An Interview with Craig George
By Sam Primak

Craig George
This month, we are taking a moment to talk with our new leader, Craig George, Executive Director of The Arc of Dauphin County.  To date, his tenure here has brought new life and direction to our agency, and we have seen a period of new services and expansion of existing services.  Our staff and board know Craig very well, but others may not, so I caught up with him to ask about his background and his vision for our Arc.

SAM: Your career has spanned some impressive organizations.  What three positions stand out most?

CRAIG: One highlight was being part of the Senior Management Team at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of the American Indian in both Washington, DC and New York City.  Two Others: Director of Hershey Gardens and building capital projects and legacy financial programs at Hawk Mountain Sanctuary. 
 
SAM: What did you do before those platinum organizations?

CRAIG: I was the Executive Director of a consortium of tech companies worldwide that worked to build the standards we still use today in CD-ROM technology and ran marketing and sales at the largest television production/post-production facility on the east coast.  There, we launched the Discovery Channel years ago as well as other networks.

SAM: It sounds like, except for the television part, most of your career has been in nonprofits.

CRAIG: Correct.  Although, my wife and I launched five businesses in my native Oklahoma, and we operated those for a decade before I became immersed in nonprofits.

SAM: What sparked your interest to work in human services, especially in the Intellectual and Developmental Disability field?

CRAIG: Those are the threads that have woven themselves throughout my career, and they are the reason I was drawn to The Arc of Dauphin County.  In every position, we have been involved in one way or another with ID/DD/MH.  For example, at Hawk Mountain we created a way for people with disabilities of all kinds to be able to reach the famed "South Lookout."  Working with engineers, architects and conservationists, we crafted an accessible trail, which took over two years to plan and execute.  Upon completion, the first visitor had a dual diagnosis of ID and Autism.  Their family thought this person would never have the opportunity to experience the South Lookout, but they did because of the accessible trail!  We built the nearly million dollar project for our friends with disabilities.  Likewise, from Hershey Gardens to the Smithsonian to everywhere else I have ventured, we have always focused on our community of friends with disabilities.

SAM: The Arc of Dauphin County has launched a number of new projects the past several months.  Where do you see The Arc going in the next few years?

CRAIG: Our Arc has an especially strong asset: The dedicated folks that work hard every day, determined to fulfill our mission.  With this crew, the sky is the limit!  We are growing services that we provide and are launching new ones.  Just this month, we received a grant, which will allow us to launch an entirely new service.  As a provider, we will continually look for ways to provide the very best services to families and individuals.  We will never give up, we have been here since 1953; we jettison ahead full bore, certain we are doing everything we can to help our consumers.

SAM: You have been involved in some big building projects - $219 Million at the Smithsonian, for example.  How about at The Arc?

CRAIG: Our new Respite Center has been in the planning and approval stages for a year; we now have our permits and we are building.  We are most grateful to our friends here in Penbrook Borough, and appreciate that the Borough Manager, Jim Armbruster, and all his staff and the borough council have encouraged us, supported us, and helped us to make our vision a reality.

SAM: I know this is a question people ask you all the time.  When will the new Respite Center open?

CRAIG: Our target is early March.  We are restoring a building constructed in the waning days of the 19th Century, and are working to be respectful of the structure and its history, with an eye to the comfort and care of our consumers whose families are desperate for the Respite Center to open.  All of us - the families, the borough council and professional staff, The Arc Board of Directors and staff, and our builder, Pyramid Construction - eagerly look forward to the final hammer, the final polish and the doors opening to greet our consumers.

SAM: How can our readers support the Respite Center?

CRAIG: They can sponsor a facet of the Respite Center .  Our Respite Center project has two phases.  We are currently in the middle of phase one, which involves the Center's general renovations and construction.  But we still need support to complete phase two of the project, which focuses on interior and exterior needs that will make it possible for us to offer a safe, engaging, relaxing, and welcoming "home away from home" to consumers.  We have applied for government grants that will help us make some of these facets possible, including the creation of an outdoor patio and installation of a new rear entrance door and other interior aspects.  However, I encourage you to check our Website for available Respite Center sponsorships, or give me a call.

SAM: And how can our readers support The Arc in general?
 
CRAIG: Participate in our Campaign for Best Lives.  Our consumers sincerely want the best life possible.  You can help us help them by contributing either through the "Donate Now" button on our Website, or by calling you, Sam, at 717.920.2727. 

SAM: Thanks for taking the time to speak with me.  Craig and his wife, Rosalie, live in Annville and have one son, Michael.
Back 2 School Donations Presented to Penbrook Borough

Members of The Arc of Dauphin County's Super Six program and Aktion Club presented donations to Penbrook Borough's Back 2 School program on December 19, 2016.  Accepting on behalf of Penbrook Borough were borough council members Carmen Gonzalez and Tammy Sweger.
  
Back 2 School is a program that provides school materials to disadvantaged students in elementary, middle and high school.  Since August 2016, members of the Super Six program and Aktion Club
Left to Right: Aktion Club President Sydney Davis, Penbrook Borough Council member Tammy Sweger, Super Six member Michelle Hershey, Penbrook Borough Council member Carmen Gonzalez, The Arc's Joe Martin, Super Six member Kevin Barry, Super Six member Seth Krokonko
collected donations from The Arc's employees, Board of Directors and affiliated groups, such as The Arc's Crocheting Club.  In total, 13 backpacks stuffed with supplies were presented to the Borough.
  
"We truly appreciate the efforts of The Arc, as well as their Super Six members and the Aktion Club. They really came together to help students in need, and we're so happy to have them as champions for the cause," said Penbrook Borough Council member Carmen Gonzalez.
  
In addition to the donated backpacks and school supplies, Aktion Club presented a check to the borough as a contribution to the program.
  
Because of the large response to Back 2 School, The Arc will continue to collect school supplies and donations until the end of July 2017.  Penbrook Borough will then present the materials to students during Penbrook Borough's National Night Out celebration on August 1.
  
School supplies that can be donated include, but are not limited to, book bags, composition books, pens, pencils, folders, rulers, staplers with staples, and paper clips.  For more information on the Back 2 School program and a complete list of accepted donations, please contact Barb Bressler at bbressler@arcofdc.org or call our main switchboard at 717.920.2727.

Computer Skills Training Launched

The Arc of Dauphin County has recently launched its new Computer Skills Training program to individuals throughout the local area.  Stemming from a partnership with the Pennsylvania Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR), The Arc's Computer Skills Training is tailored to meet the needs of each participant. 
 
Specifically, the program begins with an individual skills assessment.  Based on the results of the assessment, The Arc's trainers are able to determine an individual's needs and use that information to develop customized trainings.  The program is designed for individuals who have limited experience with computers, and sessions are provided to small groups at The Arc's Harsco Center in Harrisburg.
 
"Our training provides instruction on the fundamental skills needed to navigate and use computers.  These skills are essential to an individual seeking employment or preparing for higher education.  In many ways, computer usage is a pathway to achieving self-independence," said Ken Seeger, Director of Consumer Programs.  "Of course, we realize that individuals are going to be at different skill levels upon entering our program, so we need to take an individualized approach.  I believe that's what makes this program stand out from many others."
 
The Arc's Computer Skills Training consists of four modules, including the fundamentals of computers and the Windows® operating system, the fundamentals of Microsoft Word®, the fundamentals of Microsoft Excel®, and the fundamentals of internet and email.
 
"All areas of today's workforce require a basic knowledge of technology and computers.  With that in mind, we've developed our curriculum to focus on programs and software commonly used in the workplace.  Our goal is to provide a robust learning experience to all participants and set them up for success," said Seeger.
 
For more information on The Arc's Computer Skills Training, please contact Ken Seeger at kseeger@arcofdc.org or call 717.920.2727.

Save the Date!
The 33rd Annual Speak Out! Celebration

The Arc of Dauphin County will be hosting its 33rd Annual Speak Out! Celebration on Sunday, March 26, 2017 from 12:00 to 3:30 PM at the Sheraton Harrisburg-Hershey Hotel.
  
Offered as a celebration of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, The Arc's Speak Out! event provides the opportunity to recognize the talents, skills and abilities of individuals with disabilities.  It also allows individuals who have found their voice to share that voice with others.
  
Registration will be required, and a cost to attend has yet to be determined.  Information on registration and details on event activities will be shared soon.  Stay tuned!
  
Save the Date!
Highmark Walk for a Healthy Community 2017

The Arc of Dauphin County is once again participating in the Highmark Walk for a Healthy Community presented by Highmark Blue Shield on Saturday, May 20, 2017 at HACC's Harrisburg Campus.
  
The Highmark Walk for a Healthy Community is a fundraiser that benefits local health and human services agencies, such as The Arc of Dauphin County.
  
Highmark Blue Shield underwrites the cost of the walk so that 100 percent of the money raised by walkers goes directly to the 48 participating organizations.
  
This walk is always great fun for all participants.  Mark May 20, 2017 on your calendar, and start gathering friends, family members, neighbors, and co-workers to walk with you to ensure a healthier community.
  
For more information, visit www.walkforahealthycommunity.org.

Special Education Conferences Announced
Information on Dates and Registrations

Click to enlarge
The Arc of Cumberland and Perry Counties, also known as CPARC, has announced its 19th annual "Journey Through Special Education" Conference, which will be held on March 25, 2017 from 8:30 AM to 3:30 PM at The Park Inn in Mechanicsburg, PA.  Parents, special and general education professionals, administrators, paraprofessionals, mental health and intellectual and developmental disabilities staff, therapists, social workers, advocates, and all others interested in the support and education of students with special learning needs are welcome to attend.  Space is limited to the first 250 registrants. For information on how to register and a complete conference
Click to enlarge
schedule, visit http://www.cparc.org/a-journey-through-special-education.

The Pennsylvania Department of Education's Bureau of Special Education has also announced pre-registration for its annual Special Education Conference, which will be held from March 8 through March 10, 2017 at the Hershey Lodge and Convention Center.  This statewide conference offers an opportunity to learn and engage with nationally-recognized presenters, as well as colleagues from across the state, highlighting effective instructional strategies and interventions designed to make an educational difference for all students.  For more information, visit http://www.pattan.net/category/Training/PDE+Annual+Conference.

Upcoming Events

February 3, 2017
  
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
 
 
February 16, 2017
 
Valentine Couples' Dinner and Dance
 
Hosted by:  The Arc of Dauphin County
 
Treat your valentine to dinner, dessert and dancing at The Arc of Dauphin County's Valentine Couples' Dinner and Dance!  Due to limited space, tickets must be purchased in advance on a first come first serve basis.

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

Time:  6:00 - 8:00 PM

Cost:  $18.00 per couple - includes dinner, dessert and drinks


March 26, 2017
 
The 33rd Annual Speak Out! Celebration
 
Hosted by:  The Arc of Dauphin County

Join us as we celebrate Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month and recognize the talents and skills of individuals with disabilities.

Location:  Sheraton Harrisburg-Hershey Hotel, 4650 Lindle Road, Harrisburg, PA

Time:  12:00 - 3:30 PM

Information on registration and cost to attend will be available soon!
 
Classifieds

VOLUNTEERS WANTED
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.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 
ISO: VOLUNTEER TO REFINISH WOODEN FURNITURE
Volunteer to help refinish wooden bedroom furniture for our new Respite Center.  You would be working with Arc staff and spending about a day smoothing out the wooden bed frames and end tables with fine grit sandpaper or steel wool.  Next, after cleaning off sanding dust, we will apply a finish.  If you like working with wood, this is a perfect place to lend a hand for a great cause!  For more information, please contact Ashley Carter by e-mail at acarter@arcofdc.org or call the main switchboard at 717.920.2727. 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
ISO: VOLUNTEER ARCHIVIST
The "penthouse" level of our Respite Center Building (RCB) is becoming our Archive.  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 Archive 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 Archive.  This is a very special volunteer opportunity for a very special person, and will remain open until filled.  For more information, please contact Craig George at cgeorge@arcofdc.org , and specify in the subject line: ARCHIVES.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
DANCE & DINE
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.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
HELP WANTED
The Arc of Dauphin County is Hiring!  E-mail Ashley Carter at acarter@arcofdc.org to find out about any of the following opportunities:
                 
RESPITE CARE COUNSELOR - seeking two part-time persons to provide support in our Respite program.  
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
CAREGIVER'S GROUP FORMING
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 jmartin@arcofdc.org , or call our main switchboard at 717.920.2727.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
DONATIONS      
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, which will open after the first of the year, will also benefit from your generosity.  Please e-mail Sam Primak at sprimak@arcofdc.org , or call the main switchboard at 717.920.2727.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
PLANNED GIVING          
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.