What People are Saying
The Arc Was Our GPS
Our family has benefited greatly from our involvement with The Arc Kent County. Our son, Matthew, who has Down syndrome and is non-verbal, has become an active participant in our community thanks to The Arc.
Through their Community Participation program Matt has a volunteer job at our local YMCA, which he thoroughly enjoys. It gives him a purpose and a satisfaction that he can contribute to his community. He is welcomed there as an active member of their team. Moreover through this program, Matt, who is GR’s biggest Harry
Potter fan, has been invited to the practices and games of the GVSU Quidditch team. [That’s amazing!!!]
Also, through The Arc’s recent participation in Access GR, Matt and his staff have been able to attend a theater performance at the Civic Theater. Through this program he will have access to several other Grand Rapids venues receiving complimentary tickets allowing Matt to take full advantage of our many outstanding museums and our zoo. [Our family enjoys going to artsy events, that’s just who we are. Matt especially loves musicals. He will be using this program a lot!]
The Arc also provided invaluable guidance in the difficult transition to the adult services arena. As a result we are actively using, through Self Determination, the Employer of Record program allowing Matt with our help to hire his own staff. It enables Matt to decide what he wants to do in the community and with his life in general. This program gives Matt the ability to participate in all of the community activities that he wants to. The Arc was our GPS navigating for our family on this detour-filled road.
Over the years the ARC has been our guide, our resource, our friend. It not only listens, it responds and follows up on our needs making sure that Matt and our family receive [all of] the benefits of thecommunity we live in.
AMAZING...What Knowledge Can Do!
I would like to express my appreciation for the assistance The Arc Kent County gave mydaughter, Michele and I. We were trying to get more units for Michele’s Community Living Supports (CLS) employee. Michele was attending an agency day program 3 days a week. We found Michele benefited more from having a one-on-one employee, versus the group sessions. I requested to stop the 3 days a week in order to get more units with Michele’s CLS employee. The agency was unwilling to give any more units.
I then contacted The Arc Kent County. Tammy and Maggie were very informative in regards to what information I needed to know in order to pursue it. Maggie agreed to attend the meeting between the agency and myself. Before Maggie arrived I was, again, trying to question why the agency would not allow any more units to be transferred to the CLS portion of Michele’s plan. It felt like the second Maggie walked into that meeting there was a change. Immediately, Maggie asked the right questions, deflected the incorrect answers with confidence and experience she possessed. Immediately, the agency team started changing and figuring out how to give Michele more CLS units in order to accommodate her needs. I was so amazed at the transformation. At the end of the meeting the correct amount of units were transferred over, which allowed Michele to continue with the CLS employee.
When I thanked Maggie after the meeting, she just said “It is all in the words you use.” AMAZING…what knowledge can do. What impressed me about this meeting is that I thought of the number of people in my situation not having an individual like Maggie to advocate and articulate their needs.
Michele and I thank The Arc for everything!
Easing the Transition
Our son, Gene, is 25 now and recently finished his post high school transition program. For years my husband and I had thought about what would happen next and we envisioned him staying active every day by volunteering, exercising, creating and contributing in some way. He is truly happiest when he is out and about in his community. Thus when the time was right, we called upon the Arc Kent County to make sure he received all the services to which he was entitled and to help to create the life he would most enjoy.
The advocates at the Arc were outstanding! Not only were they extremely knowledgeable but they were readily accessible to Gene and us. This transition process entailed a number of meetings, budgets and paperwork and I know we would not have been successful without the Arc Kent County. They were true partners in making it all come together for Gene. And the true winner is Gene who has a life he is now enjoying daily out in his community. Thank you Arc Kent County!!!
Information, Encouragement, & Guidance
We are the parents of a daughter who is now 29 and has Down Syndrome. Through the help of the highly informed and caring staff at the Arc, we have learned about and implemented a person centered plan as well as hired staff to work with our daughter four days a week through direct employment. We could not have done this without The Arc! These are complicated procedures. Through many evening informational meetings and frequent one-on-one meetings with Tammy and Patt, our daughter has goals that give her life meaning and a sense of independence. We have been informed, encouraged and given great guidance by The Arc staff and people they have recommended we network with. They have been on the cutting edge of a new philosophy about giving adults with disabilities the freedom to make their own choices about how and in what living conditions they will live their lives. We are grateful and very lucky to have such a strong, committed Arc in Kent County. Thank you!
A Peace of Mind
I can only say that since my son and I started working with The Arc to manage his SSI funds, there has been a great joy for us both. Just for me, being able to have complete trust and confidence in the people we have worked with at The Arc has given me great peace of mind !!! His savings account has enabled us to take a wonderful week vacation. He has been able to have time to enjoy his hobbies and live a comfortable and safe life, which has been a remarkable relief to me as a mom. Now he finally has a job and can do some of this on his own, that too is exciting! I know that the safety net of The Arc is always there for him and that is a comforting thought! I only have the most grateful thoughts when I think of The Arc and the wonderful people there watching out for my son. I feel like a very lucky mom!!! Thank you Arc for everything!!!
Grateful for The Arc
I recently learned about The Arc of Kent Country through my Bible study group. I’m so grateful to The Arc for helping so many people stay in their homes, avoid evictions, and pay their bills, by managing their incomes for them. We are in contact with many individuals [who have developmental disabilities] and are unable to budget money on their own. We thank God for this organization and we thank all the workers at The Arc for their essential work and assistance with kindness, patience, and respect.
An Essential Part of the Community
Even with all of the services available today, a grassroots organization like The Arc is an essential part of ensuring people with developmental disabilities live meaningful lives in Kent County.
--Brooke Fuller, Board Member
A Rewarding Experience
Hard working and dedicated are the best words to describe the volunteers The Arc Kent County has arranged to assist the Community Media Center. The staff of The Arc found us great volunteers who matched our needs for attention to detail, flexibility, and computer skills. Working with our volunteers from The Arc has been a rewarding experience not only in the work environment but on a personal level as well. They have become an integral part of our organization and we look forward to a long and valuable partnership with The Arc Kent County and our volunteers.
Working for Us
I am the mother of two sons. I just wanted to say that those at The Arc, and Maggie especially, have been very helpful to me. I am from another country, so I don’t always know abut the various services that are available to me children. Maggie is always very caring and considerate of my concerns. She is caring like a mother to my kids and I always feel like she is only working for us. If I didn’t have an advocate, I don’t know how my children’s future would be. Thank you for your efforts!
The Power of Information
I attended their four part series on IEPs back in October. Before attending the class I felt like every IEP meeting was a "war" I was involved in against the school. I would go to these meetings begging and pleasing for the services and supports my son needed and would get nowhere. One such meeting lasted for hours and I broke down in tears because they just kept saying they couldn't offer him the services he needed. His school took advantage of the fact that I did not know my rights and barely understood the IEP process. I now have a much better understanding of evaluations that can be requested, what all is considered assistive technology, the four parts of an IEP and overall how to be a better advocate for my children in the IEP process. I was able to teach my husband more about IEPs and our stress level over IEP meetings has decreased. This does not change the fact that our son's school is still difficult to deal with and is suggesting we put him in a restrictive program for a physical impairment. As soon as we learned of this we turned to Katie Meyering for help because she had prior knowledge of areas of improvement for our son's IEP. She quickly was able to set us up with an advocate to help us at our next IEP meeting. Without all the knowledge I learned from the class and meeting Katie our son would not get the education he needs to be successful in life. We are very thankful!