The Campaign for Best Lives
Ready for You Now!

With Giving Tuesday coming up on November 29 and the holidays around the corner, we are entering the season of giving.  We have just launched our annual appeal, also sometimes called "end of year giving" because of the tax incentive to make a contribution to a tax-exempt nonprofit by the end of the taxable year, December 31st.  Our name for the end of year fundraising project is: The Campaign for Best Lives.
You can easily participate in helping to fund The Arc's Advocate and other programs in one of the following ways:


1.  Make a contribution toward our $50,000 goal by sending in a check at any time, or by waiting to receive a letter that will come in the mail, filling out the form, and sending the form back with your check.


2.  Click HERE to access The Campaign for Best Lives fundraising webpage.  If you have trouble accessing the fundraising page through these links, you can also visit our website at and click on the green "DONATE" button for complete access.


3.  Once you reach the Campaign's fundraising webpage, you can do one of three things:


  • Make a one-time direct donation to the Campaign.  If you are interested in making a regular monthly donation to The Arc, please contact Sam Primak by phone at 717.920.2727 or by email at to set up the process.
  • Set up your own personal fundraising page for The Arc.  Here, you can determine how much you would like to raise and have friends and family donate directly to your page.
  • Start or join a fundraising team - this is the most desirable way to "social network."  You set up your own page and create a team, giving your team any name you choose.  You then send out notes to friends, relatives, co-workers, constituents, and say, "Hey, join my team.  My goal is to raise $500 for The Arc of Dauphin County.  Become a team member and then make a contribution of any amount, helping us to get to $500.  Invite your friends, and your friends' friends!  The wider our circle expands, the more fun we will have and the more we will raise for this most worthy of all causes, helping those with special needs this winter season!"  It is very easy to do, and takes about four minutes to set up your team and your own page.  When you visit the Campaign's fundraising page, you will see several teams already established.
All of us working together, either making individual once-a-year donations, ongoing monthly donations or forming a team and getting friends, colleagues and family to join and make contributions of any size - and then having their own friends outside your circle of friends make contributions (this is called "peer to peer" networking), we can predictably raise even more than our conservative goal of $50,000!  The funds raised goes to support Arc programs, particularly the very valuable (to families) Advocacy program.  To learn more about the Advocacy program, contact our Advocate, Kathy Gingerich, by phone at 717.920.2727 or email at .
Craig's Corner
A Message from our Executive Director

Our "Whole" (all of The Arc of Dauphin County) is certainly the sum of all our parts!  In fact, the "whole" is often greater than the sum of all its various parts and programs.  Many people only know of us through one of the programs we provide for them, such as our Representative Payee services, our Positive Behavior Support program, the services of the Advocate who advocates for those with Special Needs, or our new Arc ADVANCE program, which is focused on helping with transition from school to work and from post-graduation to work (also known as pre-employment training).
Still others know of us through our First Friday Dances, our Super Six program of community inclusion, and our civic group, the Aktion Club (a part of Kiwanis, Intl.), as well as our EITC program, which targets training in culinary and horticulture skills, and many other programs including those in Family Driven Support Services.
Every day, our team is working very hard to support our consumers, and nearly every day, we gain new consumers.  We champion achievement, quality of life, and steps forward for all of our consumers.  Many celebrate these achievements at our annual Speak Out luncheon, at our Family Fun Day, and other upcoming celebrations such as a planned art show.  Help support these programs by giving generously to The Campaign for Best Lives, going on now through December 31st, and qualify for end-of-the-year tax deductions - more on this elsewhere in this issue of The Arc of Dauphin County News!
Soon, our new Respite Center will open... hopefully in January or February.  Here is a tip: Be watching for the announcement of our opening celebration!  It will probably be in the springtime once the weather is nice outdoors.  The new facility is a long awaited opportunity for our consumers, so we are going to pull out all the stops for the celebration!  There will be more to come in future months, but be ready to party in the spring to celebrate our new Respite Center, which will have a deluxe living room/home feel and beautiful quarters for our consumers.  We can't wait, and we know many of you can't either!  Be watching in early winter for the announcement of the Center's opening. 

Successful Kickoff!
Respite Center Ground Breaking Held November 1st

Senator Rob Teplitz
Approximately 60 people gathered in the empty shell of the new Respite Center in the early evening of November 1st to witness a new step forward for not only the consumers of services provided by The Arc of Dauphin County, but also to hear from keynote speaker Senator Rob Teplitz, who passionately described how important the Respite Center is to the citizens of Dauphin County.  Teplitz stated that the Respite Center is an idea whose time has definitely come, and that it will be an asset to The Arc's consumers as well as citizens in the five county area.
Teplitz's sentiments were echoed by Carmen Gonzalez, David Deardorff, Peggy Miller, Jim Armbruster, and Robert Myers, all officials of Penbrook Borough.  
Daniel Gibson, Project Manager with Pyramid Construction, the official contractor, said, "Our company manages projects large and small throughout the area, and each construction project is important to our clients and to us.  This project is something else entirely - we know what we are doing here is going to positively impact whole families.  We "get it."  And we are so proud to be a part of what is happening in Penbrook and at The Arc."
Attending the ground breaking were Arc staff (including Respite Center staff) from all departments, Arc board members and volunteers, local leaders and politicians, and dozens of supporters as well as many of the actual consumers that will be spending time in the new Respite Center.  Executives from the county's Case Management Unit, and other county and state officials along with past board members celebrated the ground breaking along with former Executive Director Susan Harwood under whose watch the Respite Center move was launched.
" The Respite Center is becoming something very special in Penbrook," said Executive Director Craig George.  "It is proving to be a nexus that brings people together including leaders from both sides of the aisle, our consumer base, and all of those marvelous people
Consumer Anthony McKinnon breaking "ground"
who make up our dedicated staff, board and volunteers.  One community, one big vision.  It hasn't been an easy road completely, but to paraphrase Winston Churchill, kites don't fly with the wind, they rise up and fly high against the wind."
A highlight of the ground breaking was when Senator Teplitz gave consumer Anthony McKinnon a golden sledge hammer with instructions to start demolition by breaking into a wall.  Anthony certainly followed the Senator's instructions - with his golden five pound hammer, he immediately tore a 10-inch hole in the wall with a short staccato burst of five or six blasts of the hammer.  With that solid force, demolition began - Pyramid Construction was in the building the next morning, tearing the space completely out to the exterior walls.  They will soon begin rebuilding an entirely new environment.  The evening was best summed up by Penbrook Borough Manager Jim Armbruster, who said, "This is something we have needed here for a long, long time.

Consumer Alert
Proposed Regulations from The Office of Developmental Programs

The Office of Developmental Programs has issued bulletin #00-16-07 titled, "Proposed Regulations-Home and Community Based Support and Licensing."
The proposal answers the need to continue the Commonwealth's eligibility for Federal financial participation in Home and Community Based Services waiver programs.  The objective of the new rules, which are intended to protect the health, safety and well-being of individuals receiving supports, is to: (a) Streamline language in the rule documents, (b) Streamline the entire process, (c) Reduce the volume of regulation, and (d) Incorporate best practices language and principles throughout the guidelines.
The proposed set of rules is intended to support individuals with a disability or autism, enabling them to live and participate fully in their community, and to help them to achieve greater independence and to enjoy a full range of opportunities.
The amendments that are proposed include a number of features, some of which are the inclusion of base funding, provisions for individuals with autism, staff training, expansion of individual rights, use of positive interventions, and more.
To read the full set of proposed regulatory amendments, please click here.
Consumer Alert
The Pennsylvania Waiting List Campaign

The Pennsylvania Waiting List Campaign is asking for assistance.  This fiscal year, there is no funding for people with intellectual disabilities in the Commonwealth, in regard to the waiting list, and the Campaign is asking parents and caregivers to contact their local news media to tell their stories and concerns about not receiving funding for their family members.  Personal stories are powerful and need to be told.  Contact if you need assistance or have any questions.  Visit for more information.

Breakfast with Santa
Local business partnering with The Arc to deliver Christmas cheer

The Arc of Dauphin County will be partnering with the Colonial Lounge Bar and Grill to sponsor a Breakfast with Santa on Saturday, December 3, 2016.  The partnership stemmed from a simple call to Craig George, The Arc's Executive Director.  "The Colonial Lounge reached out, and they wanted to plan a special holiday event for our consumers.  They are extremely supportive of the intellectual disabilities community, and we truly appreciate their efforts," said George.
Originally, the idea for the event was conceived by Bo Vires, who is a professional Santa.  Vires then approached his friend Ian Price, the owner of Colonial Lounge and discussed partnering with a local non-profit that provides services to individuals with special needs.  That is when they decided to contact The Arc of Dauphin County as a partner and co-sponsor.  The event, which will be held at the Colonial Lounge from 9 AM to 12 PM, includes free breakfast for those who register.  Consumers in attendance will also receive gifts that are donated directly by the Colonial Lounge.  Of course, the event would not be complete without a visit from Santa, Mrs. Claus and their friendly elf!  Vires and his wife will dress as Santa and Mrs. Claus, respectively, and their passion for helping those with special needs is apparent.
"My wife and I have two special needs children in our extended family.  We have watched them over the years and find that many people ignore those with special needs because of their circumstances and disabilities.  We love to see the light in their eyes when they meet Santa and receive an unexpected gift," said Vires.
"For Mr. Vires and the Colonial Lounge to donate their time, facility, food, and gifts is absolutely amazing," said Sam Primak, Director of Advancement.  "This is an event that will make many people happy, and I think it is important for us to recognize their efforts.  We hope to partner again in the years to come."
For more information on the Breakfast with Santa event and registration, please click here .

Long Awaited Project Underway
All new Respite Center is coming soon!

The Sertoma Center, formerly known as Camp Sertoma, is being moved to a much more accessible location for our consumer friends.  We expect an early winter opening.  In order to move the Respite Center, we are "gutting" the entire first floor of our building located at 2551 Walnut Street, across from our main building, The Harsco Center.
The Arc's Respite Center on Walnut Street
"We appreciate all our loyal supporters being so patient with us as we made the move and went through the process of getting engineering and architectural drawings approved, electrical diagrams endorsed by inspectors, and many other details required for a commercial building in a city," said The Arc of Dauphin County's First Vice Chair Vincent Pinizzotto.
"The process to completely restore and repurpose a building is time consuming, and hundreds upon hundreds of details must be worked out in advance before the first hammer can be swung.  Our board knows that we have consumers throughout Dauphin, Cumberland, Lebanon, Perry, and York Counties urgently wanting the Respite Center to open soon, and to them I can say for certain we are working very hard to move the process along as rapidly as possible," explained Brett Webber, The Arc's Board member on the Lands & Facilities Committee.
After removing all interior components of the first floor, Pyramid Construction, The Arc's contractor, will begin to construct an entirely new environment, one specifically designed with our consumers in mind.  "The entire facility will be ADA-compliant and it will be lovely to see and experience.  The atmosphere will be one of warmth, coziness and a feeling of being at home.  It will be a space that everyone will want to visit.  I know the Respite Center staff are chomping at the bit to be in the building and welcoming consumers.  We can't wait!" exclaimed Jan Lewis, Chairman of The Arc of Dauphin County's Board of Directors.
At this point, the expected opening date will be late January or early February.  Watch for the announcement of the opening date for the new Respite Center.  The official announcement will be made in the December or January issue of The Arc of Dauphin County News.

Presentations on Special Needs Trusts and ABLE Act Attract Large Audiences

On October 27, The Arc of Dauphin County partnered with the Dauphin County Case Management Unit and the Dauphin County Mental Health and Intellectual Disabilities Program to sponsor presentations on Special Needs Trusts and the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act.  Amy Dolan Strano and Michelle Sipple from the ACHIEVA Family Trust joined Marielle Hazen from the Hazen Law Group to discuss how individuals with special needs and their families can utilize resources to help build stable financial futures.
The presentation, held at the Giant Community Center on Linglestown Road, was offered twice throughout the day.  A total of 83 people attended the presentations.  "We could not have been happier with the turnout for these seminars.  Many families and consumers have questions about planning for the future, and I think this helped to provide some answers," said Craig George, Executive Director of The Arc of Dauphin County.
The ABLE Act, which became law on December 19, 2014, created an additional option for people with disabilities and their families to save money while still remaining eligible for vital government benefits.  ABLE accounts are not yet available in Pennsylvania, but accounts are expected to be accepted soon.  In the meantime, agencies are utilizing resources to inform and educate consumers and their families on the new law.
"The ABLE Act has great potential to impact our consumers positively, so we felt it was our duty to have ACHIEVA Family Trust and Hazen Law Group visit and provide their expertise and knowledge of the Act and Special Needs Trusts," added George.
Although turnout for the presentations was high, many have asked for additional seminars on the topic.  "We're currently looking at offering the presentation again in the very near future," said George.

Super Six and Aktion Club Create Holiday Wish Lists

The Arc of Dauphin County is seeking donors to purchase gifts for individuals participating in our Super Six program and the Aktion Club.  They have selected one item as their gift of choice, and they have all been compiled on the list below.  Interested donors can also access this list by calling The Arc at 717.920.2727 or visiting 2569 Walnut Street, Harrisburg, PA 17103.  As donors pick gifts, they must inform The Arc of their decisions so that the item can be removed from the list.  All donors must return the gifts by 4:00 PM on Friday, December 16, 2016.  We ask that all returned gifts be new and wrapped.  The Arc will also accept monetary donations to purchase gifts.

Super Six and Aktion Club Holiday Wish List

- Art supplies
- iTunes gift card ($20 maximum; $15 minimum)
- Michael Bubl é or Harry Connick Jr. CD
- Gift certificate to a restaurant ($20 maximum; $15 minimum)
- Comedy Movie (DVD)
- Applebee's gift card ($20 maximum; $15 minimum)
- Matching scarf, hat and gloves
- Finding Dory (DVD)
- Philadelphia Eagles shirt
- Coloring books with markers or crayons
For more information, please contact Barbara Bressler at or Sam Primak at  If you would like to learn more about our Super Six program or Aktion Club, please contact Gay Bowman at or Joe Martin at .

New and Renewed
New and returning faces at The Arc!

Left to Right: Heather Brinser and Tekerra Chandler
he Arc of Dauphin County is happy to announce new and returning staff:

Tekerra Chandler, formerly with The Arc of Dauphin County, is "welcomed back into the fold".  Tekerra will return to her former department, Positive Behavioral Support, as a Positive Behavior Support Consultant.
The Arc is also happy to welcome Heather Brinser as its newest staff member.  Heather will also be working as a Positive Behavior Support Consultant with the Positive Behavior Support department.  In addition, she will be working as a Transition Instructor in our Arc ADVANCE program.

Upcoming Events

December 2, 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

December 3, 2016

Breakfast with Santa

Sponsored by:  The Arc of Dauphin County; Colonial Lounge Bar and Grill

Join Santa, Mrs. Claus and their friendly elf for a morning of Christmas cheer and spirit!  Food and refreshments will be available for all attendees, and gifts will be provided to The Arc's wonderful consumers!  The event is free, but registration is required.

Location:  Colonial Lounge Bar and Grill, 580 North Mountain Road, Harrisburg, PA

Time:  9:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Registration:  Please contact Barb Bressler @ 717.920.2727 or by 4:00 PM on Wednesday, November 30.  Space is limited to the first 50 registrations. 

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