Family is one of the first words that comes to mind when I think of the Northeast Arc. We were founded in 1954 by families. We are governed by families. As the CEO and the mother of a man with intellectual disabilities, I can proudly say that the Northeast Arc is under the leadership of a family member.
For me family holds great importance. Not just my own family. Almost every single thing I have learned about people with disabilities, I have learned from my son, the individuals we serve or their families. Personally, families have been my greatest teachers. They have challenged me to be more creative, more innovative and more responsive.
They are also impatient, demanding and relentless in their pursuit of excellence and they expect a system that is fair and flexible. For those of you who know me, you will recognize these characteristics in me.
The Arc is where families’ voices are heard. They are respected. They teach us. We learn. Families provide the continuity and love that paid staff complement. Together, staff and family (and when I use ‘family,’ I am including the person with a disability because they are part of their family unit) create the opportunities for a meaningful life. To change lives. I am family. I am paid staff. I hope to continue our proud legacy of family and staff partnering together to change lives.