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Our Roots

The Arc Central Chesapeake Region is deeply rooted in a tradition of advocacy that creates and empowers inclusive communities.  

The Arc was founded in 1961 by parents who wanted their children with intellectual and developmental disabilities to have the same rights and opportunities as any other community member. At that time, their belief that people with intellectual and developmental disabilities deserved to live the lives they chose for themselves was groundbreaking. 

Our founders knew then what we know today to be true: our community is stronger when everyone is included and has access to the resources and support they need. 

More than six decades later, The Arc continues to be a leader and change-maker throughout the region, dedicated to building the services that people with intellectual and developmental disabilities tell us they want and need and removing the barriers people face in accessing the community. 

Society has come a long way, but the work continues.

From our founding, The Arc has been an integral part of the civil rights movement, and that work continues today. People with intellectual and developmental disabilities still face many inequities in their everyday lives, and a large part of The Arc’s work in the community is actively working alongside them to remove those barriers.

This advocacy takes many forms, evolving from year to year and even day-to-day in the dynamic environment of legislative sessions and executive rule-making. Our work includes everything from improving the enforcement of laws to expanding or creating funding for essential programs to educating stakeholders on what inclusion and equality really mean to our communities.

As an organization with a reputation of more than sixty years advocating for the rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, The Arc holds a unique position in the community to advocate alongside people with disabilities for important policy and community-wide changes.


Promoting Self-Advocacy

The Arc’s self-advocacy group, Living Boldly, provides access to important information and helps people form their own ideas and opinions about what they really want.

Self-advocacy is an essential part of The Arc’s work in the community. For too long, decisions have been made for and about people with disabilities without any thought or consideration of their wants and needs. Living Boldly creates a safe space for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to speak and make their voices heard on important issues, help each other grow, and encourage more independence

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