Issue 2
October 2016
Your Gift can make a Big Difference in the Life of Someone like Gracie.

Gracie's parents turned to The Arc of Dauphin County when she was only a few weeks old.

Thanks to people like you, The Arc was there to support Gracie's family.  We supported them through our Advocate program, which helps families find answers.  The Arc's Advocate stays with the child throughout their lifetime, well into adult hood, helping their family ensure the very Best Life for them.

Support from The Arc is helping Gracie live up to her full potential.  Now, she's taking school by storm!  Later, our Arc ADVANCE program will help her to have skills to land a competitive job after high school.

Will you give to The Campaign for Best Lives, a campaign that supports The Arc's work to improve lives for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities through our Advocacy Services?

The Arc's Campaign For Best Lives continues through December 31st for 2016 tax deductions.

You can give right now by clicking here or send your contribution to: The Campaign for Best Lives, The Arc of Dauphin County, 2569 Walnut Street, Harrisburg, PA 17103.

You know, when giving to The Arc of Dauphin County, that your gift to the Campaign makes "all the difference in the world" for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families.
In This Issue
Craig's Corner
A Message from our Executive Director

You are going on a trip!  Or, at least let's pretend you are.  Your friends have been raving about Italy.  The food!  The architecture!  The people!  The weather!  You can't get there quickly enough.  You and your companion have studied every brochure, read every Web page and signed up for the most exciting tours.  The big day comes, you are so prepared.  You have done "everything" to get ready.  The plane lands...but not in Italy.  Instead, the Netherlands!  Ouch!  Where is the pizza?  Where is the Italian Renaissance Art?  Where are the Italian landscapes and architecture? the Netherlands you do have the Dutch Master painters and you can enjoy spectacular flowers.  You have the best of everything....just not what you were prepared for. 
So it is with parents of a newborn who have done "everything" to be ready for the big day, but are surprised when their child is not what they planned.  Still wonderful in every new way the parents look at them, and they find an inner beauty in their child's Down syndrome or their Autistic expression.  But, to give them the Best Life possible, what do they do?  Where do they go?  How do they find out about special services?  Looking online helps, but the returns are massive and not pinpointed to specific neighborhoods, communities or county services.  The Web search produces a phalanx of possibilities, yet none know the child personally or understand the situation. forward to school.  Parents see their child falling behind and know they need help.  Around 3rd or 4th grade, children are not learning to read as much as they are reading to learn.  And the child does not have the fundamental academic skills needed to do that.  If the child is not making progress before this pivotal time, the parents and the school need to work together to identify the supports the child needs.
Parents turn to The Arc of Dauphin County, and through our Advocate, Kathy Gingerich, they learn about services available to give their child the Best Life.  They have, in Kathy, an advocate that goes to the school with them and helps them to understand the complicated special education process.  The school, Kathy and the parents can work as a team for the Best Life possible for the child.  Kathy works to advocate for individuals of all ages, including mature and aging adults.
We are on the cusp of the most important time in The Arc of Dauphin County's 12 month operational cycle...The Campaign for Best Lives!  The Campaign is our effort to raise funding from individuals, corporations and foundations in our community who want to help support the work of The Arc of Dauphin County, especially the part of The Arc that every day sends our Advocate out into the homes and offices of parents who have had a child with intellectual or developmental disparities.  Our Advocate works with children, teens and adults to help them find the services they need to navigate state and county services as well as other opportunities for them to have the very Best Life.
We ask you to please support our Advocate's work.  Unfortunately, there are no state or county funds to pay for our Advocate, and we do not charge those receiving assistance from our Advocate.  Thanks to The United Way and your donations, we can keep our wonderful Advocate, Kathy Gingerich, engaged at The Arc.  This is vital work.  It is critical.  It is hard to imagine how many lives are counting on you to help them to achieve their highest potential and to have a Best Life, so please make a generous consideration to The Arc of Dauphin County when planning your year-end giving. 
Now is your opportunity to support The Campaign for Best Lives.  Please help us to achieve our goal of support for all The Arc's programs plus special support for our Advocacy Program: $50,000 by December 31st.  All who contribute to The Campaign for Best Lives know they have made a difference.
Be part of the foundation of our Arc Advocate Services.  You can give right now by clicking here.  Other ways to participate in The Campaign for Best Lives appear elsewhere in this newsletter.
Thank you for supporting YOUR Arc of Dauphin County.

Left to Right: Hoops 4 Hoops Founder Shymar McBride and The Arc of Dauphin County's Joe Martin.
The Arc Recognized by Local Non-Profit

The Arc of Dauphin County and staff member Joe Martin were each presented with an appreciation award by Hoops 4 Hoops at a ceremony held on October 1 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Harrisburg.

Hoops 4 Hoops is a non-profit that serves troubled males in Harrisburg between the ages of 18 to 25 and brings positivity to the community through recreational activities.  The non-profit was developed by Shymar McBride, a former Arc consumer, to address the increase in crime throughout the city by developing programs and events that encourage productive thinking and actions.  Hoops 4 Hoops reaches out to the most troubled individuals, giving them the ability to make sound decisions and become productive members of society.  Activities offered include basketball teams used as constructive outlets, fundraisers that involve interacting with others from the community, tournaments that bring individuals together through interaction, and REAL TALK, which is a one-on-one talking session where men can discuss their problems.
Joe and The Arc were recognized for their outstanding commitment and contributions to the community.  "Seeing what Shymar has done to help others is absolutely amazing," said Martin.  "Hoops 4 Hoops is a valuable asset to this community, and it's truly a great honor to receive this award from them."
"It's not every day that non-profits receive recognition for what they do.  That's what makes this award so meaningful," said Sam Primak, Director of Advancement.  "It's great to see the positive impact that we've had on Shymar and the impact that Hoops 4 Hoops is now having on the community.  We're very proud of the work he's doing for the city of Harrisburg."
For more information on Hoops 4 Hoops, visit .
Eleanor Elkin
100 Years for a Great Woman, Mother, Advocate, and Friend
Contributed by Kenneth Oakes - President, The Arc of Pennsylvania

As you know, Pennsylvania and leaders of The Arc of PA (PARC) in the first decades of the founding of the organization played a tremendous role in changing the lives of men, women, children, and their families all across the nation.  

Because PARC sued the state to close Pennhurst, countless people across the nation now live in their own community and institutions are closed for good in many states.  Today, for nearly everyone, the option of institutionalization is not even a part of the discussion.  

When PARC later filed a class action to ensure that children with intellectual disabilities would no longer be barred from public education, we soon had federal legislation that made that guarantee for millions of children with disabilities.
These advocacy actions were not easy.  The leaders of that time were taking on a society, government and communities that did not understand or even care about the needs of people with intellectual disabilities and their families that believed there had to be a better way.

One of those great leaders is Eleanor Elkin.  She and her husband adopted a baby boy with disabilities and loved him so much that it did not just change their lives, but instead the world they lived in.  

Eleanor is celebrating her 100th birthday.  She began her journey with The Arc as an advocate more than 60 years ago, organizing a local chapter in Bucks County, helping to establish and grow the state chapter as president, and soon as the national president of a very young organization now known as The Arc. 
E leanor has remained active all these years and never did it for thanks or praise.  She did it for Richard and all the Richards across the United States and around the world.
Now, we thought it would be nice to help her celebrate her 100th and thank her for all she has done for us.  PARC's Executive Director, Maureen Cronin, and I thought it would be nice to have folks send her a birthday card.  There is going to be a small gathering for her in early November, and we thought we would take your cards to her at that time.

So, please forward your cards and notes by November 1 to:
The Arc of Pennsylvania
Suite 403
301 Chestnut St. 
Harrisburg, PA 17101 
You can address them to Eleanor Elkin.  Maureen and I will deliver your cards to her when we see her in November.  I thank you in advance for doing this.  It is a great way to thank a great person.
Photo Source:

Election 2016
Get Out and Vote!

The deadline for voter registration has come and gone, but now is the time to focus on getting voters out to the polls on Election Day, especially those with disabilities.  There are over 35 million individuals with disabilities eligible to vote in November, and it is essential that they be provided with the resources and information to cast their votes.  The Arc of Dauphin County has included a guide for voters with disabilities in this issue of The Arc of Dauphin County News.
Pennsylvania's Voter ID Law
Voters voting for the first time at a precinct must present a form of identification.  Acceptable forms of identification include a driver's license, United States passport, military ID, student ID, or an ID issued by the United States government.  A full list of accepted forms of identification can be found at
Finding Your Polling Place
If an individual registered as a voter in Pennsylvania, their specific polling place will be included on confirmation issued by the County Voter Registration Office.  Polling places can also be located online at  This site will also show if the location is designated as accessible or not.  The local County Board of Elections can be contacted for additional information on accessibility.  In addition, a Google search of "where to vote" will display a polling place location finder, and a search of "who's on my ballot" will display information on every candidate from President to County Commissioner in the state.  Polls are open from 7:00 AM to 8:00 PM. 
Assistance at the Polling Place
All individuals with disabilities have the right to bring any person of their choice to assist in the actual voting process.  However, this person cannot be a Judge of Elections, union representative or employer.  If an individual with a disability does not have someone with them and still needs assistance, they can ask for assistance from a poll worker or another voter.  However, it is important to note that anyone needing assistance must sign an Assistance Declaration, which can be found at
Alternative Ballots
If voters with disabilities are assigned to inaccessible polling places, they are eligible to cast an Alternative Ballot, but the deadline to file an application for this ballot is Tuesday, November 1, 2016.  However, if a voter did not know that their polling place was inaccessible or had a good reason for not being able to file by the deadline, they are able to file an Emergency Application for an Alternative Ballot, which may be filed as late as 8:00 PM on Election Day.  Information on Alternative Ballots and Emergency Applications for Alternative Ballots can be found at
Everyone has the right to vote and all votes make a difference.  Remember - Election Day is Tuesday, November 8.  Happy voting!
Arc ADVANCE Launches!

The Arc of Dauphin County has launched the first classes of its Arc ADVANCE Pre-Employment Transition Services (P.E.T.S.) to three school districts in Dauphin and Cumberland Counties, including East Pennsboro Area School District, Harrisburg School District and Steelton-Highspire School District.  Susquehanna Township School District will be joining the other districts in participating in Arc ADVANCE with classes scheduled to begin in late October.  Currently, 57 students from the participating school districts are engaged in learning about self-advocacy and awareness.
 "The Arc's P.E.T.S. program affords exciting opportunities for students with a disability to achieve successful transition.  It is a win-win for school districts and students alike.  We're very excited to have this program officially up and running," said Ken Seeger, Director of Consumer Programs.
The Arc continues to search for additional school districts that may be interested in establishing a partnership to deliver this service.  There is no charge to school districts for Arc ADVANCE.  The curriculum is endorsed and approved by the Pennsylvania Office of Vocational Rehabilitation.  For more information on Arc ADVANCE, please contact Ken Seeger at , or call 717.920.2727.
Left to Right: Steve and Dotti Seitz
Instilling Positive Attitudes
Puppet Program Educates Students on Disabilities and Bullying

With the 2016-2017 school year well under way, many elementary school teachers, counselors and principals are searching for ways to educate their students on disabilities and bullying.
For the third consecutive year, The Arc of Dauphin County is partnering with The Puppet and Story Works in Harrisburg to deliver The Kids on the Block program, which is a series of puppet shows that are designed to teach school-age children about disabilities and what it is like to have a disability as some of their peers may have.  The presentations are performed in a lively and entertaining manner and the educational curricula help to create positive attitudinal and behavioral change for present and future generations.
Three specific Kids on the Block presentations are being offered to elementary schools throughout Dauphin County: Disability Awareness, Autism Awareness and Bullying & School Safety.  The Disability Awareness presentation teaches children that kids with disabilities, though they may seem different, are just regular kids, while the Autism Awareness presentation covers specific issues, such as behavior modification and reinforcement, temper tantrums, working on inappropriate behaviors, myths and misconceptions about autism, and employment possibilities and independent living for a person who has autism.  The Bullying & School Safety presentation explains what bullying is, demonstrates different ways to solve bullying problems and help someone who is being bullied in ways that are safe for them, helps kids to talk about their feelings and unjust situations, and encourages kids to be secure and confident in what they believe is right and wrong and to reject bullying behaviors.
The Puppet and Story Works was founded in 2007 by Dotti and Steve Seitz, and they have collaborated with The Arc to deliver Kids on the Block since 2014.
"We've found that through these shows, students are helping their differently-abled peers become even more successful both in and out of school while expanding their own sensitivity to people different than themselves," said Dotti.  "Our goal is to instill positive attitudes in all students."
"Over the last few years, thousands of students have learned from these presentations, and we are hopeful that many more students will participate this year," Steve added.
Dotti and Steve are currently scheduling presentations for the 2016-2017 school year.  All presentations are offered to schools at no cost.  For more information or to schedule a presentation, please call The Puppet and Story Works at 717.233.3787 or email them at
Upcoming Events

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; Case Management Unit; Dauphin County Mental Health/Intellectual Disabilities Program
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 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
The Arc of Dauphin County will launch the construction phase of the New Respite Center, which is expected to open at the end of January 2017.
November 4, 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

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.
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.
The Arc of Dauphin County is Hiring!  E-mail Ashley Carter at to find out about any of the following opportunities:
CONSULTANT 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.  
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.
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.
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