2020 in Review: A Note from Jo Ann Simons
Dear Northeast Arc Friends and Supporters,
As we come to the end of this challenging year, I have never been prouder of the work we are doing at Northeast Arc. This year has given us some unique challenges and I am awed daily by the selfless and tireless commitment our employees show to the individuals we serve. It would be easy to write to you about all the ways that the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted “business as usual” at Northeast Arc. Instead, I want to take this opportunity to celebrate all we have accomplished this year despite these unusual circumstances.
- We launched the Center for Linking Lives at Liberty Tree Mall. This 26,000-square-foot space is a breakthrough in how we can create inclusive communities for people with disabilities. The Center’s flagship is parcels, a charming boutique selling products made by, or through, businesses owned by people with disabilities or autism. Click here to read a great Boston Globe article about the Center.
- We raised $750,000 for our Changing Lives Fund thanks to the support of generous donors and businesses.
- Within days of the pandemic shutting down most in-person businesses and gatherings, we pivoted many of our services to a virtual model. Since mid-March we have offered tens of thousands of hours of early intervention services via telemedicine, hundreds of remote recreational opportunities, and dozens of weekly job and skills training sessions on Zoom.
- We partnered with a local distillery to produce hand sanitizer to keep our individuals and staff safe, and we led a multi-agency effort to source personal protective equipment (PPE) for Northeast Arc and other human-service agencies.
- In the early days of the pandemic, we set up a temporary “hotel” at one of our buildings to offer our direct support staff a safe place to quarantine in order to reduce exposure to their families.
For the Northeast Arc, inclusion has always been our “new normal,” and we knew that cutting off essential services to tens of thousands of individuals was not an option. One sobering take away from COVID-19 is that all of us now understand the isolation that many individuals with disabilities face every day. The pandemic has only strengthened our commitment to ensuring that all people with disabilities become full participants in their communities.
All of this has been possible thanks to your support. Generous donors like you provide us with the financial flexibility to pivot and adapt our programs so that we can continue impacting lives. The past year has shown us that we must be ready for anything. We don’t know yet what new challenges 2021 will bring, but I can tell you that we will be there to support individuals with disabilities and their families. I hope you will consider joining our efforts to ensure that people with disabilities have every opportunity to lead fulfilling lives by visiting donate.ne-arc.org to make a donation today.
Jo Ann Simons
President and CEO