This Month's Feature Story:

Tremendous News!  Respite Camp is Open! 

Guests on the opening day of the new Respite Camp Center
The journey from the old "Dauphin Deposit" bank building (an architectural "gem" in the Penbrook neighborhood, noted for its triple [handmade] thick brick walls and mansard roof) to The Arc of Dauphin County's new Respite Camp Center on the bank's first floor is now complete.  The long-awaited Respite Camp Center has finally opened to rave reviews from parents and supporters.  The successful conversion from bank to Respite Camp required:

Years of planning, architects and engineers laboring away, c onstruction crews and specialists required to dismantle heavy radiators, piping, miles of outdated electrical, alarm and communications cabling and the removal of unsafe (by today's standards) building materials as well as the ultimate effort: t he disassembly and removal of a 12-ton vault door.

Throughout the process, crews discovered a hand-dug well, of unusual structural techniques, and even a hidden (by old remodeling) arched doorway in a building constructed at the turn of the 19th century.

A bedroom in the new Respite Camp Center
We built out a brand new kitchen, new laundry room, three new bathrooms, and a shower room and bedrooms where once upon a time loans were made to families anxious to buy their first home...

...where nervous teenagers received their first auto-loan to "get their wheels" and to "save for college"...

...where savings accounts were once created to ensure dreams for the future and where grandma's will and Aunt Clara's diamond necklace were stored in safe deposit boxes where concerned bank officers helped families through hard times and bank tellers adroitly counted out currency and collected deposits from those employed in the area's factories, mills, farms, and businesses...

...where the highs and lows of Harrisburg's economy rose and fell with the times...

...a new venture with a positive "vibe" has quietly taken place.  The old bank has undergone a metamorphosis. As a butterfly struggles out of its chrysalis, so has the Respite Camp Center been born out of a long ago vacated banking enterprise.

A guest relaxes in the Respite Camp Center's Conversation Nook
Friday, March 24th marked the first overnight weekend respite that the agency has provided in almost 10 months.  Craig George, President and CEO of The Arc of Dauphin County, said in a news release last week that Respite is a program that many consumers and families were eager to see resumed.
"The emotional and physical demands of caring for a family member with intellectual and developmental disabilities can often become overwhelming," he was quoted as saying.  "Our Respite program helps to alleviate some of those demands by providing persons with disabilities different opportunities to experience a variety of supportive and supervised activities over a two-day period.  At the same time, this gives their families and caregivers a much-needed break," said Mr. George.
Ken Seeger, Director of Consumer Programs, said the long running Respite program initially had to be suspended until the new center was finished.  "This was a project that we wanted to perfect, and our goal was to create a safe, inviting, relaxing, and engaging atmosphere that allowed for greater integration into the community," he said.  "I think all families will find that it was worth the wait."
As soon as the new schedule for overnight weekend respite was released, families and caregivers immediately began booking sessions.  "We're booked every weekend through June," Seeger said.
Recognizing the need for a larger presence within the Harrisburg area community, our Arc decided to relocate Respite operations to our campus in Penbrook Borough, becoming more accessible to those who need The Arc's Respite services.  The bank building was filled with banking history, some of which The Arc donated to The Penbrook Historical Society.  "We found everything from old coin wrappers to instruction manuals for 1950's era commercial burglar alarms to emergency air ventilation systems in the bank vaults," noted Matthew George, Director of Lands and Facilities.
Jan Lewis, Chairman of the Board of Directors of The Arc of Dauphin County, noted that she was thrilled with the community's response to the new facility: "Many of our supporters have responded to our request for outfitting the Respite Camp Center, which has included a number of donated items ranging from sheets and blankets to televisions and DVD players to cash donations.  Boscov's Department Store donated all the mattresses and box springs and bed frames needed to fill the center's bedrooms*," she explained.
"Our center is designed to create a warm,
The Respite Camp Center's Great Room
'homey' feeling.  It is far from sterile and cold and especially is not "institutional" in any way.  We were very fortunate to have an interior designer with decades of big project experience donate not only her time and expertise but also materials and labor," Lewis declared.  She further explained that every color choice on the walls, ceilings, doors, and cabinets were predicated by the space's intended use, and feature calming Arts & Crafts era hues and tones.  Even the direction of floor planks and the orientation of columns were considered in creating the overall "gentle motion" of the space, she said.
"We want our consumers to enjoy coming here and to be anxious to get to come back.  As much as this is a respite for the families, this is also a mini-adventure in an inspiring and cozy environment and in a location that allows for ready inclusion out into the community," said Joe Martin, the Respite Program Manager.
Sponsorship opportunities still exist.  "We have naming opportunities throughout the space.  Sponsorships underwrite our investment in the community," said Sam Primak, Director of Advancement.  Anyone interested should contact Sam at 717.920.2727.  An updated list for specific items needed for donation (gently used is wonderful) can be found by clicking here.
  A grand opening is expected to be held later this spring.
*For the full story on the Boscov's donation, please see the February 2017 edition of The Arc of Dauphin County News.

Craig's Corner
A Message from our President and CEO

This past weekend was a high point in the life of The Arc of Dauphin County.  On Friday, March 24th, our long awaited Respite Camp Center Building re-opened in a new location on Walnut Street in Harrisburg.  We had a "full house!"  Then, during the same weekend, on Sunday, March 26th, we held our 33rd Speak Out! Celebration with nearly 75 people coming out to celebrate the knowledge, skills, experience, abilities, and talents of our consumers.  Be sure to see stories (with photos) about both events elsewhere in this newsletter.

The Arc of Dauphin County News is becoming our primary way to get information out to the community.  Do you know someone who should be receiving The Arc of Dauphin County News?  We can send it either by email or by hard copy, mailed through the U.S. Post Office.  If you are interested, please contact Sam Primak by phone at 717.920.2727, or send him an e-mail at .  You can also drop a note to him in the mail: 2569 Walnut Street, Harrisburg, PA 17103.  Subscriptions are free.

STATE NEWS (two items):

1. The proposed statewide budget is the most "disability friendly" budget in many, many years.  Please let your state congressmen know we are all appreciative, and urge them to keep on working to fund programs and reduce the waiting list.  

2. Big news!  Our readers are among the first to know that the PA ABLE Savings Program will launch on April 3, 2017.

You can come to the celebration event at the State Capitol!  To mark the opening of ABLE, the PA Treasury is planning a launch event in the Capitol Rotunda on Monday, April 3, 2017 at 12:30 PM.  Treasurer Joe Torsella, U.S. Senator Robert Casey and PA Senator Lisa Baker will be on hand as ABLE officially opens for business.  If you are interested in attending this important event, please send an e-mail to .

Would you like to share a story with PA Treasurer Joe Torsella, telling him what it means to your family and how you will benefit from an ABLE Account?  Please send your story to the same e-mail address (  He may even use your story in his remarks!

If you are on social media, you can follow PA ABLE Account news at either of these hastags: #PAABLE or #ArcofDauphinCounty.

My last comment about ABLE: Our readers may recall we had a large "lunch & learn" about the ABLE Act back in October at the Giant Community Center on Linglestown Road.  We are considering a second "go around" and may schedule another program sometime this spring or summer.  If you would like for us to put on another ABLE conference with experts in setting up accounts through the ABLE Act, please contact Sam Primak.  His contact info is in the second paragraph of this article.

FEDERAL NEWS (one item):

As most of you know, our consumers are critically dependent upon Medicare, Medicaid and other Federal programs, which were in jeopardy of being cut.  The good news is that for now, they are "safe."  Please continue to keep up the conversation with your Federal Congressmen and let them know how critical these programs are, and how thankful we are they have not been cut.  Here is the announcement that The Arc of the United States issued Friday evening, March 24th:

"THANK YOU! Thousands of members of The Arc called, emailed, visited their members of Congress, and shared their stories about the importance of the ACA and Medicaid in the lives of people with disabilities and their families - and it worked!

Speaker Paul Ryan just announced that the House of Representatives will not be voting on the American Health Care Act, which would have had devastating impacts.  Because of your efforts, Medicaid and the ACA, which provide essential supports and services, have been protected."
Speak Out! 2017
A Celebration of Achievements

The Pennsylvania Ballroom at the Sheraton Harrisburg-Hershey Hotel was filled with excitement and inspiration on Sunday, March 26 as The Arc of Dauphin County
Guests at the 33rd Annual Speak Out! Celebration
held its 33rd Annual Speak Out! Celebration in observance of National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month.
Light music, provided by the Moutarde au Miel Trio from Elizabethtown College, set the mood as guests made their way into the room and to their tables.  After a three-course luncheon, the program began with an enthusiastic introduction by Craig George, President and CEO of The Arc of Dauphin County.  He spoke about a number of upcoming events being organized by Dauphin County's Arc and shared a brief presentation on the official opening of the all new Respite Camp Center, which you can read more about in this issue of The Arc of Dauphin County News.  To increase the room's celebratory spirit, he then had the audience shout "Speak Out and Celebrate" at the top of their lungs, and it was certainly loud enough to be heard by all hotel guests.
David Farner
The Speak Out! Celebration also recognized the talents, skills and abilities of two very special speakers, David Farner and Shymar McBride.  David spoke about his experiences traveling, as well as his many passions and hobbies, while Shymar spoke about his experiences as an inner city youth and described founding Hoops 4 Hoops, a nonprofit basketball league that helps troubled individuals stay on the right path.  Both presentations were met with thunderous applause, and it was clear to see the level of inspiration was high.  George presented each speaker with a certificate of appreciation, and to finish off the program, he announced that the Dauphin County Commissioners issued a proclamation designating March 26, 2017 as the county's official Speak Out Day. 
The program was then followed by two straight hours of music and dancing, courtesy of J&D Mobile Music.
Prior to the event, attendance had been ratcheted up, with over 70
Shymar McBride
registering.  "We were very happy with this year's turnout, and we truly appreciate our speakers' willingness to share their stories and experiences with others," said Sam Primak, Director of Advancement.  "It's quite an inspirational celebration, and I know that our consumers look forward to it every year."
While this year's celebration was a great triumph, The Arc plans to expand the event.  "Next year's 34th Speak Out! Celebration will be even bigger," said Primak.  "But it's going to be hard topping this year's presentations," he said.
Join us as we Walk for a Healthy Community!
Highmark Walk for a Healthy Community 2017

The Arc of Dauphin County is participating once again in the 2017 Highmark Walk for a Healthy Community on May 20 at HACC's Harrisburg Campus.  We know many of our friends eagerly await this tremendous and fun day.  Some people plan for it all year.  Join us, won't you?

Highmark Blue Shield kindly underwrites all costs of the walk.  That means all donations for the walk go 100% to participating nonprofits, such as our Arc.

There are many ways to support The Arc of Dauphin County - you can create a team, join a team, join as a virtual walker, or simply donate.  Every participant helps us to reach our fundraising goal of $10,000

To access our Highmark Walk fundraising page, please click on the following link:  Here, you can donate directly to The Arc of Dauphin County, donate to a participant who has signed up to support The Arc or register as a walker.  Official 2017 Highmark Walk for a Healthy Community t-shirts are given to every person who donates or raises at least $30!

On the day of the walk, registration is scheduled to begin at 7:45 am.  The 5K walk will start at 9 am, and the one-mile fun walk will begin at 9:15 am.
For more information, call Sam Primak, Director of Advancement, at 717.920.2727.

The Arc of Dauphin County Preparing to Launch Membership Program
Working to increase support for those with special needs

"I belong!  I support The Arc!"  The Arc of Dauphin County is launching a new  membership program to build support for those with special needs.  
Our members  care about our citizens who have intellectual and/or developmental disabilities, and through their membership, they learn what The Arc is doing to support our friends and family with special needs, and they strengthen our Arc through their membership.

Good News!  If you contributed at least $50 to The Campaign for Best Lives back in November, December or January, then you are automatically a member, and you will receive your membership card later this spring.

Our Board of Directors, realizing that a strong membership can help spread the word about our friends and family who have special needs, unanimously approved the launch of the Charter Membership Program at the March board meeting.

You can become a Charter Member and receive a membership card and membership pin, which we hope will encourage conversation about the work our Arc is doing.  For example, you could be standing in line in the grocery store and be wearing your pin on your jacket or hat.  "What does that pin mean?" someone might ask, and then you could tell them all about the dedicated work of The Arc to serve people with disabilities.

Be watching your inbox for more details about The Arc of Dauphin County's Charter Membership Program.  And, remember:  If you already gave to The Campaign for Best Lives, your contribution goes toward your membership!
The Arc of Dauphin County to host Million Dollar Golf Outing in September

The Arc of Dauphin County is currently planning for its second annual golf outing, but this year, they are hoping that it stands out as an event golfers will not want to miss.  Working with Hole-In-One International insurance company, they have made it an official "million dollar" outing.

"Last year's outing, which was our inaugural outing, was a great success, and we were happy with the results and the operation of the outing, as were our golfers.  But we really wanted to try something different this year that would help to make it even more exciting for our supporters as well as the community in general," said Craig George, President and CEO of The Arc.  "We're very excited that we are able to brand this as a million dollar golf outing, and I think many players are going to want a chance to play and win that million."

While the outing's planning committee has begun to work out many details for the fundraising event, there are still a number of factors to consider and decisions to be made.

"We're doing our due diligence to select the best possible course for this event, and so we have yet to determine exactly where the outing will be held," said Sam Primak, Director of Advancement at The Arc.  "And since we have not selected a course, we have been unable to settle on a specific date.  We know it will be held some time in September." 

More information on the outing, including the date and location, is expected to be released by April.  In the meantime, if you would like more information, please contact Sam Primak at 717.920.2727. 
We're going to the ballpark on July 21, 2017! More details to come!

Upcoming Events

April 7, 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
May 5, 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



May 20, 2017
Highmark Walk for a Healthy Community

Hosted by:  Highmark Blue Shield

Support The Arc of Dauphin County and individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities by participating in the Highmark Walk for a Healthy Community!  This fundraiser benefits local health and human services agencies, and 100 percent of the money raised by walkers goes directly to participating organizations.

Location:  HACC Harrisburg Campus, 1 HACC Drive, Harrisburg, PA

Time:  Registration begins at 7:45 AM, the 5K walk begins at 9:00 AM, and the one-mile fun walk begins at 9:15 AM.


The Arc of Pennsylvania, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, is seeking a part-time bookkeeper to work an average of 21 hours per week.   Duties mainly include but are not limited to:
  • Grant reporting
  • Accounts payable
  • Accounts receivable
  • Journal entries
  • Bank reconciliations
  • Assist Finance Director as needed
Position requires bookkeeping experience, knowledge of Microsoft Excel and Word, dependability, ability to work in a team environment, and ability to multi-task.  Quickbooks Online experience is preferred.  For more information, call The Arc of Pennsylvania at 717.234.2621.
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 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 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 , 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:
RESPITE CARE COUNSELOR - seeking two part-time persons 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, 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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