The Arc Launches New Diversity Initiative

Washington, DC – The Arc is pleased to announce it has been awarded a grant for $100,000 from the MetLife Foundation to make the programs, services and supports offered by chapters of The Arc nationwide more accessible to culturally diverse populations with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) and their family members, and to ensure that the chapters are addressing the needs of the different cultures in their communities.  To achieve these goals, The Arc will conduct a comprehensive assessment of the cultural competence within the network of 700 chapters.

This assessment will include substantial input from The Arc’s chapters as well as from current and potential stakeholders in ethnically and culturally diverse communities across the country.   In the course of the assessment, The Arc will collect information about best practices in serving a culturally diverse population drawn from the disability field, as well as health care, social services and other non-profit and for-profit industry segments.  As a result of the assessment, The Arc will develop a report that identifies the challenges developmental disability providers face when serving people with I/DD who come from diverse backgrounds and recommends solutions. Based on the report, The Arc will develop an action plan defining specific actions that can be taken by chapters of The Arc to achieve greater cultural competence.

“Organizations like the MetLife Foundation enable us to continue our work to promote inclusion and civil rights for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and with their generous support we will be able to better serve communities across the country. The Arc has a network of 700 chapters and those chapters represent a spectrum of cultural diversity. We recognize that for The Arc to be successful, we must find ways to support our organization’s growth to include more diverse populations,” said Peter Berns, CEO of The Arc.

One thought on “The Arc Launches New Diversity Initiative

  1. I would like my book–Opening Doors, Opening Lives: Creating awareness of advocacy, inclusion, and education for our children with special needs–to be given to every young family when they join The Arc.

    I served on the Board of Directors for The Arc of Northwest Wayne County in Michigan. During this time, my daughter was in preschool. Then we were told by school district personnel that if we were “good parents” we would send our daughter to a segregated school for children with cognitive, multiple impairments. Finally, we brought her back to our neighborhood school for kindergarten–and she has remained fully included in our local school district. (Our daughter is currently in the 10th grade at our local high school. Track season just began. For track she races the 100 m dash with adult side by side assistance. She begins the race from a seated position in her wheelchair. The official yells, “On your mark”–we help her lean forward. “Get set”–we help her stand and move the wheelchair away. “Go!”–we run along side of her as she holds on to us. She loves it! Our understanding is that her photograph has been included in the Office of Civil Rights!)

    I have been a public school teacher for twenty-four years and I have three degrees in education. There wasn’t anything simple that I could read to help me understand how use the school systems to help include my daughter with significant special needs in school.

    Therefore, I wrote a simple, easy to read story that tells families how to do it. As a teacher, I feel like I am giving everyone the “answers.” I believe every family should have a complete understanding that ALL children can be successfully included in their neighborhood schools. I want to reach all families–the book is short and written in conversational language. I included our story throughout the book so my advice is easy to understand. Plus young parents are worried and tired–they don’t want to read anything too difficult if they don’t have to!

    If there is a place for my book in an upcoming grant–you would make my dreams come true! I love The Arc and I couldn’t have done this without this organization.

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