temporary opportunity.
RESPITE CARE COUNSELOR - seeking one part-time person to provide support in our Respite program.  

Help support our friends with disabilities through our advocacy, education, consumer programs, 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, now open and operating, will also benefit from your generosity.  Please e-mail Craig George at   cgeorge@arcofdc.org , 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 cgeorge@arcofdc.org or call the main switchboard at 717.920.2727.

Visit us at www.arcofdc.org.