In the last couple of months, I have had the pleasure of visiting a few of our Chapters across the state. During these visits, I have seen our mission in action, and the strength of our organization.
We face tremendous challenges, but our Chapters continue to respond and evolve. Our staff continue to serve the people we support with skill and dedication, and advance in their careers. I am impressed every day by the impactful work of our staff and the accomplishments of the people we support.
This issue of connections highlights some of those stories. Enjoy them, and remember – We are stronger together, and we’re making a difference.
The final NYS budget was released on May 1, and we were all stunned and disappointed by the inadequate investment in our service system. This budget only reaffirmed that our fight is far from over.
We cannot let up on our advocacy – we need your voice! We will grow louder. We will grow fiercer. We will not let New Yorkers with I/DD be forgotten.
March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month. As we celebrate and raise awareness, we cannot let up on our advocacy, and we need your voice more than ever!
We are 100,000 members strong. We are stronger together. Our voices are louder together, and our advocacy is more powerful together.
As we reflect on 2022, we can celebrate the progress we’ve made over the past year, but we must also prepare for the fight that continues.
The Arc New York is 100,000 members strong, serving every county in the state.
We must rally the full force of this great organization to drive progress for people with I/DD.
As we enter the final quarter of 2022, we’ve been reminded lately of our roots, our history in this field, and the great strides we’ve made to transform supports and services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Reflecting on this progress gives us hope for the future and inspires us in the work ahead. Our history motivates us every day in fulfilling our mission, and in advocating for the people we serve and the staff who support them.
As we continue into the second quarter of 2022, positive changes are happening daily in our field. These changes give us hope for the future and motivate us in working to realize our mission and advocate for all people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
The first quarter of 2022 has left us feeling more optimistic than ever about the future of the I/DD field. We’re thrilled to see significant investment in the I/DD field in the recently enacted state budget, which reflects both the success of our advocacy efforts and the priorities of our new state leadership.
Since the year began, we’ve also witnessed a pivotal shift in the relationship between The Arc New York and the Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD). This has been evidenced by more open lines of communication, transparency, and willingness to collaborate with stakeholders. We believe this transformation is due largely to newly appointed OPWDD Commissioner Kerri Neifeld’s leadership, compassion, and commitment to bettering the lives of people with I/DD.
2021 was a year of growth. Together we faced an ever-evolving virus, experienced loss, financial stress, and an unprecedented crisis in the Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (I/DD) field. Despite these challenges, we’ve grown and learned; we’ve made progress and advanced this field together to make us stronger.
Thank you for being a part of The Arc New York family and an active advocate for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). Whether you’re a family member, a volunteer, employee, community advocate, or a member of one of our 36 local Chapters, you’re part of our family, and The Arc New York is stronger because of you!
We celebrate the dedication and hard work of our direct support professionals (DSPs) every day – they are the backbone of our entire system of supports and services for New Yorkers with intellectual and developmental disabilities. DSPs across New York State, dedicate their time supporting independence, delivering essential care, and ensuring a rich, full life for the people we support.
Our direct care staff are the foundation of our entire system of supports and services for New Yorkers with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
In every county, every day, around the clock, our dedicated staff are supporting independence and integration, delivering essential care, and ensuring a rich, full life for the people we support.
Unfortunately, the state has not provided adequate resources to appropriately fund this skilled workforce, leading to longstanding challenges recruiting and retaining direct support staff. The existing workforce crisis escalated dramatically in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Without immediate action, this emergency will force service reductions, program closures, and loss of care for New Yorkers with I/DD.
Earlier this year, The Arc New York Board of Governors approved a strategic plan to move our organization forward with a unified vision and realize our mission to provide people with disabilities the ordinary and extraordinary opportunities of life.
The goals of our strategic plan were developed based on feedback from hundreds of stakeholders at all levels of the organization, and thanks to this input, our path to success is clear. Collaborative efforts to achieve these goals are well underway.
One of the goals we’ve established in our plan is to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) within all levels of The Arc New York. We recognize the value of a critical need for diversity in our organization, and we’re currently taking steps to enhance DEI across the state, including launching a DEI Committee to identify ways to achieve this goal.
This month we’re sharing our strategic vision for enhancing DEI across The Arc New York, and celebrating Pride with our Chapters across the state.
The Arc New York recently adopted a new mission: This mission is the foundation of our strategic plan and our shared vision for the future.
Every day Chapter staff are doing the work to make that vision a reality. The Arc New York will share stories from our Chapters in our monthly Connections newsletter to celebrate those efforts and demonstrate how our mission is being realized across the state. This month we’re celebrating Better Hearing and Speech Month and Mental Health Awareness Month. Enjoy!
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