The Arc Lane County has spent decades advocating for, and expanding the opportunities for people who experience intellectual and/or developmental disabilities. They offer a variety of programs and services to support this community. It was not that long ago those individuals with such obstacles were put into institutions, segregated, and unfortunately discriminated against. With this program they are able to not only build their own lives, but also thrive within the community as individuals.
“We work day and night to change that perception, and while we believe we are a significant contributing factor of this change, our work is not done,” said Christie Wells, Employee of The Arc Lane County. “We want everyone to be given access to the same opportunities, regardless to barriers, and offer many different systems of support to help these individuals thrive.”
Wells; started working with The Arc Lane County in October, 2015, and is the Business Development Manager for the program. Her primary role is fundraising and marketing to help get more focus and support from the local community.
“I hope to bring a fresh perspective to the organization and really focus on getting our name out there – yes, we still pickup your donations (used goods), but we offer so much more than that,” said Wells. “We offer opportunities that at one time were never even considered. We believe everyone has the right to thrive- whether it’s independence, social-acceptance, employment or any success. We ALL have talent, and we all have barriers that can hinder us from achieving our goals. They are just different barriers for everyone, and that shouldn’t prohibit anyone from getting what they want in life.”
The Arc Lane County is a strong advocate within Lane County. There are several ways The Arc advocates for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families:
- Jumpstart! Kids program: they offer this after school, and on Saturdays along with summer-respite program for kids with I/DD where they teach life and social skills and prepare them for adulthood through recreational opportunities.
- Families Connected: This program offers weekly and monthly meetup groups for parents and kids with I/DD to come together and enjoy fun events (such as weekly, Get Air playdates), workshops and guest speakers. This program helps parents come together and learn from one-another, and connect.
- Stepping Out: This program offers daily inclusion and recreation opportunities within Lane County, such as shopping, swimming, and dining.
- Employment Services: For adults that want to work, they help them to develop and enhance their skills to ready them for employment.
In addition to their programs, The Arc also hosts events to help raise awareness and benefit the programs. This past weekend with the help of Mattel and Royal Caribbean they, hosted a Barbie Day at The Arc for the kids within the program and community.
“Family Barbie Day came about when we were gifted these deluxe Barbie packages. I cannot say enough great things we have been gifted from Royal Caribbean. We first joined partnership last year over the holidays, where they participated in our annual; Tree of Joy program,” said Wells.
The event took place at The Arc, where staff and volunteers worked together to make the day special, complete with hand-made desserts, jewelry making, and a photo booth in a life-size Barbie box. Nail painting, and a hair station were also offered to help each attendee complete their best, “Barbie Look.” Each guest got to take home a bag full of Barbie merchandise, a Barbie, and four outfits, all received as a donation.
The Arc Lane County is a nonprofit organization, and all program decisions are made locally to benefit the community. All the events are made possible through generous donations, and the staff. In addition to the employees at The Arc they have countless volunteers who assist at each event, and help to make these programs for the organization possible.
*** Visit www.arclane.org for more information or upcoming events