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The beginning of a new year is always a good time to look back on accomplishments. You’ll find another wonderful article in this edition of our eNewsletter that celebrates The Arc in Jefferson County’s many achievements throughout 2010, and we are extremely proud to share those with you. This article, however, focuses on the power of our participation in a national movement – one that continues to create positive change and moves us forward into a brighter future that we help create.

It may surprise you to learn that our chapter is just one part of a much larger and highly impactful national organization. There are actually 730 chapters of The Arc throughout the United States, all of which are working daily to improve the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Though our foundation is this grassroots network, our collective voice at the national level has the power to create change that no single chapter can achieve alone.

Here are just some of our national organization’s 2010 accomplishments that benefit us all:

• Secured the passage of Rosa’s Law which replaced the phrases “mentally r*” or “mental r*” with “intellectual disability” in federal employment, health and labor laws

• Awarded $2.45 million in grants to support promising practices in school-to-community transition at 50 chapters across the country (The Arc in JC is participating in this project)

• Won a $1.9 million grant from the Administration on Developmental Disabilities of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to launch Autism Now – the National Autism Resource and Information Center

• Secured a $1 million commitment from NISH’s Institute for Economic Empowerment to develop and test models for moving people with severe disabilities from segregated work settings to integrated community employment

• Fielded a nationwide survey on Family and Individual Needs for Disability Supports (FINDS) to secure the data and information chapters need to guide their planning while educating the public about the needs of people with I/DD

• Presented the first-ever Image and Inclusion Awards to Lauren Potter and Robin Trocki of the hit television show Glee

• Won passage of the Frank Melville Affordable Housing Act of 2010 to increase the availability of affordable housing units for people with disabilities and simplify the process of financing and developing affordable housing

• Guaranteed health insurance for people with disabilities by ending pre-existing condition limitations and annual and lifetime caps on coverage as part of the Affordable Care Act of 2010

• Established a new voluntary public insurance program for long-term services and supports (CLASS) as part of health care reform

The Arc is driven by opportunity — the opportunity for hope, growth and change. By continuing to work collaboratively and speak with one voice, we can one day achieve a world where everyone has the opportunity to become a valued, contributing member of their community. Together, we are The Arc.

Thank You To Our Transformative Partner FirstBank!

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