Jonathon Rondeau: The Arc Central Chesapeake Region moves ahead with next phase of its vision

This network soon became The Arc Anne Arundel County, which offered workshops, residential services, and an infant and toddler program; and grew to include community supportive living and other services by the mid-1990s.

In 2007, The Arc Anne Arundel County continued to expand services to the Eastern Shore of Maryland and changed its name to The Arc Central Chesapeake Region. What followed were the milestones of a 55-year anniversary in 2016 and the groundbreaking of our new headquarters and community outreach center in 2017.

The Arc CCR touches the lives of over 1,500 people each year, and as we continue to grow in capacity and expansion of services, our vision is to create equity and access for people with intellectual and development disabilities (ID/D) to be fully included in the community where they live.

We believe that all people with ID/D are defined by their own strengths, abilities and inherent value, and not by their ability. Each person should have the opportunity to partake in community involvement through employment, housing, or recreational opportunities.

They should benefit from self-direction and the ability to make decisions about their own lives and be heard on issues that affect their wellbeing. They should also benefit from contributions of people with diverse personal characteristics — from religion, race, ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, gender and type of disability.

This year, The Arc CCR completed its “Promise It Forward Capital Campaign,” which generated over $3 million in state, local and philanthropic donations to build new headquarters located in Severn.

Now fully operating, the two new buildings serve as a model of an accessible corporate environment and allow the organization to maintain and grow strong programs as the number of people with ID/D continues to increase within Maryland.

With our new headquarters and professional development center, The Arc CCR can more sufficiently provide support services and resources for the people we serve, and more importantly, include their families, and our neighbors and community members to engage with us in a more meaningful way.

A digital and book library is available to families of children with disabilities and other professionals. The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Building features the administrative headquarters and a separate area for training sessions and other community programs.

Also included in the expansion are the Lorraine Sheehan Center for Enterprise & Community Development, and the Rollason Community Center.

To help us meet our vision, core values and deepen our focus on the people we serve, we are partnering with the community to take part in our promise forward by getting involved. There is a great need for direct service professionals for those seeking employment opportunities, as well as volunteer positions for individuals and groups.

As we look ahead, we have a positive vision for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities that includes public and private support and an invested interest in their success from the community at large.

What started with a promise by a group of parents who envisioned a different future for their children than was available nearly 60 years ago — a promise of respect, opportunity, and achievement — evolved into a commitment to helping people with intellectual and developmental disabilities gain independence, live their dreams, and challenge the status quo.

Read more:  https://www.capitalgazette.com/opinion/columns/ac-ce-column-rondeau-20190412-story.html