Like most new moms of babies with intellectual or developmental disabilities, Raejean Stotler was caught a little off-guard. Around 40 years ago, this mom of three had her fourth child (Roberta) who was born with a developmental disability. Living abroad until Roberta was 13 years old, she attended “regular” class with additional assistance from her teachers.
However, Raejean was in for a bit of a shock when her family returned to the U.S. and enrolled Roberta in school. She wasn’t sure how to help the school form goals that were tailored for Roberta and didn’t know if Roberta would have the appropriate support to reach those goals. “The school didn’t seem to know either because it was all so new. I was feeling overwhelmed,” Raejean recalled.
That’s when Raejean found The Arc. After connecting with an advocate from our chapter, Raejean felt that everything changed. Compelled by the mission and advocacy of The Arc, Raejean became a Board member, actually serving twice, contributing to the future of the organization and helping create real change for people with I/DD.
Roberta receives ongoing support from The Arc and has had a job at a local grocery store for more than 30 years, living semi-independently.
“We have walked a long road, made easier by the agencies that have supported these accomplishments, and we owe our deepest gratitude to those that have helped us along the way,” said Raejean.
We are thrilled to have Raejean’s wise, caring, and experienced voice as one of our 60 Voices That Shine.